Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Figural Row Ends - Volume 4 - AL East

Continuing the "Figural Row Ends" series, next profiled is the American League East. Four of the five parks have figural row ends and all four opened after 1990. Fenway Park, which opened in 1914, does not have them.

Yankee Stadium

The new Yankee Stadium's row ends feature the Yanks' interlocking NY logo throughout the park. The park opened in 2009 and has already hosted a World Series.

Rogers Centre

Rogers Centre opened in 1991 as the Skydome. The row ends originally featured the Skydome logo, but when the name was changed a few years ago, each dome logo was covered up by the grey plastic Rogers Centre Logo. On a few of the rows in the upper deck, fans actually removed the grey plastic and you can see the original Skydome logos.

Tropicana Field

Tropicana Field's row ends do not feature the current logo for the park or even the Rays logo. The logo on the row ends is actually the Florida Suncoast Dome logo. This was the name and logo of the dome when it first opened in the early 1990's.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

The row ends at Camden Yards feature the Orioles "Baltimore Baseball Club" logo. I've heard that the player in the middle is supposed to represent Hall of Famer Wee Willier Keeler who played for the National League Baltimore Orioles in the late 1800's. Its a classic logo and its cast into the steel of each row end. A very nice touch at an incredible ballpark.

Fenway Park

Fenway Park does not have row ends in any part of the ballpark. Although row ends were at ballparks from the early 1900's, Fenway's original grandstand seats do not have them. Most of the rest of the seats were replaced from the 1970's on, but also do not feature figurals.

Check out these and thousands of other photos at

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Unrealized Concepts - Volume 4 - Yankee Stadium Renovation (1998)

In 1998, just at the beginning of the current Yankees run, there were many ideas floated for a new ballpark. Most alternatives involved the Yanks leaving the Bronx to either Manhattan (their home for their first 22 years) or the New Jersey Meadowlands. This proposal was different in that it not only kept the team in the Bronx, but in Yankee Stadium.

The plan was floated by the Bronx Boro President Fernando Ferrer. It involved reintroducing many of the Stadium's classic features including the Frieze above the upper deck and the exterior facade.

An interesting feature that was eventually incorporated into the new Yankee Stadium is above. It seems to be quite similar to the "Great Hall" at the new park. Basically a glass wall which extends the concourse out onto what was then Ruppert Plaza.

The plan was never really accepted by the Yankees though. It never really got past the proposal stage. While its a shame the Yankees didn't stay in the original Stadium, at least they are still in the Bronx.

You can see these and more images of this proposal at

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Stadium Remains - Part Six - Polo Grounds

The sixth ballpark profiled in the "Stadium Remains" series is The Polo Grounds. The Polo Grounds was the home of the New York Giants from 1890-1957. Additionally, the Yankees (from 1913-1922) and the Mets (from 1962-1963) called the park home. The old park was also home to the football Giants and Jets/Titans. In the picture above from Google Maps you can see the layout of what remains if you would like to visit yourself

The only monument to the actual park is a plaque (pictured above) that is located on the north-west of the four towers. Home plate on the plaque actually faces the wrong direction. If you are looking directly at the plaque from close up, you would actually be standing in the lefty batter's box.

Just to the west of the Polo Grounds Towers which replaced the park is the Brush Staircase. This staircase was built in the early 1900's to allow residents of the neighborhood on the other side of Coogan's Bluff to access the Polo Grounds easily. It is still there today, but is in a state of disrepair. A few years ago, there were some articles that the SF Giants, the Mets, Yankees, NY Giants and Jets had donated money to the city for a repair. As of March 2010, no repairs have been made. When I visited, the stairwell was fenced off and un-passable.

One of the legends of the Polo Grounds was Coogan's Bluff. This was an elevated area just to the West of the park. It was high enough that people could stand on the rocks and see the game below without paying admission.

This is a closeup of the two buildings in the previous picture. Between the two towers, you get a glimpse of the old Yankee Stadium. One month after my visit, that view is no more. Yankee Stadium has just a few pieces of it still standing and will soon join the Polo Grounds in the list of extinct ballparks. If you do look just to the left, you can actually see the new Yankee Stadium.

It really isn't a bad neighborhood. If you would like to make a visit like I did, just go at a normal hour and be smart. It is easily accessable by car and the B Subway line. (155th Street Station)

You can see these and more pictures of The Polo Grounds' Remains at

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Figural Row Ends - Volume 3 - NL Central

Continuing the "Figural Row Ends" series, next profiled is the National League Central. Five of the six parks were built since 2000 and have figural row ends. Wrigley Field, which opened in 1914, does not have them.

Great American Ball Park

Great American Ball Park's row ends feature the Reds' "wishbone c" logo throughout the park. GABP is one of only two parks in the majors to feature red seats.

Busch Stadium

The other red seat park is Busch Stadium. Busch's row ends are quite nice. They have the Cards' "bird on bat" logo cast into the seat post and the features of the logo painted on. It is clearly one of the best and well thought out in the entire league.

