By Phil Hecken
Usually, it’s UW stalwart Chance Michaels who is all things Brewers-related (whether it be the minor league, or major league variety) — actually pretty much anything Milwaukee-related is in his wheelhouse. But today’s main article comes not from Chance but from Leo Strawn, Jr., who is probably better known to readers as a rugby and Australian Rules Football guy.
Leo has penned a neat little piece on a bit of baseball history which some of us are very familiar with, while for others this is brand new ground. It describes that intersection of history when the Seattle Pilots entered the American League as an expansion team in 1969, not quite making it in that fair city, before being rechristened the “Brewers” and moving to Milwaukee in 1970.
It could only happen in 1969.
A 1969 Program Cover Oddity
By Leo Strawn, Jr.
I just saw this program cover and noticed it has the Milwaukee Brewers beer barrel man, but in red and blue. Oddly, it also has the Seattle Pilots logo amongst the rest of the AL club logos.
The American League grew to 12 teams with Seattle and Kansas City in 1969. The Pilots were purchased by Bud Selig after one year in Seattle and promptly moved to Milwaukee for the 1970 season. The minor league Brewers played their final season in Milwaukee in 1952 and had moved on to Toledo when the Braves, who later vacated the city for Atlanta in 1966, moved in from Boston in 1953.
Thus, those two teams, Brewers and Pilots, never existed at the same time.
In 1968, the season prior to the second expansion (Seattle/K.C.), Selig had an agreement with the Chicago White Sox to play a handful of home games in Milwaukee’s now-vacant stadium, one v. each team, for a total of 9 games, from which nearly 1/3 of the Sox attendance totals for that season came. The Pale Hose understandably were happy to agree to a similar arrangement the following year.
Apparently this was a program cover for one of the 11 games the Chicago White Sox played in Milwaukee during the ’69 season, which impressively accounted for over 1/3 of the Chisox total attendance that year. Selig is reported to have had an agreement to purchase a majority share of the White Sox with the intention of moving the team to Milwaukee full time, but the AL was reluctant to surrender Chicago to the National League and the owners wouldn’t agree to the sale.
The name he was using to lure a team at that time was a minor league tradition for the locals: Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club. The color scheme he used was the traditional red and blue on a barrel man logo that had been used, at least since the 1940s …
… by the American Association team.
So even though there wasn’t a “team” in Milwaukee, Selig was working hard in 1968 and ’69 to lure someone, if not the Sox, to Wisconsin, and whatever team that turned out to be was destined to be called the “Milwaukee Brewers”.
Expansion in ’69 offered Selig a chance at luring the Pilots or Royals to his home also, and when the league wouldn’t allow the Chisox sale to him, he pushed through a quick purchase of Seattle from bankruptcy and moved them to Milwaukee in a rush (about a week before opening day), including (as I’m certain I’ve seen on Uni Watch) even recycling the Pilots uniforms to reflect the new name, thus changing the barrel man from red and blue to yellow and blue, which had been the Pilots’ color scheme.
Seattle, of course sued and, 7 years later, were granted another expansion club, the Mariners, which also used the same color scheme.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Thanks, Leo — great little bit of uni/team history there (and yes, some of you probably knew all of this — but it’s interesting to see that 1969 program juxtaposing the Brewers and the Pilots.) Only in 1969.
Meanwhile: Paul has a new ESPN column today, and it should be a crowd-pleaser — you’ll get to vote on whether you prefer the white uni or the colored uni for all 30 NHL teams. Check it out here.
NHL to Seattle?
This is an interesting development. Got an e-mail last night from today’s lede article author Leo, and it goes like this:
Someone on Facebook posted this shield and the following:
Is the #NHL coming to Seattle? Expansion to 32 teams is believed to be all but fact for the 2015-16 team, along with a complete overhaul of the affiliate #AHL & #ECHL teams, and Seattle is serious about re-joining the league! Would-be Seattle #Sonics owner Chris Hansen has signed a “non-binding” agreement with prospective NHL owner Victor Coleman from Vancouver, B.C., regarding the proposed arena in Seattle’s Sodo neighbourhood. Coleman, who has had extensive meetings with Commissionaire Gary Bettman since May, heads one of the groups bidding for a potential NHL team. Coleman says “I think the demographic base in Seattle and the desire of the NHL in that marketplace is the perfect match right now. The expansion of the NHL into the Pacific Northwest, with Vancouver and the presiding area, makes it a perfect fit. There are built in synergies. That’s a ”˜Day 1’ rivalry.”
Seattle and Cincinnati or Cleveland would be nice. Should be easy enough: Move Detroit back to the west and expand to Seattle (for 16 teams), then expand to Ohio (for 16 in east). Natural rivalries in Pacific Northwest and the natural Ohio/Pittsburgh rivalries.
Thanks (again) Leo. Good stuff — it’s interesting that there is a lot of discussion these days about a “return” (hey, they had the Metropolitans all those years ago — how great would a sweater like this be?) of NHL hockey to Seattle. Even more interesting if they get a hockey team before they replace the Sonics.
Patch update: In case you missed it earlier this week, the Uni Watch 15th-anniversary patches are now in stock and available for ordering. As you can see above, they look great. Full details on how to order can be found here.
