Monday, October 31, 2011

Citi Field Renovation

Image per

The news that was first reported on Mets Blog was confirmed today by the Mets. Several renovations/changes to Citi Field's outfield walls were detailed in a conference call.

First, the outfield dimensions were revealed. While not the completely symmetrical field that was rumored, the dimensions were shortened in several of the deepest areas.

Image per

In the above rendering, you can see the difference. The left center "corner" was simply too deep and the 16 foot original wall was a further penalty. The new wall will be a uniform 8 feet all the way from right to left in 2012. Additionally, a new wall will be built in front of the 16 foot part in left.

In Right Field, the old 415 spot just right of center in front of the bullpens will be shortened to 398. In additon, the spot in front of the Modell's Zone seating was squared off and shortened.

Beyond the dimensions, all of the interior walls will be made blue. The old backing walls will remain the "soot" black color.

Image per

The cool thing about the new interior walls is that it allowed the Mets to add new seats. This image seems to show a row of seats much like the Green Monster seats at Fenway Park. While I'm sure they will be expensive, they should give an interesting view of the game.

Image per

Here is another view of the new left field seating.

Image per

Finally, here's a view of how the Modell's Zone section will look. With new seats/tables on what used to be the warning track, the group sales section should be able to have its capacity expanded. Also it now features standing room on what used to be the warning track.

Overall, I think these are good moves. The talk of every ESPN/FOX national game that featured the Mets at home was on how difficult the ballpark was. That can't be good for attracting players and the hitters' confidence. The new dimensions do not make it a "hitter's paradise" though. Mets GM Sandy Alderson mentioned that the change should put Citi Field in the middle.

The change to blue walls is ok with me. The black walls were distinctive, but many Mets fans have been clamoring for blue for a while now. Its good to see the organization listening. (Now maybe they can listen for our calls to sign Reyes...)

You can see all of these images in a slideshow at or on

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Citi Field Fences

As reported on Mets Blog, work on moving in the Citi Field fences has already begun.

Image per Mets Blog

As Sandy Alderson mentioned in during one of the final Mets broadcasts of 2011, the changes wouldn't be subtle. He wasn't kidding! It looks like Citi is going from one of the most radical/quirky outfields to a perfectly rounded one. I'm a bit mixed on this, but overall I think its a good move:

- Some of the quirks seemed pointless from the beginning.
- The Mets hitters were obviously affected by the old dimensions. As Yogi Berra said, "99% of the game is half mental" If the hitters are more comfortable, they will play better.
- Maybe the Mets decide to go all out and replace the black fences with fan favorite blue fences.
- It should create some cool "on field" type seating in left field and right field.
- They may re-do the bullpens again. From many angles in the park, its hard to see who is warming in the 'pen.

- To be blunt, (Dickey aside) the Mets' pitching stinks. This can only make it worse.
- I actually like the black fences.
- No more "overhang" in Right field. It was a bit contrived anyway.

I'll try to take a tour sometime in early 2012 to get some pictures before opening day and post them here and on

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Figural Row Ends - Volume 5 - NL West

Continuing the "Figural Row Ends" series, next profiled is the National League West. All five parks have were either built or renovated since 1995 and have interesting designs on their row ends.

AT&T Park

AT&T Park (formerly known as Pacific Bell Park and SBC Park) has been the home of the San Francisco Giants since 2000. Their row end design is quite simple. Just the Giants SF cap logo with a diamond and crossing bats. With all of the name changes that the park has had, the team was quite fortunate to go with a team-centric design rather than the sponsor's name.

Chase Field

Chase Field (formerly Bank One Ballpark), like AT&T went with a team-centric design. With the park's name change and team identity changes since 1998, the "A" logo actually is still relevant and in use.

Coors Field

Coors Field has been the home of the Rockies since their third season in 1995. All of the stadium's seats are green except for one row in the upper deck which is purple (pictured). Coors' row ends utilize a modified version of the Rockies primary logo with the flying ball/mountain/arch.

Dodger Stadium

When Dodger Stadium opened in 1962, the seats were the same color scheme as now but made of wood. Sometime in the late 70's early 80's the colors changed and the wood seats were replaced with plastic. Neither the first nor second generation of Dodgers Stadium seats had row ends. In 2006, the stadium's original color scheme was restored and with it the team added their "LA" logo to the row ends.

Of all the bad the McCourt ownership has brought to the franchise, if they did one good thing it was the color scheme restoration.


Opened in 2004, PETCO Park is the newest ballpark in the NL West. Like the others, it too has a cool row end design. Unlike the others though, PETCO's actually have the corporate sponsor's name on them.

Though the name of the company hasn't changed, Petco (corporation) recently announced a re-branding. In the past the company's name was always represented in all caps. In the new version, its all lowercase. As far as I know, the Padres haven't changed the ballpark logo (which features the "all caps" Petco wordmark) yet.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dedication Plaques - Volume 3 - Target Field

Target Field Dedication Plaque

I took a great trip to Minnesota late this summer to visit the one year old Target Field. Its a great ballpark and a HUGE upgrade from the Metrodome. The Twins really paid alot of attention to little details which made nice park a great one.