Miller Park

Miller Park has green seats and throughout the park on the row ends feature the above logo. It appears to be a giant batter hovering over the Miller Park dome. I don't know the significance of the logo, but it is also on the park's dedication plaque.

Minute Maid Park

Minute Maid Park, formerly Enron Field, features the above row ends. Luckily for the Astros, they did not incorporate the Enron Field logo on to the row ends. This logo is actually also the logo for Houston's Union Station, the rail station that neighbors MMP. I don't know if this logo is a historic one or if it only dates back to the renovation of Union Station that was part of the ballpark's construction. In the planning stages of the ballpark, it was actually known as "The Ballpark at Union Station".

PNC Park

PNC Park is one of the better parks in MLB. It features a simple Pirates logo on its row ends. Since yellow or black would be odd seat color choices for a MLB park, they went with blue. (The neighboring Heinz Field football stadium actually does have yellow seats.)

Wrigley Field

As I mentioned above, Wrigley Field does not have row end figurals. Since all of its seats are plastic, the seat posts likely only date back to the 1970's which was a dead period of sorts for these ornaments. I have never seen any pre-plastic era seats for Wrigley that feature these.

Check out these and thousands of other photos at

Monday, April 5, 2010

Opening Day at Citi Field

It was a great day out at Citi Field today (unless you were a Marlins fan...). With the large crowd, the new Mets Hall of Fame had a long wait to enter it. With that, I wasn't able to get in there this time. Hopefully later this week. But now to some of the bigger changes at Citi that I was able to see.

One of the first things you will see on the field level concourse is an increase in Mets memorabilia. In the image above, there are large cards of past Mets. The Ebbets Clubs behind home plate were renamed the "Champions Club" as well. Lots of the unpainted concrete (especially in the stairwells) were painted orange and blue.

The center field large video board had some changes as well. Some of the uglier ads are gone and replaced by some more understated ads. Specifically, many readers mentioned in emails that they disliked the two large Arpielle ads to the left and right of the board. These were replaced by SHARP Electronics ads.

The bridge in right center field was renamed today. It was dedicated as the Shea Bridge. This was named after William Shea, the man tasked with bringing National League baseball back to New York after the departure of the Giants and Dodgers.

A big change is the lowering of the center field wall to an even height of eight feet. In the image above, any ball hit over the orange line is considered a homer. In 2009, balls needed to clear the high point of the wall for home runs. I don't think this will have much effect on the games. Only a few balls hit the wall in dead center in 09, so there won't be more than a few disputes due to it.

One more change is the changes in the concessions. Above, you can see a new "Box Frites" location. On on the opposite side is a Blue Smoke location. Also on the Promenade food court is a duplicate of large beer stand in the fanfest area. Additionally, there are many spots with beer on tap.

Be sure to check out all of the changes for yourself in 2010. If you can avoid some of the bad seats, Citi Field is a great place to see a game. I've been to 29 different parks, and by far Citi has the best food in the league.

Happy Opening Day!!

Opening Day Bunting at Shea Stadium in 2008

It's the best day of the baseball year. Enjoy all of the games. I'll be out at Citi Field. (My 11th consecutive Mets home opener. 13th straight opening day overall.) I'm hoping for a comeback year for the Mets.

No matter who you root for, its the one day everyone is in first place.

Be sure to check the blog and Monday evening for new Citi Field images.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Changes at Citi Field

Any reader of and this blog probably knows already, but the Mets have made many changes to Citi Field for 2010. I never had a problem with Citi as it was, but the minor addition of "Mets Stuff" is ok too. I was definitely disappointed that the museum wasn't there from the start. However, I suppose it was a huge task just to get the park game ready, so 1 year late isn't that bad.

Some of the bigger changes:
- New Mets Museum: As promised, the Mets constructed a new museum just off of the rotunda. Some readers have passed along photos and it looks great.

- McFadden's Restaurant: From what I've seen, it won't be ready for Opening Day, but there will be a new bar/restuarant in the building directly below the FanFest area.

- New Location for Old Apple: The old Apple has been moved from the spot behind the visitors bullpen to "Mets Plaza" outside of the rotunda.

- New Bullpen Configuration: Relievers from both teams will now be throwing toward the outfield wall.

- Lower Center Field Wall: This news was out since January, but the outfield wall will be a uniform eight feet from the Modell's Zone to Left Field.

- Bigger "Mets" Presence: This was a big complaint from day 1 by many. There are tons of new banners/pennants/etc inside and outside the park.

- Ebbets Club No More: The pricey Ebbets Club sections were renamed "Champions Club" one side being 1969 themed, the other 1986 themed.

- Greater Access to Clubs: If you have a ticket anywhere but Promenade IF or OF Reserved, there is at least one club you are eligible for.

- New Fanwalk Bricks: The new sections of bricks are now "Mets Moments" themed. My brick is actually in the Todd Pratt 1999 NLDS clincher section. (A game I was at!)

I'm sure there's some other stuff I'm missing. I'll be at the game on Monday taking tons of pictuers. Be sure to check and this blog on Monday evening for all the images.