Question of the Week
Every Thursday Intern Mike Chamernik poses a uniform-related question to the readership. Here’s today’s:
In a different life I would be an architect, and I would certainly be designing Major League ballparks. I’ve always been drawn to baseball stadiums, as opposed to football, basketball and hockey venues, because MLB parks differ so much due to field configurations and dimensions, and by how parks constructed in different generations are still in use today.
What’s your favorite Major League ballpark in terms of aesthetic value and/or functionality on the field? Does not have to be one that you’ve been to. Also, what’s your favorite ballpark quirk, and what’s your least favorite park?
To me, AT&T Park in San Francisco is awesome. The bricks for the right field wall is great, as is the giant ball and Coke bottle in left. The possibility of hitting the ball into the ocean is a really cool feature, too. In terms of unique aspects from other parks, I’ve always loved the Royals’ fountains, the Mets’ home run apple and Bernie Brewer’s slide. As for a least favorite, I have to say Rogers Centre in Toronto. Maybe it’s nice in person, but it looks so dull on TV.
[Today’s Ticker was written and edited, almost entirely, by Mike Chamernik]
Baseball News: The 2015 All-Star Game patch is now for sale, complete with embroidered mustache and pillbox cap (from Phil). … The Giants had a great letterhead in 1938 (from Chris Flinn). … Jamie Burditt was watching Full House and saw Uncle Joey wearing a Tigers throwback jersey. Did Detroit indeed wear that at some point in time?
NFL/CFL News: Giants DB Antrel Rolle wore a TV-number-less game jersey during Tuesday’s practice, and it seems like he was representing his alma mater, The U, with orange cleats and visor (from Scott Morell). … Yesterday we saw a Steelers-themed US Airways plane, but Jeffrey Snedden says the airline company has ones for the Eagles, Panthers and Cardinals, too. “They were representative of the ‘hub’ cities for the old (pre-American Airlines merger) US Airways — Pittsburgh, Philly, Charlotte, and Phoenix,” he says. “I worked for US Airways when they painted these liveries, it was a nice touch for the employees in the hub cities.” … There’s a new mascot of the CFL Hall of Fame. His name is “Fumbles” (via Tanner Dabbs).
College Football News: Boise State will wear an orange helmet against Ole Miss later this month (from Phil). … Western Carolina switched from Russell to Adidas (from Kevin Kilby). … Also, UAB showed off some new helmets (from Coleman Mullins). … Here’s a couple more looks at Utah’s Diamond Ranch Academy, featured in yesterday’s Ticker (from Eric Wright). … Here’s a look at the C-USA patches being applied to the Marshall Thundering Herd jerseys (Coleman Mullins, again). … And here are a few more looks at the new Kansas Jayhawks new red chrome uni (h/t Tanner King). … The Liberty Flames, a college football program that competes in NCAA Division I-FCS, in the Big South Conference, got new uniforms (h/t Andrew Tranum and Tyler Nohe).
Soccer News: All the games in next year’s Women’s World Cup will be played on artificial turf, and that may put the players at a disadvantage (from Paul).
NBA & College hoops News: We’ve seen this before, but it’s stillcool: An Etsy for sports fans. I include it in the NBA section because it seems that the site’s wheelhouse is selling old Champion-brand NBA replica jerseys (thanks, Brian Mazmanian). … People are buying Andrew Wiggins Cavs jerseys in hopes that they will become collectors items someday. … The Bucks changed the wordmark on their jerseys last week. However, we haven’t seen what their new home jersey will look like yet. The team Instagrammed two pics of Jabari Parker today, one wearing the new road jersey and one wearing the old home. … New unis for Arizona.
Grab Bag: Five of the nine teams in next week’s National Rugby Championship in Australia will wear orange or yellow jerseys (from Phil). … Steve Skurski created Buffalo Bills- and Syracuse-themed cornhole tables. … The Army has updated several policies, including its PT uniforms, camouflage pattern and tattoo restrictions (from Tommy Turner). … Here are the jumpers for the teams in the Australian Rules International Cup (from Leo Strawn, Jr.). … Adidas is selling pre-mudded running shoes.
Hey UWers — Help a fellow reader out?
Blake Pass asks us for a favor, so here it is:
I put this in the comments section a couple of days ago, but I know that not everyone who reads Uni-Watch reads the comments. So…I was wondering if you might be able to help me out. My paint scheme on www.qlracing.com is one of three finalists up for vote. It is the one entitled GHOST FLAME. You have to enter your info in all the blanks the first time you vote, but every day after that you only have to enter you email.
If my scheme wins, I win a trip to Dover, Delaware to see Ryan Newman drive a car with my design on it.
Thanks for your help, and thanks to the Uni-Watch readers who have already helped me out,
So how about it readers — let’s throw Blake a little love, shall we?
OK, that’s it for this Thursday — don’t forget to check back, as Paul’s ESPN column (and it sounds like a great one) should be running shortly. Hope everyone had a great day yesterday and a better one today. Thanks to Leo, Paul and Mike for their help with today’s post as well.
