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  #1  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 2:52 PM
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Is the era of new MLB ballparks coming to an end?

this is a spin-off from a thread about the twins new ballpark in the midwest subforum.


since 1992, when baltimore's revolutionary camden yards stadium kicked-off the whole retro-park craze and in one fell swoop made the characterless concrete multi-use donuts of the 60s and 70s obsolete, 18 other teams have followed suit building themselves new single-purpose ballparks. that leaves only 11 pre-camden yards ballparks left in MLB. of those 11, two will be replaced in the near future, target field replacing the metrodome as the home of the twins next summer, and marlins park replacing landshark (pro-player) stadium as the home of the marlins in 2012.

so if we assume that all of the post-camden yards ballparks are gonna be around for decades to come (i haven't heard of any post-camden team whining for a new stadium yet), it doesn't seem like there are too many more candidates for new ballparks on the horizon. below is my analysis of the remaining 11 pre-camden MLB stadiums:


black = stadiums most likely safe for the time being
green = replacement stadiums already underway
red = stadiums BADLY in need of a replacement

  • 1912 - fenway - given its age, pieces of it may have to be rebuilt periodically, but fenway as a whole ain't going nowhere. a true cathedral of the religion of baseball.

  • 1914 - wrigley - given its age, pieces of it may have to be rebuilt periodically, but wrigley as a whole ain't going nowhere. a true cathedral of the religion of baseball.

  • 1962 - dodger stadium - perhaps the best of the post-war era stadiums, aw hell, it is the best, now the 3rd oldest in the big leagues and a bonafide classic. with the millions they've spent on recent renovations, dodger stadium ain't going nowhere.

  • 1966 - angel stadium - another one of the better post-war parks, and with major renovations in the 90s, they transformed it into a really nice stadium. it probably ain't going anywhere for a while.

  • 1966 - oakland coliseum - now here's a team that needs a new home. this stadium, one of the last multi-uses left, has been so monkeyed around with over the years that it cannot be called a classic ballpark. the sooner the A's find new digs, the better.

  • 1973 - kauffman stadium - another classic of its era, and with millions in recent renovations, kauffman will hopefully be around for generations of royals fans.

  • 1982 - metrodome - awful, awful, awful. indoor baseball is a crime against all that is good and true in the universe. thankfully it is in it's last season of baseball misery. target field opens next summer so we can already put the metrodome out to pasture.

  • 1987 - landshark (aka pro-player) - the marlins have worked out a deal for a new retractable roof stadium to be built with a planned opening in 2012. it can't come soon enough as this football stadium was never well suited to the game of baseball. no baseball fan will ever miss pro-player.

  • 1989 - rogers center - it's multi-use, and that alone makes it less than ideal, but as the first retractable dome stadium, and the cost of its construction, i don't see the jays getting a new home anytime soon.

  • 1990 - tropicanna field - everyone agrees, this is the worst stadium in MLB. its replacement cannot come soon enough.

  • 1991 - US cellular field - the white sox have spent millions turning this former sterile ugly dump into an acceptable place to watch a ballgame. it was built just prior to the camden yards revolution, but they have done their best to "retrofy" this place so that it now feels like it's of the retro-park era. even though it missed the camden revolution by one year, it was saved by the fact that is was built as a single-purpose baseball stadium. i wouldn't exactly use the word "classic", but there's no reason that the white sox won't be playing baseball at the cell for decades to come.


so if we eliminate the true classics and others that are unlikely to see new stadiums in the next decade, along with the twins and marlins who are already building new homes for themselves, then it looks like only the A's and the rays might be in the market for a new home in the future, unless some kooky owner of a post-camden yards team actually thinks it's prudent to replace a stadium that's less than 20 years old (and that's gonna be a really hard sell politically just about anywhere).

so the past 2 decades of crazy new ballpark construction (a pace of about 1 new stadium per year) seems be winding down to me. anyone agree/disagree? will some massive new trend come along in the next decade that revolutionizes the sport yet again and forces all of the retro-park clubs to rebuild once again?

Last edited by Steely Dan; Nov 11, 2013 at 7:47 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 3:02 PM
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I think you've done a good assesment. All thats left out there is Oakland, Tampa Bay and any furture expansion cities which is still several years off.

