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Only 38 more days until Opening Day!

January 3, 2023 [LINK / comment]

Are you ready for some football stadium photos?

Yes, sports fans, we are fast approaching the end of the NFL regular season, this coming Sunday, and the BCS Championship Game, to be held in [Houston -- NOT Las Vegas] next Monday. [The University of Washington Huskies will face the Michigan Wolverines. It so happens that I paid a visit to Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor in 2015, a day after seeing a Tigers game in Detroit, and I came to within a few miles of Husky Stadium last June.]

Lumen Field

Lumen Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks since 2002; located just north of T-Mobile Park. For two years after departing their original home at the Kingdome, the Seahawks played their home games at Husky Stadium. (Photo taken June 22, 2023.)

The Football stadiums photo gallery page has been updated with new stadiums that I saw for the first time last June. That page includes photos of fourteen current NFL stadiums, one of which (Highmark Stadium, home of the Buffalo Bills) will be replaced in two or three years. It also includes photos of six former NFL stadiums. In the back of one stadium in the latter group, the Astrodome, you can see part of NRG Stadium, home of the Houston Texans since 2002, so let's call it 14 1/2 current NFL stadium photos.

For those who keep up with such things, the Washington "Commanders," as the team formerly known as the "Redskins" are now called, will finish in last place in the NFC East Division. [This Sunday they will play the Dallas Cowboys, who are motivated by the prospect of taking the NFC East title from the Philadelphia Eagles. Right now the winningest teams in the NFL are the Baltimore Ravens (13-3, AFC) and the San Francisco 49ers (12-4, NFC). This year's Super Bowl (LVIII) will be played in Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.]

New pro football stadium names

I was taken aback a few months ago when I was watching televised NFL games at stadiums whose names I had never heard of: Paycor Stadium? Acrisure Stadium? Empower Field?? It seems that every year there are multiple changes of pro football stadium names, perhaps even more than has been the case with MLB stadiums. And so, as a public service, here is a brief listing to clarify matters:

Home stadiums of NFL teams
Conference City, team Previous stadium name(s) Current stadium name Home stadium since
AFC-E Buffalo Bills Rich Stadium / Ralph Wilson Stad. / New Era Field Highmark Stadium 1973
AFC-E Miami Dolphins Joe Robbie Stadium / Dolphin Stad. / Landshark Stad. / Sun Life Stad. Hard Rock Stadium 1987
AFC-E New England Patriots Gillette Stadium 2002
AFC-E New York Jets New Meadowlands Stadium MetLife Stadium 2010
AFC-S Houston Texans NRG Stadium 2002
AFC-S Indianapolis * Colts Lucas Oil Stadium 2008
AFC-S Jacksonville Jaguars Jacksonville Municipal Stadium /
AllTel Stad. / Ever Bank Field
TIAA Bank Field (1995)
AFC-S Tennessee * Titans Adelphi Coliseum / The Coliseum / LP Field Nissan Stadium 1999
AFC-N Baltimore * Ravens Ravens Stad. at Camden Yards / PSI Net Stad. / Ravens Stad. M&T Bank Stadium 1998
AFC-N Cincinnati Bengals Paul Brown Stadium Paycor Stadium 2000
AFC-N Cleveland Browns Cleveland Browns Stadium First Energy Stadium 1999
AFC-N Pittsburgh Steelers Heinz Field Acrisure Stadium 2001
AFC-W Denver Broncos Invesco Field / Sports Authority Field / Broncos Stad. at Mile High Empower Field at Mile High 2001
AFC-W Kansas City Chiefs Arrowhead Stadium GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium [1972]
AFC-W Las Vegas *** Raiders Allegiant Stadium 2020
AFC-W Los Angeles * Chargers SoFi Stadium 2020
NFC-E Dallas Cowboys Cowboys Stadium AT&T Stadium 2009
NFC-E New York Giants New Meadowlands Stadium MetLife Stadium 2010
NFC-E Philadelphia Eagles Lincoln Financial Field 2003
NFC-E Washington Commanders * Jack Kent Cooke Stadium FedEx Field 1997
NFC-S Atlanta Falcons Mercedes Benz Stadium 2017
NFC-S Carolina Panthers Ericsson Stadium Bank of America Stadium 1996
NFC-S New Orleans Saints Louisiana Superdome / Mercedes Benz Superdome Caesar's Superdome 1976
NFC-S Tampa Bay Buccaneers Raymond James Stadium 1998
NFC-N Chicago Bears Soldier Field (1971)
NFC-N Detroit Lions Ford Field 2002
NFC-N Green Bay Packers Lambeau Field 1957 *
NFC-N Minnesota Vikings U.S. Bank Stadium 2016
NFC-W Arizona ** Cardinals University of Phoenix Stadium State Farm Stadium 2006
NFC-W Los Angeles ** Rams SoFi Stadium 2020
NFC-W San Francisco 49ers Levi's Stadium 2014
NFC-W Seattle Seahawks Seahawks Stadium / Qwest Field / CenturyLink Field Lumen Field 2002

