March 20, 2019
The real Opening Day is still eight days away, but for fans of the Oakland A's and the Seattle Mariners, today was the day! Playing in Tokyo, Japan, the Mariners beat the A's by a score of 9-7 in a game that featured five home runs altogether. The second and final game of the series gets underway at 5:35 AM EDT, less than six hours hence...
This marks the fifth time that Major League Baseball has had official games in Japan, all of which were played in the Tokyo Dome as part of a special Opening Day event. Just as a reminder, there will be four MLB games in Monterrey, Mexico over the next two months, and two more in London, England at the end of June. See the Anomalous stadiums page.
The Tokyo Dome diagrams have been revised slightly, most notably in the expanded rows of box seats between first (and third) base and the right (and left) field corners. That modification was a good idea, since the Tokyo Dome has an unusually large foul territory: 30,300 square feet before the seats were added. (I'll recompute the new value soon.) Besides that, a dark line indicating a vertical discontinuity has been added in the upper deck along the lateral walkway, and the right and left field corners are bent less sharply than before.
Assuming all the unconfirmed reports are true, the Los Angeles Angels and outfielder slugger Mike Trout have agreed to a contract extension, for ten additional years on top of the two years remaining on his existing contract, a total of twelve years. It adds about $360 million to the $66.5 million which he was already owed for 2019 and 2020, roughly $430 million altogether. It's the biggest player contract in sports history, and $100 million more than the Phillies recently committed to paying Bryce Harper; see the Washington Post. Harper had publically invited him to join the Phillies after Trout became a free agent, dreaming of a world-class offensive powerhouse in Philadelphia. Oops: cancel that!
In Our Nation's Capital, meanwhile, no word on whether Anthony Rendon will sign a contract extension with the Nationals. Now that Bryce Harper is gone, Rendon has suddenly become the linchpin of the Nats' entire offense.
Mike Zurawski shared with me news about a slight change in the plans for the Oakland A's future home in the Howard Terminal area near downtown. In particular, the tapered terraced park descending from the left and right field corners toward center field will have a rounded shape, rather than a rectangular shape that was an apparent emulation of the Phildelphia Athletics' home at Shibe Park. See cbslocal.com for a narrative and video of the changes, and a complete set of plans released by the Bay Conservation and Development Commission.
And in the world of football, the Oakland / Las Vegas Raiders managed to get a one-year lease extension at Oakland Coliseum, so we don't have to worry about the team becoming "homeless" for the 2019 season. See si.com, also courtesy of Mike Zurawski.
Clifford "Bucky" Nance recently posted on Facebook a video of an adventure he had flying in a World War II-era C-47 "Dakota" (which became the DC-3 in civilian life) over the Dallas-Forth Worth area. The pilot was kind enough to fly over the future home of the Texas Rangers, and Bucky was kind enough to share with me a high-resolution image, which will be of great use when I start drawing a diagram of that stadium later this year. It is supposed to be ready by April 2020, but some of us (including Bucky) wonder whether the new venue might be an unnecessary boondoggle. Be that as it may, thank you, Bucky!!!