Tomorrow, I’ll be back with another “Fridays With Morris” segment — which is always a treat, so be sure to check back in then too. OK? OK!
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“EST? Dammit, Phil. Can’t you do anything right today?”
–James T. Huening
(To which the answer was an unequivocal “No.”)
1968 Milwaukee program cover was the same, so not only in 1969.
Presumably without the two 1969 expansion team logos.
Ball Four fans will remember that when the Pilots played in Milwaukee, Jim Bouton missed the team bus and ended up taking a cab from Chicago.
Let me amend that accordingly: 1968 program cover was roughly the same.
The only 1968 programs I’ve ever seen had a different design, link instead of surrounding him with logos.
Great work, Leo! Love that cover.
I can imagine the conversations between Pilots old and new when the call came that they were moving to Milwaukee, anyone on the roster in 69 having already played a game there…
The Bouton story is better than that, Burgh. It actually happened late in the season after the trade to the Astros. His family was staying with relatives in Ohio, and the Astros had a off day between Cincinnati and Los Angeles, so Bouton stayed behind, spent a day with his family, and flew to LA on his own. When he got to LA, by habit (he had been in the AL for 6 years), he took a airport shuttle to Anaheim…and THEN remembering the Astros played at Dodger Stadium. He had to take a very expensive cab ride to Dodger Stadium to make it to the game in time.
He actually says very little about the one Pilot visit to their future home at County Stadium.
I don’t have access to the book now, but I have a strong recollection of Bouton strolling out of the hotel, not seeing the bus, realizing the game was in Milwaukee, and taking the expensive cab ride. The LA/Anaheim story made less of an impression on me.
Burgh – the Pilots made their visit to Milwaukee in June…the Anaheim/Dodger Stadium incident was very late September…
I have read Ball Four once a year every year since it came out….at least!
I’ve downloaded the book from the library. link is interesting. Weren’t the Pilots done with that look by the end of spring training?
You’re right, Lou. It’s the next night where Bouton leaves the hotel, doesn’t see the bus, first thinks they were playing in Milwaukee again, and then realizes it’s a twi-night doubleheader at Comiskey. The cab ride was LA.
Rogers Centre is a dump in person too. It’s a big concrete monstrosity. The concourses are dark with now view of the field. It’s one of only 2 stadiums with artificial turf (however the Blue Jays are kicking out the Argos to put in natural grass).
The only things it has going for it is the fact that you can rent a hotel room and watch the game, the retractable roof for bad weather and the CN Tower.
It had the bad luck of opening just before Jacobs Field & Camden Yards. If it had been built 5 years later, it wouldn’t have aged so poorly.
The concourses at SkyDome are actually MORE in view of the field than the concourses at Camden Yards, so I’m not really sure why that is being used in the comparison between the parks.
The one concourse has a view behind home plate. However, go up to the upperdeck and you feel like your in a dungeon.
If I compare that to Citi Field, even the upper deck concourses are open.
There’s no view of the field from the upper deck concourse in Pittsburgh, and from what I’ve seen of the current generation of ballparks, that’s typical. (I’m happy to take your word on New York.)
When the Jays were on national TV a lot in the early ’90s, announcers would go on about how great SkyDome was. When I got there in 1998, I was disappointed to find it was just a concrete ashtray with a retractable roof and a hotel where the bad seats would otherwise have been.
Yes, most of the new generation of ballparks, like CitiField, Citizens Bank Park, Yankee Stadium, etc. do have open concourses on the upper level. But I’m not sure that makes or breaks a park. PNC is a better ballpark than CitiField, yet its upper deck doesn’t feature a concourse opening onto the field.
I finally went to SkyDome 3 years ago. Yes, it is definitely dated. But when it opened, it seemed to be a marvel. If you think it’s a dump now, consider how bad all the cookie-cutter multi-purpose stadiums were in comparison next to a new SkyDome.
Totally agree with you, Matt. It’s amazing to consider that Camden Yards opened only 3 years later. In the 80s, domes and AstroTurf were still en vogue. SkyDome came at the tail end of this. It took Camden Yards to change everyone’s views and start building baseball-specific stadiums with natural grass.
Except US Cellular Field, a baseball-only stadium with natural grass, opened a year before Camden Yards to wide approval. What Camden did was inaugurate the build-it-downtown era, with architecture integrated to the surrounding area and/or throwback charm.
And it took then Pilot Field in Buffalo to do it before Camden Yards did link
I think the thing that sticks with me most about SkyDome is the way the roof retracts and closes. That’s a big concrete disc spinning above your head (I think), and not panels sliding closed.
As for least aesthetically appealing, I still think that’s Tropicana Field in St. Pete.
Spinning disc? It’s panels that slide toward the outfield
Ah. Trying to remember from …13, 14 years ago?
I just remember that it appeared heavy.
There’s a shell-like structure (think of a sort-of hollowed-out coconut shell) that covers the area behind home plate and out toward the field. When the roof is open, this piece is stored under the other two rectangular pieces. When the roof closes, the first piece rotates along the outer rim of the stadium into place. Then two rectangular slabs slide toward the home plate end to close the roof.
The UAB helmets are hideous.
The Brewers should junk their current unis and adopt their 1969 uniforms.