* = Past change or changes of team name, home city, etc.
(Parentheses) indicate that the stadium (or at least part of it) was built many years before the NFL team moved into it.
[Brackets] indicate subsequent correction; Arrowhead Stadium opened in 1972, not 1973 as previously shown. Thanks to Chris Knight for bringing this to my attention.

As you can see, only eight of the [32] NFL franchises have occupied a stadium with the same name for at least ten years. Six NFL stadiums were built less than ten years ago, and in all cases, they have the original names. The Football use page (which lists MLB stadiums that have been used for football, either pro or collegiate) has been updated with new stadium names, etc. I may have to make some further corrections and updates to it, however.

College football: realignment chaos

At the college level, 2023 will be remembered for the destruction of the Pacific 10 athletic conference. Prior to the 2023 season, all but four of its member institutions announced that they were joining other conferences. Next year the Pac 10 will cease to exist. Most notably, and stupidly, the Atlantic Coast Conference will absorb Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley next year, along with Southern Methodist University. This situation is getting totally out of hand, leading to confusion and angst. There's a lot of people getting rich by exploiting public sentiment subsidized by taxpayer money. Meanwhile, they are talking about paying college football athletes, doing away once and for all with the pretense that college sports are "amateurs." If that is the case, college athletic programs should not receive public funding, period.

It so happens that I paid a visit to the campus of one of those new ACC teams last June, before the announcement was made: the University of California at Berkeley. It is a beautiful campus, situated on a slope adjacent to a mountain range full of canyons.

California Memorial Stadium

California Memorial Stadium, located on the east (uphill) side of the campus in Berkeley, California. In the background you can see the landmark Sather Tower. (Photo taken June 20, 2023.)

As mentioned above, the Football stadiums photo gallery page has been updated with new stadiums that I saw for the first time last June, including the one you see here. That page now includes a total of ten college football stadiums.

NHL Winter Classic

Thanks to the Washington Post, I learned that the National Hockey League Winter Classic was held at T-Mobile Park on New Year's Day, so I updated the Other sports use page with that information, along with some other updates and corrections. I will need to recheck some of the stadium names, etc. on that page. Somehow I had previously overlooked the fact that the 2022 Winter Classic was held in Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins. In due course I will update those respective stadium pages with hockey diagram versions.

Nats sign another pitcher

In my December 31 blog post, I neglected to mention one other player signed by the Washington Nationals: veteran relief pitcher Dylan Floro. He has played for eight years for the Miami Marlins and Minnesota Twins, with very respectable numbers, but 2023 was an off year for him, so his one-year contract (worth $2.25 million) with the Nats will include some performance incentives. The Nationals' bullpen was one of their relatively strong roster areas last year, and they really need to acquire another solid starting pitcher and somebody who can slug the ball with consistency.

One faint sign of hope for the Nats' pitching rotation this year is the fact that Trevor Williams, who as of September 2 had the MLB lead for number of home runs allowed (34), did not give up any more for the rest of the month. He finished the season tied for fourth place, behind Lance Lynn (then a Dodger now a Cardinal), Lucas Giolito (then a White Sock now a Red Sock), and Jordan Lyles (with the Royals). Right behind Williams was Patrick Corbin with 33 home runs allowed. Corbin had some severe ups and downs during the 2023 season, and his place the Nats' 2024 rotation is uncertain.

December 31, 2023 [LINK / comment]

Shohei Ohtani joins the L.A. Dodgers

Without a doubt, the biggest news this month has been the 10-year, $700 million deal between the Los Angeles Dodgers and legendary pitcher-slugger Shohei Ohtani, who is so worn out from double-duty record-setting this year that his arm is seriously debilitated. He probably won't pitch until at least mid-season. Ohtani became a free agent after playing for three full seasons (2021, 2022, and 2023) with the Los Angeles Angels, and for two partial seasons before that. As a pitcher this year, he had a 10-5 record with a 3.01 ERA, while at the plate, he had a .304 batting average, with 44 home runs and 95 RBIs. Words simply do not suffice to describe his amazing talent and ability.

