The mail bag: stuffed again
I know, I'm falling way behind in communications once again. Well, first off, I'll try to summarize some of the more important news items sent to me by intrepid baseball news-watcher Mike Zurawski.
In Miami, progress continues on the Marlins' new ballpark, and while there are many aspects that I like, those gigantic concrete pillars that hold up the roof certainly give one pause. It looks more like a superhighway project in Los Angeles, or some kind of science fiction structure. See the photos and 3-D renderings at baseball-fever.com and/or MLB.com. Another fan, named Eric, wants to know when I'm going to do a diagram for that
ballpark stadium. I am indeed working on it, little by little, and it will probably be ready for release (in preliminary form) by this fall.
And in Houston, they are talking about renovating or restoring the Astrodome, which is pretty much sitting idle these days. The problem is, it would supposedly cost at least a billion dollars to fix it up, and as much as $800 million to tear it down. Something just does not compute. Read all about it at fieldofschemes.com.
Mike also informs me that Kansas City will host the 2012 All-Star Game, as a reward for the investment the city made in upgrading Kauffman Stadium to contemporary standards. Mike thinks it should have gone to Boston for the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, but they just had the All-Star Game in 1999.
There is much more ballpark news to get to soon...
Bruce Orser and another long-time friend, Mark London, both came across a fascinating Web site on the history of Forbes Field, which was home of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1909 until 1970. Take a look at the amazing graphic effects on post-gazette.com. It is extremely cool and informative.
New Facebook friend Juan Martínez Miguel Ramírez was kind enough to alert me to the fact that my Latin American Leagues page contained some outdated information, so I will soon make the necessary corrections. ¡Mil gracias, Juan!
Another Facebook friend, Callum Hughson, just saw the Blue Jays play against the Indians in Cleveland, and on one of his photos I noticed for the first time that there is a large plaza with dining tables suitable for parties in the right field corner. I had assumed that the inclined seating sections extended back further. I'll have to fix the Progressive Field diagrams right away...
Another fan of this site from way back, "Bucky" Nance, sent some fine old photos of Arlington Stadium, the original home of the Texas Rangers. One shows the lower-level seats on the third-base side rotated around to left field, a reconfiguration for football games. That confirms what I thought was the case originally. Many thanks, Bucky!
Speaking of Arlington Stadium, I recently saw the movie "W," about the life and times of former President George W. Bush, and there is a dream sequence where he is catching a fly ball at the outfield fence. The scoreboard was a very good replica of the one at Arlington Stadium, which was demolished soon after the Rangers moved out when the 1993 season ended.
Finally, a new visitor named Leah Adams inquired why it is that different ballparks have different outfield distances, so I obliged her with quick explanation. It may sound "elementary" to you and me, but many people in the general public aren't aware of that special aspect of Our National Pastime.
Blue Jays flee Toronto
Because of security concerns related to the recent G-20 summit meeting in Toronto, which was plagued by riots protesting globalization, the Blue Jays decided to give up their home field advantage in Toronto this past weekend, and play the three-game series at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. The Phillies won two of the three "away" games, which will lead to grumbling among fans of other NL Eastern Division teams. In the final game of the series, none other than 47-year old Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer got his 9th win of the season. See MLB.com.
Marlins in Puerto Rico
For the first time since 2004, the major leagues have returned to Puerto Rico, as the Florida Marlins "hosted" a three-game series there against the New York Mets. The Marlins won the first two games, [but lost by one run in the final game of the series. Attendance for the three games was about 18,000-19,000, a bit] less than full capacity at Hiram Bithorn Stadium; that page has been duly updated, as has the Anomalous stadiums page. (I'm not sure whether to count Citizens Bank Park among the "neutral" stadiums, because the "visiting" Phillies team was playing there.) See MLB.com
New Mexico City ballpark?
Thanks to Anthony Salazar, who chairs the SABR Latino Baseball Committee, I learned that plans are underway to build a new stadium for the Mexico City Diablos Rojos (Red Devils). Their current home, Foro Sol, opened in 1993 and has hosted auto races and musical concerts featuring the Rolling Stones and other groups. Much depends on site selection for the new stadium, and of course, on the turbulent state of politics in the Mexican capital city.