If the NHL expands to 32 teams we can certainly assume that one of the new ones will be in Seattle. The other will most likely not be in Ohio due to the Blue Jackets’ presence.
The 32nd team should be located in Canada, and Quebec City would be first in line. The Leafs will probably not cede territory to Hamilton even though they have a newer NHL-ready arena. Even Saskatchewan remains an outside possibility.
In the US, Kansas City would be a top possibility due to the newer basketball arena. Houston gets brought up from time to time, but I think that could be a disaster. One Gulf hockey team is plenty. Though they are longshots, I would even put Milwaukee and Hartford ahead of additional Ohio franchises.
In my opinion, the two best options are Seattle and Quebec. I’ve long thought that a cool name for Seattle would be the Grays. It could be a reference to the winter sky in Puget Sound or to the local gray whale–as long it’s not a knockoff of the Whalers.
I agree – Cleveland has had a hard time keeping an IHL/AHL team
Yep, I follow this stuff relatively closely. I’ve heard no one speculate a second Ohio team until Leo’s letter. The other city could be Las Vegas. The NHL likes to be first in a city.
The NHL has been “first in a city” on only a couple of occasions, depending on how you define that.
There were no other major league teams in San Jose (1991) or Greensboro (1997). Technically there was no other team in St. Paul when the Wild came in in 2000, but as part of the larger Twin Cities market, obviously there were other teams there.
Expansions and relocations since 1980 included:
1980 Calgary (CFL team there)
1982 New Jersey (NBA team there, besides other NY teams)
1991 SAN JOSE
1992 Ottawa (CFL team)
1992 Tampa (NFL team)
1993 Anaheim (NFL and MLB teams)
1993 Dallas (NFL, MLB and NBA teams)
1993 Miami (NFL, MLB and NBA teams)
1995 Denver (NFL, MLB and NBA teams)
1996 Phoenix (NFL and NBA teams)
1998 Nashville (NFL team)
1999 Atlanta (NFL, MLB and NBA teams)
2000 Columbus (MLS team)
2000 St. Paul (NFL, MLB and NBA teams in Minneapolis)
2001 Winnipeg (CFL team)
So I’m not seeing why Las Vegas – with no place to play and no history at all of anything succeeding long-term – would be a viable NHL expansion city when the Sun Belt thing is kind of played out just because of two instances in 34 years where the NHL was the first to establish a team in a market.
Actually, the Tennessee Oilers were still in Memphis in 1998. Moved to Nashville and became the Titans in 1999.
expansion to ohio wasn’t speculation, just wishful thinking on my part…
I’m not saying I agree with Las Vegas as a choice, but what I hear, the NHL is intriguied by it. Whenever I see local tv ratings for nationally televised hockey games, Vegas does surprisingly well – relative to other US cities.
As to my NHL likes to be “first” comment – I’m thinking San Jose, Nashville, Columbus (I don’t count the MLS – number of games played is not that great) and Raleigh. It’s obvious its not going to apply to every franchise location, but it seems to have had some influence.
Those hayseeds in KC don’t need the NHL. Hartford & Quebec City do.
To be fair, the Lumberjacks lasted until the demise of the IHL, and the Lake Erie Monsters seem to be stable. However, I would agree that now is not the time for the NHL to return to Cleveland.
I would definitely say that Seattle and Quebec are the top two candidates, and KC remains a potential backup location.
Agreed. If the NHL expands by two, it’ll be Seattle and QuÃ©bec (which is building a brand new arena as part of a future Winter Olympic bid).
A second team in the Toronto area would have a far better chance of economic success than Quebec.
Yes, but the Maple Leafs (and to some extent, the Sabres) will never let that happen. Even if said team was in Hamilton.
I disagree thoroughly, Oak.
Quebecor’s Arena is slated to open in September 2015, and the naming rights have already been sold. It’s an 18,000-seat arena, so it will be NHL-suitable.
Like Seattle, the question of who will own the team exists, but the major hurdle in getting a state-of-the-art arena secured by the NHL is already in the bag. All they need now is someone to fund the team.
In regard to the issue that the Leafs and Sabres won’t allow it, and no doubt they’ll want some money, but at the end of the day have the NY Rangers been hurt by allowing the Islanders and Devils in. Same with the LA Kings, if anything having the Ducks nearby have helped, not hurt.
Quebec would likely be a short term success, but I worry about once the honey moon period is over. There isn’t the corporate base/population. I know this hits close to home Teebz, but I even wonder how the Jets will do after all those 5 yr commitments they received are over, especially if the Jets are wallowing around in mediocrity.
I don’t deny the mediocrity, Oak, but the Thrashers were sent to Winnipeg in worse condition than an expansion franchise. If Winnipeg does develop some of the talent they’re stockpiling, things could turn the corner.
Short-term success is tough to say because they would be an expansion team. However, if the reports of the Panthers possibly moving are true, the Panthers could relocate to Quebec City and become very viable. Considering they already play in the Atlantic Division, this is an elementary move.
Oddly, the first time I brought up the subject of an NHL team in Seattle, it met with lukewarm commentary. Something to do with lack of prospective season-ticket subscribers. IIRC, this took place right after the SuperSonics left town.