I'm not sure where the next trend could take baseball stadiums. I don't think that there is any possibility for going back to multi-use stadiums, but maybe teams will start tech upgrades for there stadiums. Something along the lines of what the A's had proposed in Cisco Field (i.e. interactive fan monitors on selected seats, robots that will get your beer and nachos for you, etc.)
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  #3  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 3:19 PM
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Originally Posted by pdxhome View Post
All thats left out there is Oakland, Tampa Bay and any furture expansion cities which is still several years off.
oh yeah, expansion teams, kinda forgot about that option for possible new stadium construction, but i haven't heard anything about the likelihood of expansion recently. is anything going on on that front? are there any contender cities out there vying for an expansion team?
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  #4  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 3:30 PM
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It definitely appears to be nearing the end. The same could be said with NFL stadiums as well. There are not many teams that will still be in the market for a new stadium. The only way that one of these buildings gets replaced in the next 20 years is if an owner is looking for the next "bigger and better" thing. There are some true gems, though, that should last for a long, long time.
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Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 4:07 PM
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The new Twins stadium, from a design standpoint, looks incredible. The last five or six "retro ballparks" have all received mostly mediocre reviews from stadium geeks (general complaint being "There's nothing to really distinguish this from Camden Yards or The Ballpark in Arlington")

So long as nobody builds another Riverfront, Three Rivers, Atlanta/Fulton County or Busch II, we'll be alright.
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Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 4:30 PM
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the a's will likely be building a new stadium as the lease at the coliseum will expire sometime in the next few years. theres been talk of either moving to fremont, or san jose.

on a seperate note, anyone know where (which stadium) the nationals play? does anybody even care about them?
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  #7  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 4:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by northbay420 View Post
the a's will likely be building a new stadium as the lease at the coliseum will expire sometime in the next few years. theres been talk of either moving to fremont, or san jose.
i thought the cisco field plan in fremont was now officially dead. wikipedia seems to say that it is :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cisco_Field

also from wikipedia, it's said that along with san jose, the A's are also contemplating potential moves to sacramento or portland as well.




Quote:
Originally Posted by northbay420 View Post
on a seperate note, anyone know where (which stadium) the nationals play? does anybody even care about them?
the nationals play in nationals stadium. it just opened last year, replacing RFK stadium where the nationals had played since moving to DC. and as someone interested in ballparks in general, yes, i do care where the nationals play. yes, the team that plays there right now is terrible, but that can always change.

Last edited by Steely Dan; Jun 17, 2009 at 5:45 PM.
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  #8  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 4:42 PM
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Of that list, you'll note that most of the old stadiums that are still around (Wrigley, Fenway, Kaufmann, Dodger, etc) are baseball only. Now that virtually the entire league is in baseball-only stadiums, I can't imagine we'll see much new construction at all.

Might see some substantial renovations to existing stadiums, but MLB teams don't have much leverage to get new stadiums anymore - now that they're all in their own, revenue controlled stadiums.
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Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 4:57 PM
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^ yep, there's only 4 mutli-use stadiums left in MLB (soon to be just 2):
  • oakland coliseum - A's/raiders: the A's desperately need a new home.

  • metrodome - twins/vikings: the twins move to target field next summer.

  • landshark stadium - marlins/dolphins: the marlins move to marlins stadium in 2012.

  • rogers centre - blue jays/argonauts(CFL): from what i know, i think the blue jays are relatively happy there. does anyone from toronto know if the team has been whining about getting a single-purpose baseball stadium for themselves?
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Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 5:01 PM
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For anyone interested in stadia, this is my personal favorite site: The Ultimate Sports Roadtrip

Two guys from Western New York who travel the continent to visit every stadium and arena in the pro leagues (NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL) as well as the minors and college.
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Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 5:38 PM
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Yes, the two Fremont plans have fallen-through. The A's aren't seriously exploring any locations other than San Jose at the moment. Oakland is trying to put a proposal together and the A's have said they would consider it, but it appears that SJ is their primary focus at the moment. Of course, that would mean the Giants' territorial rights would have to be adjusted.

The best source for A's new stadium news is the new A's Ballpark blog. He also covers other teams/stadium issues when they have some relationship or possible insight to the A's situation.
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Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 5:58 PM
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You should add that the Rogers Centre (SkyDome) also predated Camden Yards, and is considered to be the real start of the building boom, with Camden Yards beginning the retro trend.
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Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 6:07 PM
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Here's a question: are cookie-cutter stadiums historic?

Cookie-cutter stadiums were the norm in the 1960s and 1970s, and now they are all pretty much gone. Would it have been worth it to preserve one, as part of baseball history? I don't know how Busch Stadium was, but I heard that it was made pretty nice through renovations over the years, and it looked alright on TV. Should it have been saved? Could the cookie-cutter look ever come back, and a place like Angel Stadium of Anaheim become fully enclosed again?
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Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 6:20 PM
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There's no point in having 70,000+ seats in a stadium like Angel Stadium since its been reconfigured back to single-team use. Hell, it wasn't even that great a football stadium (given its original shape). As far as I understand it, and I'm certainly no expert, it looks better to the management when the stadium is at least partially full most of the time, given the long baseball season. There's only a handful of stadiums that will almost always be sold out regardless of the product on the field.

