Stadium statistics: up to date!
At last! After many weeks of poring through my collection of books, photos, and other sources, I have completed the Stadium statistics page, filling in lots of blank spaces that used to be there. Even though the data on that page should be considered fairly reliable, future revisions are likely. A word of caution on the figures in the "Seating capacity" column: Those refer to the "peak" capacity at each stadium, not necessarily the current capacity (or final capacity, in the case of stadiums no longer in existence). I am still working on a consistent standard for evaluating whether or not the stated capacity for years past are considered reliable. As late as the 1940s, capacity was often exaggerated by several thousand at some stadiums, in some cases including standing room only.
There are two sets of data on that page that are unique to this Web site: the "typical" number of seating rows in the main decks, and the amount of fair territory and foul territory. Counting numbers of rows is an important tool by which I estimate the size of grandstands, bleachers, etc., but that by itself isn't terribly original. It's basically just a matter of getting access to the right photos and then squinting at them. But the fair and foul territory data are another story. A year or so ago, I devised a clever technique to make such fairly precise estimates using my diagrams, and started including those figures on the stadium pages. I have occasionally seen estimates of field areas,* but as far as I know there is no comprehensive accurate dataset on this crucial aspect of ballparks -- until now, that is.
* For example, back when the Nationals were playing the A's in Oakland last May, I heard MASN announcer F.P. Santangelo mention the vast amount of foul territory at "o.co Coliseum." He cited the exact figure shown on my page (40,700 square feet), and it's probably safe to assume where he got that number.
Part of what motivated my efforts was the book written by Dr. Thomas Tomsick, who is the (recently renewed) sponsor of the Cleveland Stadium page, and author of the very interesting and worthwhile book Strike Three: My Years in the 'Pen. Among other things, he explored the question of how much the extent of foul territory in various ballparks helps pitchers. I'll explain all this in great detail in the near future.
Works in progress
As part of the task in estimating the fair and foul territories of each stadium, I have made a fair amount of progress in getting the diagrams up to date. In some cases, such as with Tropicana Field (update imminent), the territory estimates changed significantly. Some of those diagrams are years out of date, but they are getting a lot closer to completion.
News from the mail bag
In New York, the Mets are in the process of moving the fences at Citi Field once again. The right-center and right-field fences will be closer to home plate, but the exact new dimensions are as yet uncertain. See nydailynews.com and ESPN, which shows a photo with a line in the warning track where the inner fence built in 2012 used to be. Hat tip to Glenn Simpkins. I have mixed feelings on these change. The original (2009) Citi Field dimensions were clearly too big, but the changes in 2012 seemed arbitrary and not well planned. Hopefully the bullpens will be rearranged; the current diagonal alignment looks weird to me.
In Cleveland, work on renovating Progressive Field is well underway. You can also see some photos of the renovated League Park which opened in late August at clevescene.com. In particular, the true-to-original 40-foot tall fence looks very nice. Thanks to Terry Wallace. I mentioned that event (August 29), but failed to make note of that link.
Here's another story on the renovations of the bleachers at Wrigley Field in Chicago: SI.com. And speaking of Wrigley Field, Jonathan Dobson informs me that "the 'modern' dugouts at Wrigley Field were not installed until the 1978-1979 offseason," not in 1972 as my diagram indicates. I'll have to make the necessary changes in the upcoming revision.
I'll get to some more baseball news tomorrow...