OK, NHL expansion has been mentioned as a possibility, more realistic than the NFL returning to LA (Yes, I had to go there.), possibly to fend off the fast-growing KHL. Seattle and Quebec City have to be the front-runners.
With that said, Cleveland and Cincinnati aren’t getting an NHL team–the Blue Jackets are barely staying afloat in Columbus (through no fault of the team) due to link, and there are other markets that could use a team first. Additionally, Cincinnati can’t support three teams and can barely support two: how good have the Bengals been the last three years yet they STILL only sell out when the Steelers and Browns come to town–and that’s because of Steelers fans and Browns fans taking over Paul Brown Stadium? Cincinnati, which is culturally more of a Southeast city than a Midwest city, would be better suited having the Reds and an NBA franchise, with the Bengals moving to Toronto.
Cleveland could support four teams, but Columbus is one of the few cities outside the Sun Belt that is growing, and the Blue Jackets appear to have a rivalry brewing with the Penguins (as a Pens fan, why did it take the NHL 13 years to put the two in the same division when Pittsburgh and Columbus are only three hours apart?), putting them on somewhat more stable financial ground. The NHL is better off staying put in Columbus and leaving the rest of Ohio alone.
I like your passion, Gerard, but there are a few things wrong here.
1) The KHL will never expand into North America or anywhere else outside of Europe. They have several teams flirting with financial disaster each season, and currently have at least two franchises in suspension. They aren’t going to leave their Eurasian borders any time soon.
2) The Blue Jackets have a growing following, and are actually doing a helluva job in selling hockey. Maybe you missed those playoff games last year? Or the games from the Olympic break on when they played to near-capacity crowds because of their success? While they did struggle financially in the west (travel is a killer, and they are an eastern time zone team for road games), they are spending money and being competitive in the last two years. Columbus is poised for another solid year both on the ice and in the books. Because of their lower-than-average payroll, they also get a nice chunk of revenue sharing to help balance the books.
3) The reason it took so long to put the Jackets and Penguins in the same division is the same reason it took so long for Washington to be moved back with the Pennsylvania teams and the New York teams: alignment. The west needed teams, and the Jackets were one of the more “western” eastern teams. Because the conferences needed to be balanced, they were tossed to the west.
Don’t forget that the Penguins played in the Northeast Division from 1993 to 1998 with the Sabres, Bruins, Habs, Senators, Whalers/Hurricanes, and the Nordiques before they moved. That made little sense as well considering Toronto was in the Central Division despite being much closer than Pittsburgh. :o)
The NHL isn’t so much worried about the KHL expanding here as much as trying to keep talent here. I don’t know if you noticed but the number of European players have started to drop the last few years in the NHL because of the KHL; those players can now play top-level hockey closer to home. (Recent political action might also be playing a part in it–heck, even eight years ago Evgeni Malkin had to basically defect Russia just to play for the Penguins.) Granted, on the surface it’s not as bad now because the growth of hockey in the U.S. is bringing in more American players, and there will always be a pipeline of players from Canada. But what if the KHL starts attracting players from North America?
As for the Blue Jackets, I didn’t say that they were hopelessly struggling. It takes time for an expansion team to build a fanbase, and the Blue Jackets link, again through no fault of their own. Until the recent realignment they were a franchise on the ropes. Having family in Columbus, I know that they have their fans, but going up against link in his home market is going to be a lot of work. (Anyone who lives in or near Ohio knows EXACTLY what I’m talking about.) It’s nice that their on-ice product is on the upswing, and the realignment is allowing them to still have regular matchups with the Red Wings while allowing more regular matchups with the Sabres and Penguins, and the latter is now a division rival. I know quite a few fellow Pens fans who were surprised that the Blue Jackets took them six games in the playoffs–a very competitive six games that could’ve gone either way–when they were expecting an easy four-game sweep.
The NHL has been patient with Columbus, and rightfully so. Just like they were [barely] patient with Pittsburgh for their first 17 years, and the only reason Pittsburgh is a hockey town today is because of Mario Lemieux.
1) Besides Ilya Kovalchuk, name one in-his-prime talent who has left for the KHL. There aren’t any players who would give up the bright lights of the NHL for the KHL unless one couldn’t find an NHL job in North America.
The KHL does attract NHL players – Torey Krug just got a massive offer to go play. Instead, he’s leveraging that against the Bruins to get a better pay day in North America. The guys who are tearing it up in the KHL would have a hard time cracking an NHL roster. At best, the KHL’s talent level is marginally better than the AHL.
You can’t play the “what if” scenario. Until it happens, it hasn’t and there’s no reason to believe it will start any time soon.
2) You contended that the Jackets were barely staying afloat, but then retorted with “yeah, they’re doing better”. So if they’re doing better, they aren’t really “barely staying afloat”. They’re a viable entertainment product that a vast number of Columbus residents want to spend their dollars on. While I agree that it takes some time to build up a following, the Jackets have a great following right now, and it works to their financial benefit. Their Twitter relationship with the Los Angeles Kings is pretty awesome too.
Bengals moving to Toronto???
Never happen. Yes, I said never happen.