I sure hope Ohtani read the fine print in his contract, because it turns out that he will only be getting paid $2 million per year, adding up to $20 million over its ten-year course. (See the Washington Post. The remaining $68 million annual salary will be deferred until some time far off in the future. Evidently, this arrangement helps reduce his California tax liability, but higher-than-expected inflation could ultimately reduce the real value of those future dollars, however. This is the same sort of arrangement that Max Scherzer had with the Washington Nationals, reflecting the franchise's financial constraint stemming from the dispute with the Baltimore Orioles over MASN television royalties. (In spite of repeated court rulings mostly in the Nationals' favor, somehow the Orioles keep wriggling out of their payment obligations, leading to renewed rounds of litigation.

Ohtani's willingness to accept deferred compensation so as to help the Dodgers afford other championship-caliber talent soon bore fruit: the Dodgers also signed the 25-year old pitching ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto to a 12-year contract worth $325 million. (Talk about a bloated payroll!) Yamamoto (who bears the same last name as a famous admiral from World War II) won the Pacific League MVP Award three times while playing with the ORIX Buffaloes. ORIX is a corporate financial conglomerate based in Japan.

Other hot stove news

The San Diego Padres faced up to the bleak reality that last year's big talent binge was a total flop, and agreed to trade superstar slugger Juan Soto to -- who else? -- the New York Yankees. The 25-year old Soto will become a free agent one year hence, and while he expressed obvious happiness at joining the Bronx Bombers, there is uncertainty over what kind of long-term contract he might get. It probably depends on how well he plays this year. The Yankees also signed Cy Young winner Gerritt Cole to a 10-year contract worth $324 million. Some people will recall that Soto used to play with the Washington Nationals, playing a key role in the team's 2019 postseason success.

On Saturday, the Braves announced a trade with the Boston Red Sox, who will send their pitcher Chris Sale (and $17 million cash) to Atlanta, in exchange for a much younger pitcher, Vaughn Grissom. That gives the Braves' already-strong pitching rotation a big boost, a sign that the franchise owners are determined to pursue another World Series trophy this year. Sale is 34 years old and has had some health issues, but there is a big upside to the risk the Braves are taking.

Meanwhile, the Washington Nationals have made very few acquisitions. They signed free agent Nick Senzel, who played various infield and outfield positions for the Cincinnati Reds over the past five years, to a one-year contract worth $2 million. They also signed outfielder Juan Yepez, who played 76 games with the Cardinals as a rookie this year, to a minor league contract. This relatively passive stance is a disappointment for fans who were hoping that the team's improvement this past year might prove the basis for the acquisition of serious top-notch talent. Evidently, the quest for a postseason berth will have to wait for at least another year.

Perhaps more importantly, in mid-November the Nationals came to terms with four arbitration-eligible players: slugging outfielder Lane Thomas, infielder Luis Garcia, and relief pitchers Kyle Finnegan and Hunter Harvey. All four are key components of the slowly-rebuilding team, although Garcia has not been as consistent at hitting or fielding as would be hoped. The other three really deserve multi-year contracts, and it's a sign of the tenuous commitment of the Lerner family tothe team's long-term success that such contracts have not been offered yet.

Annual baseball awards

For the record, here are the major annual awards for baseball players and managers, which were announced in the middle of November:

Award American League (Team) National League (Team)
Most Valuable Player Shohei Ohtani (P/DH) LAA Ronald Acuña (OF) ATL
Cy Young Award Gerritt Cole NYY Blake Snell SD
Rookie of the Year Gunnar Henderson (IF) BAL Corbin Carroll (OF) ARZ
Manager of the Year Brandon Hyde BAL Skip Schumaker MIA

The Nats in 2023

This graph shows how the Washington Nationals recovered nicely after a horrible beginning to the 2023 season, surging upward in May, July, and August, while lagging in June and September.

Nats win loss 2023

The Washington Nationals page has been updated with that graph and various data updates and corrections.

Diagram updates? What diagram updates??

Indeed, there have been hardly any diagram updates this past year, but that does not mean I haven't been working like a (part-time) slave in getting all the MLB stadium diagrams up to standards of accuracy and detail. This past week I somehow got wrapped up in correcting some flaws in Aloha Stadium, located western side of Honolulu, Hawaii. Then I noticed some potential problems in my Turner Field diagrams, and after extensive comparison of various photos, I spent several hours yesterday and today fixing them as well.