From what I've heard, having never attended, a lot of fans liked the old Busch (Busch II) and the Cards did an excellent job over the years maintaining it. Places like the Vet (Philly) and Riverfront (Cincinnati) were absolute dumps, especially for baseball, with relatively few renovations by the end of their tenures to make them more baseball-friendly (and Riverfront only underwent improvements to make way for Great American Ballpark).
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Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 6:27 PM
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It seems also that much of the political will to get these stadiums done has dissipated. Miami's new field just made it in with some back room dealing. It's still an unpopular prospect, even among some baseball fans.

I think they're realizing that new stadia and arenas just aren't the panacea that they're advertised to be.
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Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 6:42 PM
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It seems also that much of the political will to get these stadiums done has dissipated. Miami's new field just made it in with some back room dealing. It's still an unpopular prospect, even among some baseball fans.

I think they're realizing that new stadia and arenas just aren't the panacea that they're advertised to be.
And I think enough sports fans have simply gotten fed up with owners trying to hold a city hostage to get a new stadium. There's not as much fear of another situation like the Irsays moving the Colts to Indianapolis or Modell moving the Browns to Baltimore like there was ten years ago (save for a few hiccups like the Bensons wanting to move the Saints to San Antonio or the Okies stealing the Sonics from Seattle). General consensus nowadays, at least from the taxpayers' perspective, is that if the management wants a new stadium, they can spend the money to get it built.

And frankly, it'd be political suicide for any owner to demand the fanbase to pay for a new stadium via taxes in this economic climate. Who in the MLB really needs a new stadium right now, other than the A's and Rays?
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Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 6:59 PM
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Originally Posted by xzmattzx View Post
Cookie-cutter stadiums were the norm in the 1960s and 1970s, and now they are all pretty much gone. Would it have been worth it to preserve one, as part of baseball history? I don't know how Busch Stadium was, but I heard that it was made pretty nice through renovations over the years, and it looked alright on TV. Should it have been saved?
if i had a magic wand, i would have saved busch stadium. it was generally agreed that busch was he best of the concrete donuts, and it had the most personality and individual character. the new busch is a nice stadium as well, but it would have been nice if the best example of the donuts had been saved for posterity.
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Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 7:16 PM
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You should add that the Rogers Centre (SkyDome) also predated Camden Yards, and is considered to be the real start of the building boom, with Camden Yards beginning the retro trend.
well, i did mention the rogers centre in my list of 11 pre-camden stadiums left in MLB. as for whether it kicked off the stadium building boom, that's an argument that can certainly be made, but camden yards was the watershed moment, that was when everyone else in the league looked up and said "hey, we want one of those too".
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Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 8:36 PM
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well, i did mention the rogers centre in my list of 11 pre-camden stadiums left in MLB. as for whether it kicked off the stadium building boom, that's an argument that can certainly be made, but camden yards was the watershed moment, that was when everyone else in the league looked up and said "hey, we want one of those too".
There's some speculation that Dunn Tire Park in Buffalo served as the original inspiration for the retro throwbacks, since HOK designed Camden Yards, and had also designed Dunn Tire a few years previous.

And if it hasn't been said already, the retro stadia aren't a bad thing, per se. We could've ended up with 20+ variations of the Skydome or US Cellular in its original form (before the renovations/improvements) but its clearly a case of there being too much of a good thing. Reminds me of the quote "You're unique, just like everyone else."
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Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 9:45 PM
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And if it hasn't been said already, the retro stadia aren't a bad thing, per se. We could've ended up with 20+ variations of the Skydome or US Cellular in its original form (before the renovations/improvements) but its clearly a case of there being too much of a good thing. Reminds me of the quote "You're unique, just like everyone else."
i completely agree, we can quibble about po-mo brick detailing on the exterior of this stadium or that one, or perhaps what some have derided as the distraction-ridden "mall-parks" that take focus away from the game itself, but i still think the development of baseball-only stadiums over the past 2 decades has been great for the game of baseball at the professional level.

there era of the one-size-fits-all, concrete, soulless, multi-use, donut is long since dead, and it's a wonderful thing regardless of what architectural vocabulary the designers choose to wrap these new baseball-only facilities with.
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