The Bengals are here to stay.
OK, I just saw you referencing Houston and Milwaukee. Houston isn’t happening because as part of the Rockets lease agreement with the Toyota Center, the Rockets ownership would automatically get ownership of a Houston NHL franchise if that team plays at the Toyota Center. There really isn’t a suitable NHL-ready arena in the area aside from the Toyota Center, so an arena would have to be constructed unless the Rockets ownership would be willing to own an NHL team.
Milwaukee COULD support an NHL team, but I think the only way they could get an NHL team is if the Bucks end up moving (which I think is a realistic possibility). I think sports fans in Milwaukee are starting to realize that Milwaukee can only support one team, and support is clearly behind the Brewers. (I’m not counting the Packers in this, since they haven’t played in Milwaukee in 20 years.) I see the Bucks becoming the new Seattle SuperSonics and one of the two happening:
1. Bucks/Sonics move to the Western Conference and join the Northwest Division, Timberwolves move to Eastern Conference and join the Central Division.
2. Bucks/Sonics move to the Western Conference and join the Northwest Division, Thunder move to the Southwest Division, Grizzlies move to the Eastern Conference and join the Central Division.
It will be interesting to see what the NHL does, I just don’t see Milwaukee ever getting an NHL franchise. The Bucks were very successful in the 1970s and 1980s, but have dropped off the map after that. The Brewers may definitely be the last major pro sports team standing in the future in Milwaukee.
It would be nice to see Winnipeg finally do something significant on the NHL level, both the old and new Jets have been disappointing. Those fans saw consistent success in the WHA, but it hasn’t translated over.
Columbus did have a great season for them, but NHL history is full of teams who surprised in the playoffs and slipped back to mediocrity. Making the leap to a consistent Cup contender, then a franchise with multiple Cup wins and Hall of Fame players is extremely difficult.
From what I’ve heard, what has basically blocked Milwaukee from even being considered for an NHL team is the Blackhawks. I guess Bill Wirtz didn’t want another NHL team being as close by without encroaching on his profits. I’m not sure where his son Rocky stands on this, but seeing as he reversed a lot of “Dollar Bill’s” long-standing policies, I wouldn’t be surprised if he supported expansion to Milwaukee as well
Personally, I don’t think the Blackhawks would be the problem today. As you said, the Brewers will probably end up as Milwaukee’s only major sports team in a few years.
The 23 year-old Bradley Center is way outdated for the NHL, and there literally is no one in Milwaukee who would own the team. The hockey hotbed in Wisconsin is in Madison where the Badgers play. Hockey in Milwaukee is mostly an afterthought unless the Admirals are doing well.
One issue with NHL expanding to 32 teams and pushing a team west is that Detroit is an eastern time zone team. Pushing them into the West would be particularly thorny as moving them to the East was a big push on part of the team. I don’t see the Wings organization getting on board with moving back west even if it gives more weight to the Chicago/St. Louis rivalries of the past.
Granted it could happen but the Red Wings resented being the meal ticket for the West at the expense of travel budget and expenses while getting eaten alive via cap when they were one of the teams willing to pay. With less of a tradition in the NE I would say Columbus could be a better candidate to shift – granted it would hurt their development as a franchise.
If the NHL applied intelligence to their scheduling it could be a better fit but we’ll have to see how the bricks move into position and right now – that’s speculative and not much is certain.
I’d go with Seattle and Cleveland. Cleveland’s preceived inability to support a hockey team stems from the 1970s, when it built the Richfield Coliseum, which was about as far from Cleveland as The Palace of Auburn Hills is from Detroit. People just didn’t want to go all the way to Richfield to see a hockey game, and every hockey team that played there ultimately did not succeed for that reason. Flash forward to today, and the Gund Arena is downtown.
I hated the NHL for admitting Anaheim and Miami in 1993 based mainly on corporate backing (the Blockbuster Panthers and the Disney Mighty Ducks, I call them). I’d rather they were the Cleveland Crusaders and the Seattle Thunderbirds.
And where’s Blockbuster now?
Oh, cruel irony.
I vote Atlanta get one more shot at Hockey (the fans are here, but we won’t support an ownership that doesn’t support the team).
But there should be no expansion in the Eastern part of the US. Canada should be given another team for what should be obvious reasons. Ohio doesn’t need another team, and I don’t think the demand is high enough there to justify adding another team in that state when there are plenty of Canadian cities that would support a team.
Seattle is the only US city that I think makes more sense than a Canadian expansion (the lack of a team in the Pacific Northwest that doesn’t require a passport to see, and an untapped market that has an affinity for hockey), in the west I think the markets are already established/accounted for or they don’t make much sense (i.e. putting a 3rd expansion in ATL). I doubt fans in Cleveland and Cincinatti are refusing to watch the Blue Jackets because of some rivalry (if they had placed them in either one of those cities then I think they would have lost some people in the other market, but I still think those fans would have developed allegiances to surrounding teams).
