BOSTON, MA – I’m Trying to make this an A-Rod-Free Zone. So my PED Comment of the Week is this: I’ve witnessed many PED fueled HR Barrages over the last 25 years. They always look EXACTLY like the HR tear which Chris Davis has been riding all season. Hope I’m wrong, but he’s on pace for 65 dingers. Hmmm.
When Walter O’Malley told Robert Moses to go f*@#ck himself back in the late 1950s, it reverberated across the nation. Moses and New York City Officials refused to build O’Malley or New York Giants owner Horace Stoneham new stadiums, and so off they went to the Land of Milk and Honey, pre-Manson family; pre-Compton Cali! With that, here’s a mini MLB Ballpark Review:
In 1964, a state-of-the-art Shea Stadium was built. It wasn’t all that state of the art 20, 30 and 40 years later when part of the “charm” of Big Shea was standing in puddles of urine and escalators that shut down routinely while moving. with hundreds of people aboard. After many cookie cutter uninspired round cement bunkers, a breakthrough occurred in the early 1990s.
The new stadium revolution (almost always on taxpayers’ backs other than AT&T Park in SF) came about in 1992 when the House that Cal built was opened. At that time, Detroit was considered a suburban playground with 72 virgins on every corner compared to the not so friendly streets of downtown Baltimore. Orioles Park at Camden Yards quickly became a showplace for other stadiums and cities to envy and admire. Right on the Inner Harbor, Camden Yards revitalized Baltimore for baseball fans and white people. It was charming and interesting and nostalgic, had nooks and crannies and kitschy food and souvenir stands. Baseball had for the first time realized that to boost attendance, its stadiums needed to attract families. This meant child friendly activities before and during games. Swimming pools, wiffle ball fields, Ponzi Scheme raffles and and pin the tail on Saul Katz’ ass started to proliferate across American ballparks. Fan-friendly became the new term for the new marketers selling a new kind of baseball.
Since Camden Yards opened, there have been an additional 20 new stadiums opened. I’ve had the opportunity to visit many of these and many of the older parks too. Here are my thoughts on a few of these lll
Fenway Park-Yeah, I get it. The charm, the old world juxtaposition of this “cathedral” in the middle of the Back Bay in a congested city. The Green Monster. No World Series victory for 86 years. Blah blah, blah. You haven’t seen baseball until you go to Fenway. Bullshit. I don’t like listening to Vin Scully working alone because he never shuts up, and I don’t like Fenway. Both sacrilegious, but true.
The Skinny: It’s a ridiculously old park that is too small and cramped to accommodate ANY amenities that today’s baseball fans want and need. Functional bathrooms, anyone? When you consider that the tight quarters and no breathing room is shared with 37,000 obnoxious drunken Boston loudmouths, the place is not bearable. Not for die-hard fans, Not for a guy taking his kids to a ballgame. The old world charm of the Fens? DEBUNKED right here baby!
Citizens Bank Ballpark-Built in the last 10 years, Citizens SHOULD be a cozy amenity filled atmosphere offering conveniences now expected like ample and clean bathrooms, refreshment stands, and helpful staff. The main concourse on the lower level is wide and easily navigated. But at the end of the day, again, you’re simply in a hate filled cauldron of Philadelphians–easily the most contemptible, miserable human beings in America who come to the ballpark to vent their white trash frustrations about being Philadephians.
The Skinny: My kids were wearing Mets shirts one evening at this place and were cursed at by 38 year old Philly assholes who couldn’t tell Wayne Twitchell from Wayne Terwilliger. Just awful, nasty people that make visiting this stadium more trouble than it’s worth. A cesspool.
Wrigley Field– See Fenway above. Also no amenities, no room to move. However, there are also no Bostonians which makes watching a game here significantly more enjoyable. On a nice day, it feels like you’re at a high school game.
The Skinny: It’s enough already. Build a new freakin’ stadium! We get it. The Ivy, Waveland Avenue, Mark Grace, Harry Caray. NEXT!
Marlins Park-You feel dirty when you walk in. The stench of greed and all things nefarious permeates the place. Jeffrey Loria and David Sampson are the tropical equivalents of Jerry Sandusky and Jeff Wilpon respectively.They announce crowds of 11 or 12,000. They’ve had two games at home this year when the actual attendance exceeded 2,000.
The Skinny: Worst fans in sports. Ever. Owners who make the Wilpons look ethical and committed to winning.
Oakland O.co Coliseum—This is Shea Stadium West with better weather. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. Very laid back atmosphere; a small, hard core but loyal fan base that is more knowledgable than most. Not a lot of frills. Just baseball on the cheap. And the moneyball crap that makes you think the crowd might be a bunch of pretentious douche bags? Not so much in Oakland, more so across the bay at…
AT&T Park in SF-yes the crowds are largely the aforementioned pretentious douche bags. But the setting, the stadium, the sight lines, everything about this park makes me happy to be a baseball fan. Even before the two recent Championship teams, the fans were knowledgeable and passionate and friendly. Given that it’s the Bay area, the fans and the amenities offered are “smart.” Thought and planning went into the details at AT&T Park and it’s obvious that they care about fan experience. `
What are your favorite parks? Anyone disagree with my take on Fenway?