August 13, 2008
How many people out there remember Eddie Mathews? Warren Spahn or Joe Torre? Well, of course. How about [Phil Niekro] or Rico Carty? Those were some of the great players from the Milwaukee Braves, the favorite team of my brother Chris "when we were very young." It was also home of the Brewers, of course, and thereby qualifies as one of the very few ballparks to serve as home field of two different teams in the World Series! (It was also "home away from home" of the Green Bay Packers!) As Tiger Stadium gets torn to shreds little by little, and the same thing is happening to the Washington Nationals (12-zip tonight vs. the Mets), it is more fitting than ever to take refuge in nostalgia. Accordingly, the page for their home field, Milwaukee County Stadium, has been updated with new diagrams, etc. Aside from all of the enhanced (and soon-to-be-standard) features such as more accurate and detailed profile, lights, moving the outfield distances markers to the inside of the fence), there is one notable correction: The [upper deck of the] grandstand is set back almost 15 feet further away from the field than I had previously estimated. I generally strive to get measurements accurate to within 5 or 10 feet, so that is a significant revision. Hey, nobody's perfect, but some of us try harder than others to approximate that goal.
The superb book by John Pastier, Ballparks: Yesterday and Today, has become my main source for archival photographs that I depend on to get greater accuracy.
I also made a few small corrections to the new Griffith Stadium diagrams, based in part on feedback from Bruce Orser. In particular, the exact shape of the outfield in the early years remains uncertain...
The Cincinnati Reds have traded Adam Dunn to the Arizona Diamondbacks, which seems a bit puzzling on both ends. The Reds already unloaded their franchise star, Ken Griffey Jr., and Dunn was their only other All-Star caliber player. White flag? And while it's nice that the D-backs are determined to keep up with (or ahead of) in the NL West after the Dodgers acquired Manny Ramirez, it's a rather low-stakes battle, with neither team much higher than .500. Perhpas Dunn's reputation as a malcontent had something to do with it. (Like Manny!) See MLB.com; hat tip to Bruce Orser.
The runner-up in the contest to become owner of the Washington Nationals, Fred Malek, is interested in purchasing the Chicago Cubs. Including the team itself, the friendly (and lucrative) confines of Wrigley Field, and the television rights, the entire franchise might be worth a cool billion. The investment "tycoon" and long-time Republican Party bigwig has formed a "special-purpose acquisition company" that includes Jack Kemp and Hank Aaron. MLB frowns on diffused ownership structures, however, because they are harder to control. See Washington Post. I still think Malek would have been a better owner of the Nationals than the Lerners have turned out to be.
Finally, Edward Findlay sent me some very good photos of Fenway Park with the new club section and upper deck, which are now posted.
Still more correspondence to get caught up on; stay tuned!