It’s frustrating because if the NHL had been a little more proactive in expansion into Canada a few years ago then the pressure the Thrashers wouldn’t have been sold after a few months on the actual market (They didn’t have the ability to sell it because they were wrapped up in a legal battle with a former partner in the ownership group) to a hockey-desperate city (buyers wanting to keep the team in Atlanta had no shot at putting together a viable purchasing plan with such a short turnaround, The Globe and Mail could easily justify throwing down the money for the team).
Thanks Phil…and all of Uni-Watch!
I’m Blake Pass, by the way.
“The Milwaukee Brewers presents” awkward usage.
QOTW – the new parks in Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and Seattle all look very appealing to me, though I’ve been in none of them. New Comiskey (or whatever they’ve named it this week) looks unappealing.
QOTW: I would say AT&T and Safeco are my two favorite ballparks. Least would be U.S. Cellular Field, home of the White Sox. Terrible location, stadium is as bland as bland gets, the ballpark should have been oriented toward downtown Chicago as a backdrop to center field, and they pretty much now close the upper deck.
Worse than the Trop? Or O.Co Coliseum?
US Cellular is no more bland than new Yankee Stadium or Citi Field.
I agree. I know the Yankees wanted to keep with the tradition and for the most part, copy old yankee stadium, but it is fairly boring.
Citi Field tried to be unique but just comes off as an unfocused design (they already moved in fences). Such a shame. I dislike when these new ballparks have original or cool things (Modell’s or Tigers flagpoles) only to have new fences remove them.
Agreed. US Cellular’s not a bad park at all.
When they took out the little museum that was in there to sell more merchandise after the 2005 World Series, though, I thought that was a whore move. That was one of the coolest things about the park.
I couldn’t agree more that they should have oriented it toward downtown but just out of curiosity, what is it about the Cell’s location that makes it terrible? It’s the only stadium in town has all of the following attributes
A) located right near an expressway
B) less than a quarter-mile walk to either a CTA or Metra station
C) surrounded by parking lots
D) allows tailgating
They wanted to keep the 35th and Shields (Bill Veeck Drive in the area) address for home plate. Besides, even if they had oriented home plate towards downtown, it’s about 3.8 miles away. The only people who would have enjoyed the view would have been the tv viewers and maybe the people in the upper deck on the first base side.
I wouldn’t call Comiskey bland. Maybe when it opened and it was blue seats and concrete but certainly not now. They’ve bricked over the concourse, closed in the roof, and added lots of colorful features and food options.
One thing I do love about it is I’ve never been to stadium more conducive to walking around. The concourse runs all the way around with no breaks and opens wide in the outfield. Very conductive to hanging out.
I think of the Cell as “the anti-Comiskey.” When the plans were revealed and during the building, it was described as everything Comiskey wasn’t. It’s clean. It’s comfortable. The views from your seat are unobstructed (anyone who sat in the first three rows of the lower deck grandstand and had their views constantly obstructed by people walking the concourse between the grandstand and the box seats appreciated this). There’s plenty of parking, and a large variety of good food.
Similarly, Comerica is “the anti-Tiger Stadium.” Tiger Stadium was dank and dark, with the decks stacked on top of each other. Comerica is open, spread out.
Regarding the Detroit Tigers throwback question from the ticker, the Health patch gives it away – that was the Detroit road uniform from 1942-1946:
Uncle Joey is wearing the Mitchell & Ness 1944 Tigers road jersey. The company is not currently manufacturing that one, but it was part of the rotation in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This is the Tigers wearing it in Los Angeles: link
Which ties in nicely with tomorrow’s entry.
Phil is a genius.
I’ve been to Fenway (twice), Wrigley (though didn’t see a game because it got rained out), Comiskey, new Yankee, new Nats, and Turner since writing this note. Camden and PNC remain my favorites (ok so I’m a little biased), the Trop remains my least favorite. New Yankee is much improved on my gripes about old Yankee, but it still isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing because of it’s lack of view. Fenway is a ton of fun though with Yawkee Way, and the fans are actually really nice.
Going to Wrigley again next weekend for another round to see if I like it when a game is being played haha
Guy must be crazy to think they would just switch Detroit back like that. They are in the East for good now. No way they go back to the west. Too much traveling. I like Seattle having a team and maybe Wisconsin? Always found it weird they never had a team.
Indeed. Sports divisions don’t need to actually be geographically accurate to their names, just look at the NFL.
the ohio expansion comment was wishful thinking from a jackets fan…
my personal opinion is that seatlle and las vegas have the best shot (vegas has a 20,000 seat arena under construction), or houston…
IF it’s an eastern time zone expansion and seattle, then detroit is the logical team to move west…right now there are 16 eastern time zone teams…with 17 (if quebec, e.g., gets the franchise), then one of those goes west, likely detroit, the eastern team that is furthest west…if not detroit, then who would move west and why if hamilton or quebec score another franchise along with seattle…?
Yeah, Wings will never go back West. They are in the Eastern time zone. They were playing a third of their games at 11 PM back home, cut into fans ability to watch and ratings. They also put the Blue Jackets in Columbus for a reason. They knew you’d only be able to run one team in OH, so they put it in the middle between Cincy and Cleveland.
Columbus is also the largest city in Ohio in terms of population.
When did Cleveland and Cincy fall behind Columbus?
