When I was a preteen in the 80’s I was given a sketch board. I couldn’t do freehand drawing to save my life, but as I constantly watched and listened to baseball games every summer, I used that board along with a compass and protractor to create my own reproductions of stadia, especially ballparks. I learned how to understand space, capacity, and sightlines. I never took any drawing or architecture classes, considering my interest little more than a small hobby.
As I became an adult with some disposable income, I decided to take my interest directly to those places that inspired me. In 1989 my two prime muses were the Coliseum, which at the time was considered one of the best modern ballparks in baseball, and SkyDome, which was so technologically advanced I couldn’t help but admire it. I went there once, in 2000, long after the salad days of the early-mid 90’s. The facility was still relatively new at the time, yet it was surpassed by the onslaught of retro-modern parks like Camden Yards. In the intervening years I visited all of these new parks, while mentally and philosophically abandoning domes like Skydome/Rogers Centre and Tropicana Field. I decided at the beginning of the year that both venues deserved their own story. This weekend I’ll talk about Rogers Centre. Before the end of the season I’ll talk Tropicana, which I visited in June.
Back to Toronto. The tour I took today took me to the visitor’s dugout. Along the way I got to see this:
If you don’t recognize it, it’s called a bogie. The term is normally used in conjunction with trains or, in sports parlance, the traction systems that move retractable roofs. In this application, bogies like this one are used to move the lower seating deck so that it can better accommodate baseball or football crowds. Such technology used to be the hallmark of the old multipurpose, cookie-cutter stadia of the 60’s and 70’s. Nowadays they’re practically extinct thanks to teams and cities building very specific purpose-built facilities. Take a good look and remember that this kind of stuff used to be pretty cool.
The other reason for taking care of Toronto and St. Pete is that I’ve only kept track of these ballpark trips since I started the blog. The travel aspect started in 2008. I’ve now gone through 30 teams and 33 ballparks since then. Over ten years without a gimmicky 30-parks-in-30-days plan or anything else I couldn’t practically pull off, I’m happy with this. After this trip is over I may consider heading back out on the road to visit ballparks or other sports venues, but for now I’m satisfied. My hunger for this is sated. And maybe, just maybe, that’s a signal that we can all turn our collective attention to Oakland first and last. No more Joneses to keep up with. It’s now all about the A’s. As it should be.
- Camden Yards, Baltimore
- Nationals Park, Washington
- Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
- Yankee Stadium, New York City
- Fenway Park, Boston
- Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland
- AT&T Park, San Francisco
- Petco Park, San Diego
- Chase Field, Phoenix
- Minute Maid Park, Houston
- Globe Life Park, Arlington TX
- Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City
- Busch Stadium (IV), St Louis
- Wrigley Field, Chicago
- Miller Park, Milwaukee
- Target Field, Minneapolis
- Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
- Angels Stadium, Anaheim
- Comerica Park, Detroit
- Progressive Field, Cleveland
- Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
- Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago
- Coors Field, Denver
- Safeco Field, Seattle
- Marlins Park, Miami
- Turner Field, Atlanta
- New Yankee Stadium, NY Yankees
- Citi Field, NY Mets
- Tropicana Field, St Petersburg
- Rogers Centre, Toronto
I only have 8 I still need to see play a home game, but I need to see 9 ballparks (thanks Cobb County) and soon 10 (dammit, Arlington).
This is a minor detail but St Louis has had only three Busch Stadiums.
1) Origionally called Spotrsmans Park.
2) Busch Memorial Stadium. (The first “cookie cutter”)
3) Busch Stadium III. (The present one)
I got 15 current ones in (as in seen a major league game there), 15 to go. The rankings so far: 1. Wrigley 2. PNC 3. Dodger 4. Camden 5. Fenway 6. Safeco (only saw a celebrity softball game so doesn’t really count) 7. Angel 8. Coliseum (homer alert) 9. Jacobs or whatever it’s called now 10. Comerica 11. Formerly New Comiskey 12. Petco 13. Great American 14. New Yankee 15. Qualcomm 16. Miller 17. Metrodome (only saw football) 18. Candlestick 19. Kingdome 20. LA Coliseum (saw the ’08 Dodger preseason game)
Somehow I forgot AT&T, which would go between Fenway and Safeco
San Jose – just rated as the 6th safest city in the U.S. (SF is nowhere near that rank, or Oakland) MLB didn’t get that memo evidently.
At this point dose it really matter?
The A’s will build in their defined territory (A/C counties) probable Oakland, or leave the Bay Area.