March 2, 2006
Thanks to some helpful comments from Ron Selter and some excellent old photographs from Bruce Orser, I've made some corrections in the Shibe Park diagrams, mostly in the 1909 and 1913 versions. Some of the new findings are interesting. It appears to me that the bleachers in left field ended about 50 feet from the center field corner, 30 feet more than Mr. Selter estimates. In one photo dated 1913, there is a low fence between those bleachers and the right field wall, which would account for the drop in distance from 515 to 502 feet given by Lowry for late 1909. I also used trigonometry to determine the distance to the outer wall in left field: it was 387 feet, nine feet further than the left field foul pole; the difference was due to the scoreboard, which I had not seen previously. A few questions remain, especially about the backstop distance in the early years, and exactly when the far ends of the lower deck were rebuilt, but much has been cleared up. I greatly appreciate the research assistance.
D.C. Mayor Williams has submitted a plan that would provide $20 million in contingency funds in case the cost of constructing the Nationals' future home exceeds budgetary projections. The extra money comes from (expected) surplus in tax receipts over what is needed to pay interest costs to service the construction bonds. (Aren't those accountants amazing!?) Some Council members fear that the mere act of preparing for cost overruns will make cost overruns more likely; see Washington Post. Indeed, they have a point. In the public sector, there is no real incentive to hold down costs, so the only way to avoid cost overruns is for constituents to constantly scrutinize spending and demand accountability from their elected officials. Bor-ing! Monday is the deadline for Major League Baseball to accept or reject the stadium lease terms with the cost cap stipulated by the D.C. Council.