This plaque, dedicated to the people of Minnesota, is located on the main entrance plaza. Its near the ticket windows to the right of the "Gate 29" entrance. As usual, the plaque lists the owners of the Twins, various local politicians that made financing possible and the designers and builders of the stadium. (I believe this is the first major league ballpark that uses the new Populous name. Citi Field's plaque lists "HOK Sport" as the architect.)

An interesting touch is the laser engraved image of Target Field itself. I've never seen something like that on a dedication plaque. The plaque seems to be made of regular sheet metal with all of the names/images engraved on it. Teams seem to be getting away from the heavy brass plaques that older parks had and are now going with ones of this type of metal and plastic like at Citi Field.

You can check out all of my photos from Target Field at

Another Sporcle Quiz

I put together another ballpark-related Sporcle quiz. This time about statues.

Check it out:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sporcle Quiz is a great brainteaser site. There's tons of cool quizzes about any topic you can think of. I just put together a pretty lengthy quiz about the ballparks that hosted the final game of each World Series.

Check it out at

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ballpark Statues - Vol. 1 - PNC Park

Honus Wagner Statue @ PNC

Though we now think of the Pittsburgh Pirates as one of the worst teams in baseball, they have a very long history (est. 1887) with 13 hall of famers. Due to this, PNC Park has the best collection of statues in the majors. The best Pirate of them all and one of baseball's greatest players ever was Honus Wagner. His statue greets fans as they approach PNC's home plate rotunda entrance.

The statue was originally dedicated in 1955. According to the inscription on the statue's base, it was moved from Shenley Park to Three Rivers Stadium in 1972. It was later moved to its current location in 2001.

Roberto Clemente

The statue for Roberto Clemente is located at the foot of the Roberto Clemente Bridge just outside of the centerfield gate of PNC Park. Dedicated in 1994, Clemente's statue was originally outside of Three Rivers Stadium's gate B. It was moved to its present location at PNC Park in 2001.

Willie Stargell

Willie Stargell's statue is located a short distance from Clemente's by the left field gate at PNC. It was dedicated on April 7, 2001. Just two days before his death.

Bill Mazeroski

The Bill Mazeroski statue is located outside of the right field entrance of PNC Park. It was dedicated in 2010. Next to the statue is an original section of brick from Forbes Field's outfield wall with "406 FT" painted on it. His walk off home run that ended the 1960 World Series cleared the fence near the 406 FT marker.

Barney Dreyfuss Memorial

The four statues outside the park aren't the only ones at PNC. If you enter through the home plate rotunda and head up the stairs to the lower concourse, you'll be greeted by this monument to Barney Dreyfuss.

Dreyfuss was the owner of the Pirates from 1900-1932. He's credited with the creation of the modern (AL vs NL) World Series. He also headed up the development and construction of Forbes Field in the early 1900's. Forbes Field was the first "steel and concrete" stadium ever built.

This monument was placed in center field at Forbes Field after his death in 1932. It was moved to Three Rivers Stadium in 1970 and moved again to PNC Park in 2001.

Ralph Kiner's Hands

An interesting and unique sculpture sits below the pedestrian rotunda in left field. This is a bronze casting of Ralph Kiner's hands. Most Mets fans like me know Kiner as the Mets announcer since 1962, but he was also one of the best hitters of the 1950's. Kiner hit 369 homers in just ten seasons.

Carl Barger Bust

The final memorial (that I will cover here) is the Carl Barger Bust. Barger was the Pirates President from 1987-1991. He left to help get the expansion Florida Marlins off the ground. Barger died of an aneurysm in 1992, months short of the Marlins first game. A great fan of Joe DiMaggio, Barger actually has the number 5 retired in his honor by the Marlins. This bust is located behind the center field bleachers.

That's actually not it! At the entrance on the third base side of PNC Park, there is an alcove known as "Highmark Legacy Square". In this spot there are statues of seven legendary players of the Negro Leagues that played in Pittsburgh. I'll cover that at another time.

So that's a total of fourteen statues/memorials at PNC Park. I don't think any other ballpark comes close!

See pictures of these statues memorials HERE.
Check out all of my PNC Park photos HERE.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Stadium Remains- Part Seven - Metropolitan Stadium

Metropolitan Stadium

Metropolitan Stadium was home of the Minnesota Twins from their inception in 1961 through the end of the 1981 season. At that point the Twins (and the NFL Vikings) moved to the Metrodome. The stadium was abandoned for a few years before its demolition in 1985. The site of the stadium remained an unmarked vacant lot until 1992 when the massive Mall of America opened.

Home Plate Marker

As I always do when visiting MLB cities, I try to find the remains and/or historic markers of old ballparks. This one was actually quite easy to find as its in the middle of the largest shopping mall in the country. The home plate marker (pictured above) is located inside of an indoor amusement park called "Nickelodeon Universe".

