Oakland Coliseum set to shrink
The Oakland Athletics have announced that the entire upper deck of "McAfee Coliseum," a.k.a. "Network Associates Coliseum," a.k.a. Oakland Coliseum, will be closed for the 2006 season. That will reduce its capacity for baseball games from 44,073 to 34,179, which is about the size of the stadium that are pushing for. Why?? "Only 19 of the A's 81 home dates last year necessitated making third-deck seating available..." See MLB.com (via Mike Zurawski). To me, it seems more likely that they are trying to gin up ticket sales by creating an artificial scarcity. That, of course, is one of the main reasons why most newer baseball stadiums are much smaller than the ones (typically dual-use "hybrids") they replaced.
Nats' inaugural year in review
I noticed two date errors on the MLB.com summary of the team's significant happenings in 2005: the Nats' rain-delayed 5-3 win over the Mets was on April 30, not May 1. I should know, because I was there. Also, Joey Eischen broke his arm on May 1, not May 2.
The Washington Nationals just signed relief pitcher Mike Stanton to a one-year contract. He had joined the team in July, and was then traded to the Red Sox at the end of the regular season. The team needs steady, reliable veterans like him.
Monday Night Footnote
While reminiscing over ABC's 35-year history in broadcasting Monday Night Football last night, the subject of stadium name changes came up. Al Michaels asked if Yankee Stadium could be called anything else, and John Madden said that, to him, the Oakland Coliseum would always be Oakland Coliseum, and Candlestick Park would always be Candlestick Park. Hear, hear! In a remarkable historical parallel, the New York Jets lost the very first MNF game ever broadcast, which took place in Cleveland Stadium in 1970, and the very last such game ever broadcast, by the very same score: 31-21. Next year MNF will be cablecast on ESPN. Boo-oo!
Bill Nye, the baseball guy
Will wonders never cease? Bill Nye, the guy who made science "cool" for teenage kids in the 1990s, grew up in the Washington area and used to be a Senators fan. He was terribly distraught when his team left town and became the Texas Rangers in 1972, but he is brimming with enthusiasm over the return of baseball to Our Nation's Capital. See Washington Post. His TV show was produced at the PBS station in Seattle, so I always thought that's where he was from.