Metropolitan Stadium update!
Earlier today I finished work on the Metropolitan Stadium diagrams, yet another belated triumph that was literally years in the making. In fact, it is more than four years after (!!!) a "false start" premature uploading of revised diagrams. The main quandary holding me back from completing them was trying to pinpoint the angle at which the double-decked grandstand in left field (added during the 1965 expansion) lay with respect to the foul line. I originally thought it was perpendicular (so indicated by all my diagrams up through 2010), but then in 2014 I realized that it was slightly askew, estimating the angle at about 89 degrees. Based on all the photographs I have been able to find, my best estimate is now 87 degrees. As with Tiger Stadium last week, there are now separate diagrams showing the upper and middle decks; there is no need for a separate upper-deck variant since there was no roof at "The Met"!
Among the other changes, the various temporary bleachers are slightly bigger than before, and all of them are rendered more precisely. Those bleachers changed slightly between 1961 (when the Twins arrived) and 1964, but I'm not sure exactly when. It is possible that the reconfiguration of the right field fence and bleachers took place in 1964 rather than 1965, when the double-decked grandstand in left field was built. Also, none of the diagrams representing 1965 and later depict a gap in front of the left-field grandstand. Some photos suggested the possibility of such a gap, and I previously thought the slight variations in official left field dimensions over the years might have reflected shifts in a stand-alone chain link fence, but such does not appear to be the case.
Among new details shown are the grassy slopes and trees beyond the bleachers (the field was about 15-20 feet below ground level), and the access ramps to the big bleachers along the third base side. In addition, a few peripheral structures are now depicted, such a small building beyond center field that was presumably used for either ticket sales, concessions, or rest rooms. Finally, the bullpens and the main scoreboard show more detail than before, but I must confess that I'm not certain about the bullpen layout. There is a closeup photo of the bullpens on Rick Prescott's wonderful Old Met Stadium page, but it was taken during the demolition and you can't really tell where the pitchers and catchers were positioned.
For the time being, I have omitted the "hypothetical" diagrams that I presented before as a "what-if" conjecture regarding a better football-baseball hybrid setup. Time permitting, I will redo those diagrams as well.
Nats acquire Anibal Sanchez
Mike Rizzo has kept busy since the winter meetings of MLB owners in Las Vegas came to an end last week. Yesterday the Nationals got veteran pitcher Anibal Sanchez to sign a two-year contract worth $19 million, pending the usual physical exam. The Nationals get an option for a third year, 2021. There has been no official announcment as of yet. See the Washington Post. The Venezuelan right-hander came up with the then-Florida Marlins in 2006, and had an impressive 10-3 rookie season. Sanchez was among the stars dumped by then-Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria in the great "fire sale" of 2012 (which was the very first year for Marlins Park). He spent the next few years with the Detroit Tigers and played for the Atlanta Braves this year, recording a superb 2.83 ERA. He has been inconsistent in recent years, so it's a bit of a gamble by Rizzo, so we'll see how he turns out. He will in effect be replacing Tanner Roark as the #4 man in the pitching rotation, just as recently-signed Patrick Corbin essentially replaced Gio Gonzalez as the Nats'lefty starter.
That leaves just one major slot to fill in the 2019 Nats roster: second base. If Howie Kendrick fully recovers from the injury he suffered , he could handle that responsibility, but that's a big if. One option that is being explored is Josh Harrison.
Rockies acquire Daniel Murphy
Meanwhile, former Nats star slugger Daniel Murphy signed a two-year contract with the Colorado Rockies. See MLB.com. I'm not surprised that an up-and-coming team went and got Murphy, who was extremely valuable to the Nationals in 2016 and 2017. But he injured his knee in the latter part of 2017, and it took a lot longer than expected for him to recover from the surgery he had that October. He only played about a month for the Nats this year before being traded to the Chicago Cubs, where he did very well.
Dodgers & Reds make mega-deal
The L.A. Dodgers traded four star players -- Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood, and Kyle Farmer -- to the Cincinnati Reds, in exchange for pitcher Homer Bailey and two others. The deal was rather shocking for a team that made it to the World Series two years in a row, and seems aimed at saving salary budget. See MLB.com. Rumor-mongers have suggested this is a prelude to signing Bryce Harper to a jumbo contract. No comment!