July 24, 2020 [LINK / comment]
Globe Life Field tweak
As so often happens early in the rendering process, I noticed a few small discrepancies between my diagrams for Globe Life Field and photographs, so I made the necessary corrections which can now be found on the Globe Life Field page. What changed? Glad you asked! There is now more overhang between the first and second decks in left field, and the rear rows of both of them are now vertically aligned. I realized that there are a few rows of seats behind the visitors bullpen in left center field, and the far extremities of that bullpen and the adjoining seating sections are angled, i.e. not perpendicular to the outfield fence. There is a small gap (about six feet) between the fence and the seats to the left of the bullpen in left field, and a tiny gap (about two feet) in the right side of right field. Finally, the upper level of seats in left field is about five feet higher than I estimated before. How did I deduce this? Photos clearly indicate that the concourse in back of those seats is on the same level as the upper concourse in the main grandstand, and the upper concourse in right field. No doubt there will be further corrections in the weeks and months to come, but I'm going to prioritize finishing the remaining stadium diagrams on my "to-do" list first.
As with my Dodger Stadium diagram update yesterday, I made those changes just in time for the grand opening of Globe Life Field this evening. The Texas Rangers will host the Colorado Rockies, and in fact they met the same team in an exhibition game at home earlier this month. I should give credit to Daniel Murphy, who hit a long home run to right field, and as I was watching the video of that blast, I noticed a few details (such as the tiny gap behind the right field fence) that helped me with the diagrams. So hats off to one of my favorite former Washington Nationals stars:
Blue Jays must migrate* south!
After the Canadian government declared that American baseball teams would not be allowed across the border to play games in Toronto, the Blue Jays organization spent several days frantically searching for an alternative site for home games. PNC Park in Pittsburgh? Nope. Their spring training field in Dunedin, Florida? Nope. Thankfully, they chose a much better site, Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York, which is only about 50 miles southeast of Toronto as the crow flies. (Did you know that crows are related to blue jays?) Anyway, that means I've got another MLB stadium diagram to do! Arghhh!! I stopped at that ballpark while en route to Toronto in 2015, when it was called "Coca Cola Field."
* Actually, Blue Jays are not a migratory species, but it seemed like a fitting theme for this news item.
Coping with covid-19
Yesterday's bleak news that Juan Soto has the coronavirus reminds us how hazardous sports or indeed any kind of work is these days. I heard that Braves slugger Freddie Freeman had an encouraging message to the fans that was shown at the beginning of the Dodgers-Giants game last night. I imagine that if there had been a live crowd at the Nats-Yankees game last night, Dr. Anthony Fauci would have received a huge standing ovation. As bleak as these times are, with many folks hanging on by their fingernails in keeping up with expenses, we really need something to be glad about. Baseball could play an enormous role in restoring this country's morale and perhaps even smoothing over the rough edges in the bitter political divisions among us. I don't begrudge those players who have "opted out" of the 2020 season, but those who do play deserve enormous credit to this nation. Speaking of which, Nats veteran Ryan Zimmerman said he is very eager to play in the 2021 season, which is good news for us long-time fans of his.
MLB supports BLM
Until I noticed the black letters "BLM" on the back of the pitchers mound in Nationals Park while watching the game last night, I didn't realize that "MLB" turned backwards makes "BLM," as in Black Lives Matter. All the players took a knee during the pre-game ceremonies, expressing support for the social justice movement. I'm sure it made Colin Kaepernick smile. Since so many baseball players are African-American, it's an appropriate gesture, and in light of the fact that baseball has been losing younger black fans over the past 20 or 30 years, it's probably long overdue. (I happen to think that one can support the ideals of racial equality without endorsing every part of the Black Lives Matter agenda.) Years ago, Major League Baseball went to great lengths to recognize the historical role of Jackie Robinson (#42!) in helping to integrate Our National Pastime, but more needs to be done to restore the place that baseball once had in urban communities across the country. The Washington Nationals have done a fine job with their baseball academy for young players in D.C., and I hope that other teams do similar things -- especially those in cities with a high proportion of African-American residents.
Credit, mail bag, etc.
Since I gave "credit" to Daniel Murphy above, I should also thank (on a more sincere note) Terry Wallace, Mike Zurawski, and my sister Connie for each bringing to my attention that my baseball diagram work was mentioned on the fivethirtyeight.com blog last week. (I noted that in passing on July 18.) Mike also sent me a link about the L.A. Angels plans for a massive commercial development around Angels Stadium (ballparkdigest.com) [possibly including a brand-new stadium], as well as a statement from the Oakland A's that they remain committed to the Howard Terminal site in downtown Oakland (sportico.com), notwithstanding uncertainties due to the coronavirus. I have been horribly negligent about keeping up with ballpark news that Mike has sent me over the last several months. But I'll do better!
In addition, Larry Freitas recently sent me a photo of Candlestick Park when the "Oakland" Raiders were playing there in either late 1960 or sometime in the fall of 1961. That is one of my high-priority projects. Finally, Patrick Quarry wrote to say how much he enjoys my website, which "is one of the reasons I became a civil engineer." Wow!
[Oops! I almost forgot, Bruce Orser wrote to ask if Giancarlo Stanton's home run into the Red Porch at Nationals Park last night really went 459 feet, as Statcast indicated. Bruce estimates it went 426 feet before landing on a table, and given that it was about 22-25 feet high at the time, it probably would have traveled another 20-30 feet or so. We both think Statcast probably overestimated just a tad.]
Thanks very much to all who took the time to write me. That's just a small sampling of the e-mail I've been meaning to answer, and there'll be more such acknowledgments soon. Thanks as always for your patience.