July 11, 2007 [LINK / comment]
A Midsummer "Classic" indeed!
Wonder of wonders -- This year's All-Star game was actually worth watching, and it will no doubt be remembered for years to come. Seeing Willie Mays getting a huge ovation from the San Francisco fans was almost as heartwarming as it was to see Ted Williams at Fenway Park in July 1999. Ichiro Suzuki's thrilling inside-the-park home run (the first ever in an All-Star Game) showed the effects of the quirky right-field wall in AT&T Park. What a pleasure it was to see all those aerial views of the ballpark, the bay, and nearby downtown from the Goodyear blimp! As in most recent years, the American League used their slugging superiority to pile on a scoring advantage. Thanks to Dmitri Young, however, the sole representative of the Washington Nationals, and a home run by former Nat Alfonso Soriano, the National League came within one run of tying the game in bottom of the ninth. What uncharacteristic drama for this "exhibition" game! When they loaded the bases, it seemed almost certain that the game would at least go into extra innings, if not be won outright. But such was not to be, as Aaron Rowand of the Phillies hit a lazy fly ball to right field for the final out, and the Senior Circuit failed to win the Midsummer Classic for the tenth year in a row. See MLB.com.
Vladimir Guerrero won this year's Home run derby, but the totals weren't very impressive. That goes to show that AT&T Park is not very friendly to sluggers. Barry Bonds was conspicuous by his absence.
Over the past few weeks, new visitors to this Web site have submitted their own impressions of AT&T Park, Seals Stadium, and (Milwaukee) County Stadium, so I have modified those pages so that the impressions appear on them. That reminded me that I needed to fix the early version(s) of the diagrams on County Stadium, so I have done so, with a new 1953 version and a corrected 1954 version. (I realized several months ago, that only the lower deck was extended to the right field corner in 1954, and that the upper deck was not extended until 1973.) There are many other long-overdue minor diagram "chores" to get to...
The mail bag
Speaking of "chores," Scott Rhodes brought some corrections on the two Kansas City ballparks to my attention. With regard to Kauffman Stadium, he is quite certain that the original dimensions were 410 feet to center and 385 to the power alleys, whereas both editions of Lowry's Green Cathedrals and several other sources state that it was originally 405 and 375, respectively. I was never 100% sure about that, which is why I made a 1980 version diagram, but no 1973 version diagram. Well, thanks to John Pastier's fine coffee table book Historic Ballparks, I saw a photo of the very first game played there in April 1973, and sure enough the "385" distance markers are clearly visible. (I couldn't see any markers in center field, probably because they were in dark letters.) That pretty much confirms what Scott said, so unless anyone knows for sure that there were some changes to the outfield fences between 1973 and 1995, I think the matter is settled. Thanks very much, Scott!