Mets break ground on "Citi Field"
The New York Mets broke ground on their future home today, announcing that it will be called "Citi Field," after CitiBank. The naming rights contract extends for 20 years, at over $20 million per year. Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg were among those who attended the ceremonies. The stadium will hold about 45,000 fans, and should be completed by Opening Day 2009. Outfield dimensions will be almost the same as at Turner Field: LF - 335; LC - 379; CF - 408; RC - 391; RF - 330. Two of the design features are blatant appeals to nostalgia: the upper deck will extend eight feet over the playing area in right field, just like at Tiger Stadium and the Polo Grounds (where the overhang was in left field). Also, there will be a fancy rotunda entrance behind home plate that will be a virtual carbon copy of Ebbets Field. See MLB.com. I don't really mind such obvious aesthetic emulations, but I am a little perturbed by the overall layout, which differs little from Busch Stadium III, as far as I can tell. Also, I see no point to the left field wall being slightly askew from the adjacent grandstand; to me, it looks like "arbitrary asymmetry."
I will be creating new pages for the three under-construction stadiums (Yankees, Mets, and Nationals) in the near future, but with only rough sketch diagrams. Likewise for the Twins' future stadium after they break ground in Minneapolis.
Rookies of the Year are named
Hanley Ramirez of the Florida Marlins won the NL Rookie of Year award with 14 first-place votes to Ryan Zimmerman's 10 first-place votes. The total number of points was 105 to 101 -- "the closest NL vote since 1980." The MLB.com article cited all sorts of combinations of "first since" feats by Ramirez, but in the head-to-head matchups on major statistical categories, it was basically a tossup. Darn, I was really hoping the Washington Nationals' third baseman would get the recognition he was due. The many superb fielding plays he made and the game-winning home run against the Yankees on June 18 leave no doubt he will be a star for years to come. In the American League, Detroit pitcher Justin Verlander received the Rookies of Year honors hands down, getting 26 of 28 first-place votes.
Trades and non-trades
The Yankees traded Jaret Wright to Baltimore for rookie reliever Chris Britton, agreeing to pay Baltimore $4 million of his $7 million salary contract obligation. See MLB.com. Frankly, I don't get it. Wright performed OK this year, at least compared to other Yankee pitchers. It must be one of those personality issues.
The Cubs reached terms with two of their most important free agents: Aramis Ramirez (who signed a five-year contract) and Kerry Wood (one year). The Chicago franchise is doing well financially, but still I worry about whether the owners might react to the disappointments of recent years by cutting corners on payroll so as to "rebuild" for the future. It looks like they are going to keep striving for a pennant, hoping that injuries don't trip them up once again.