On a related note, I am accumulating more and more foreign stadiums on my "to-do" list: London Stadium (neutral site of MLB games in 2019 and 2024), Estadio Alfredo Harp Helu (likewise this past year and 2024), and a stadium in Seoul, South Korea whose name escapes me at the moment. There will be an MLB game there for the very first time next year (2024). Also, there will be a game or two in historic Rickwood Field, in Birmingham, Alabama, which I visited in early 2021. (See the Anomalous stadiums page.)

At some point in the near future, I will try to get caught up with all the recent changes in names of NFL stadiums. It's all so confusing!

Oracle Park photos!

Several new photos have been (or soon will be) added to the Oracle Park page, including two exterior views and five interior shots such as this one:

Oracle Park

Oracle Park, during a tour I took there on June 19. On the other side of San Francisco Bay is the city of Oakland, where the Athletics are getting ready to depart, perhaps after the 2024 season.

Since the legendary crooner Tony Bennett passed away a few months ago, the phrase "I left my heart in San Francisco" seems especially relevant.

San Francisco

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: The Bay Bridge (to Oakland), as seen from Oracle Park, heavily damaged in the 1989 earthquake; a building at the corner of Haight and Ashbury Streets, where hippies once proliferated; the iconic pyramid-shaped Transamerica Tower; and the city skyline, now dominated by the SalesForce* Tower.

* I had never even heard of "SalesForce" before, but it is evidently a high-tech marketing company of some sort. A potential rival to Amazon, perhaps?

Happy New Year!

Coming Attractions

General diagrams
to be updated:

General diagrams
yet to be created:

City map/diagrams
yet to be created:
"Site today" diagrams
yet to be created:

(Includes major revisions, minor revisions, pages with additional diagrams, and future stadiums that are under construction. This is only a rough guide; the sequence is subject to change.)

Stadium construction

Between March 2012, when Marlins Park was completed, and September 2014, there were no major league baseball stadiums under construction. It was the first time since September 1986 that this situation existed. But in light of the recent groundbreaking on the future home of the Braves, the table that had been removed from this space is being restored.

Clem's Baseball ~ Stadium construction

Stadium construction
Chronology of the contemporary era: 1986 - present

1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 2020s
1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018 2020 2022 2024
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
UC 1989: Skydome (Rogers Centre) (construction finished in early June)
plan. UC 1990: Florida Suncoast Dome (Tropicana Field)
planning UC 1991: Comiskey Park II (U.S. Cellular Field, Guaranteed Rate Field)
- planning UC 1992: Oriole Park at Camden Yards
- planning UC 1994: Jacobs Field (Progressive Field)
- planning UC 1994: Ballpark in Arlington (Globe Life Park, etc.)
- planning UC 1995: Coors Field
- planning UC 1996: (Olympic Stadium) 1997: Turner Field
- planning UC 1998: Chase Field (Bank One Ballpark)
- planning UC 1999: AT&T Park (Pac Bell Park)
- planning UC 1999: Safeco Field
- planning UC 2000: Comerica Park
- planning UC 2000: Minute Maid Park
- planning UC 2001: Miller Park
- planning UC 2001: PNC Park
- planning UC 2003: Great American Ballpark
- planning UC 2004: Citizens Bank Park
- planning UC 2006: Busch Stadium III (construction finished in late May)
- planning UC 2008: Nationals Park
- planning UC 2009: Yankee Stadium II
- planning UC 2009: Citi Field
- planning UC 2010: Target Field
- planning UC 2012: Marlins Park
- planning UC 2017: Truist Park (ex-SunTrust Park)
- planning UC 2020: Globe Life Field
STILL WAITING ... Oakland Athletics: (?)  
STILL WAITING ... Tampa Bay Rays: (?)  
1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018 2020 2022 2024
NOTE: For most stadiums, groundbreaking years are mere estimates. For most stadiums, construction continued through March of the year in which they opened. Two exceptions are Skydome / Rogers Centre (construction finished in early June 1989) and Busch Stadium III (construction finished in late May 2006).

Stadium construction montage

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: PNC Park (Pittsburgh, Aug. 2000), Citi Field (Queens, NY, Oct. 2008), Nationals Park (Washington, DC, Aug. 2007)

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