"Log Flume" Ride with Old Stadium Seat

Located 520 feet from the home plate marker is the Log Flume ride. Up on the wall beyond the ride is a seat from the old stadium.

Metropolitan Stadium Seat with Killebrew banner

The seat represents the longest home run in the history of the Met. Hit by Harmon Killebrew on June 3, 1957, the home run traveled 520 feet into the far reaches of the stadium's bleachers. There is also a small plaque detailing Killebrew's achievements at the Log Flume.

Nickelodeon Universe Map with location of the Seat and Home Plate

This is probably the easiest stadium marker to visit. It is located just off the main north/south highway only a few miles south of Minneapolis. The theme park does not charge admission to enter and is located in the center of the gigantic shopping mall.

To see other images of the Met markers click HERE.

Check out images of Metropolitan Stadium before demolition at The Stadium Graveyard.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Unrealized Concepts - Volume 6 - Tropicana Field Renovation

In 2010, after the the Rays failed to get financing for the Major League Downtown stadium project, a local group called the ABC Coalition commissioned a feasibility study toward renovating Tropicana Field. These drawings are the result.

One study looked at the possibility of removal of the current fabric roof and replacing it with a retractable dome. This would have allowed for open air during sunny days, natural grass, and no more catwalks. It was a particularly expensive plan and was not pursued.

The next three photos show how a renovated park would look with the current roof. This would be the view from the first base concourse. Currently, the Trop's lower concourses are "closed". The renovations would allow for an open concourse like most newer parks have. Also, if you look to the outfield in the picture, the study proposed opening up the back wall and allowing views of the outside world.

This would be the view of the seating behind home plate. The press box would be moved to where upper level seating is now and suites/clubs made out of the lower level. It actually looks alot like the area behind the plate at Citi Field.

Finally, here's a view from behind home plate. Its cool to be able to see beyond the fences, but honestly there's not much to see in that part of St. Petersburg. Plus you still have the ugly roof and catwalks. It wasn't clear if natural grass was to be part of this plan.

Ultimately, this was rejected (correctly in my view) by the Rays. The Trop isn't particularly terrible, but it was built in the 1980's and is closer to 70's disasters like Three Rivers and Veterans Stadium than Camden Yards.

A really good book by Jonah Keri, "The Extra 2%", goes through all of the difficulties the Rays face in St. Pete. Its not centrally located to where the population is and most fans need to travel across a bridge to get there. The team would be much better off waiting out the economic situation and trying again on a Tampa project like the Major League Downtown concept from 2008/2009.

Check out all of the renderings of the Trop Renovation project HERE
Check out renderings of the Major League Downtown project HERE

Monday, October 10, 2011

Unrealized Concepts - Volume 5 - Miller Park Concepts

With Miller Park hosting game 2 of the NLCS tonight, I thought it would be cool to look over some unused concepts. There were several different designs, most of which utilized a roof. I don't know alot of the backstory of these, but its still an interesting look at some unused designs.

I actually saw this design a few years before Miller opened. It is very much an homage to Ebbets Field. Even more so than Citi Field which opened years later. This does not seem to incorporate a roof, but is a really nice looking design. Who knows what Citi Field would have become if the Brewers went in this direction.

This design shares alot of similarities to Toronto's Skydome/Rogers Centre and newer retractable parks like Safeco Field and Minute Maid Park. The stadium bowl is similar to Toronto while a one direction roof is much like Seattle and Houston.

With this design, we move closer to Miller Park's final form. A roof that sits above the first and third base lines and retracts together over the playing field. The difference from the final form is the extension of the roof past the stadium bowl.

This last concept reminds me of alot of european soccer venues. The dome is still retractable, but is held up by several large posts. It almost seems like a circus tent.

By the time construction commenced, the Brewers had settled on this final form. Miller really is a nice stadium with a great atmosphere. The park is known for its festive tailgate scene and when the team is playing well (like 2011) they fill the building. The large window walls behind the first and third base upper decks let in a lot of natural light, so even if the dome is closed it doesn't seem like a tomb.

Check out the full page of unrealized Miller Concepts: HERE
Check out the pre-open Miller renderings: HERE

Friday, October 7, 2011

New Marlins Ballpark

Lots of little details have been leaking out about the New Marlins Ballpark. The dome is progressing quite nicely as you can see in this webcam capture below.

Another detail that leaked this week is the figural row ends for the ballpark. With no naming sponsor for the park yet, the Fish seem to be going with their new "M" logo for the ends:
Image Per Uni-Watch

Also released this week is the Marlins new "Home Run Celebration" art piece. The Mets' apple is great. I like the Phillies' neon bell, Bernie's slide etc, but this thing is weird. Judge for yourself...

Per Biz of Baseball

I lived in Miami for four years (undergrad at U of Miami) and as strange as the new logo and HR celebration seem, they really do represent the city quite well. The park is set to open on April 4, 2012 vs the Cardinals. I hope to get down there sometime in the first few months of the season.

Check out construction progress: Here
Check out renderings: Here

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I'm thinking of starting up the blog again this offseason. Keep an eye on this space and let me know what you think of the new layout.