Not sure. I should add that if you’re talking metropolitan areas (city, suburbs, immediate exurbs) Columbus still trails Cleveland.
Some time ago, actually. Cleveland being a Rust Belt city has lost some residents (though not nearly as bad as Detroit–it’s more like Pittsburgh at this point and having somewhat leveled off), while Columbus has been growing due to link, as well as other major employers such as Nationwide Insurance and Huntington Bank. Oh yeah, and it’s also Ohio’s state capital. Government jobs do keep growing.
Cincinnati is more of a Southern city in culture and isn’t known for manufacturing like Northeast Ohio, but it has been smaller than Cleveland since around the Civil War.
Cincinnati is more of a Southern city in culture and isn’t known for manufacturing like Northeast Ohio, but it has been smaller than Cleveland since around the Civil War.
I’d say Cincinnati is more “southern” than the rest of Ohio, but it sure isn’t southern like Memphis, Birmingham, or Nashville. Cincinnati’s German/Catholic influence differentiates them.
Cincinnati has the 28th largest metro population in the United States followed by Cleveland at 29 and Columbus at 32. link
That being said, the NHL is not going to put an expansion team in either Cincinnati or Cleveland.
Not to bring up old demons, but the WHA’s Cincinnati Stingers almost became an NHL team during the WHA’s last days. They and the Aeros were poised to be added, but the NHL only chose the four most successful teams – Winnipeg, Edmonton, Quebec City, and Hartford – due to their success both on and off the ice. Cincy and Houston got payouts to go away and never be heard from again.
It would geek me for the Blue Jackets to have throwback games as the NHL Barons and WHA Stingers. I could reel off a thousand or so reasons why it shouldn’t happen, but I fancy myself a patron saint of extinct 1970s teams.
You’re not taking Akron-Canton into account for Cleveland. If you include them–and Akron-Canton is considered part of the Cleveland TV market–Cleveland would still be a bigger metropolitan area.
It’s not me that’s not taking Akron/Canton into account as part of the metro area of Cleveland, its the United States Office of Management and Budget. link
I’m sure they will consider your complaint.
I agee. Cincinnati will never get an expansion NHL team. The USBank Arena is not up to current NHL standards and nobody will step up and foot the bill for renovations. The outdated USBank Arena is the reason that Cincinnati lost out on its bid for the 2016 RNC convention.
As much as I would like to see Cincinnati get an expansion team and them called the Stingers, I don’t ever see that happening.
The best I am hoping for is an AHL team when they do the ECHL/AHL overhaul net season.
That being said, I pray to The Ghost of Ace Bailey that Hartford gets a team so their fans will stop braying about their Whalers leaving for North Carolina and STFU about it.
I love PNC park and Kaufman Stadium (is it still called that for the Royals). I have not been to neither but just love those ballparks. A third would be Dodger Stadium, not so much for the stadium itself but the views looking outward at those hills. For the few times I have seen a Dodgers game on TV, I love the one camera angle for right handed pitchers and behind him is greenery. I have not been to that one either. I guess Target Field is pretty cool, but other ballpark other than Tropicana Field would be an improvement (and probably Topicana itself) over the old Metrodome.
I am a fan of quirks in a ballpark. I like the Astros hill and flagpoles in center, I loved the original configuration of the Detroit Tigers ballpark before they moved in the fences and the flagpoles were in play.
I don’t care for the green monster (although a product of necessity, not desire, due to proximity to a street) and I absolutely cannot stand bullpens on the field of play. I really think MLB should mandate that any new stadium built be required to put bullpens off the field of play. And anything to do with that new Miami Marlins park.
Call me bonkers, but I will doodle ballparks. Mostly a top down view of the outfield fences and foul territory. I am seriously fascinated how foul ground has changed over baseball’s history.
I have never been there, but I always got the impression that old Yankee Stadium had a TON of foul ground behind home plate (others have had that too, but Yankee Stadium sticks out right now). New Yankee Stadium has practically cut that in half or more.
Here’s a visual comparison you may appreciate, then:
To my naked eye, looking at that chart Old and New Yankee Stadium appear to have just about the same total amount of foul territory, and if anything New YS has nominally more. The space is distributed more evenly too, and more foul balls are likely to come into play than were in the initial configuration (shortening game time, a big plus AFAIC). The view from the seats behind home plate are markedly improved as well, while the seats along the baselines are hardly affected at all. Overall, seems a big improvement – about the only drawback I can see is the possibility of a runner taking more than one extra base on a wild pitch or errant throw home is reduced substantially.
I don’t have any info to back that up, but it definitely seems as though the trend is to fill in as many seats as possible in the foul territory behind home plate. Those seats are among the most expensive in most ballparks, so most teams are taking advantage of the extra revenue. I know the Royals and Cubs have both added seats behind home plate in recent years – I’d be willing to bet that most other teams have as well.
There’s a difference between a quirk and a deliberate quirk. Take Minute Maid Park in Houston — the location and orientation of the park create a short left field, requiring a high left field wall (similar to the architects turning the park in San Francisco five degrees to block the prevailing winds, and creating the short right field). Those are fine, even charming. The hill in center field in Houston is deliberately plopped there. It’s artificial. Topography doesn’t “force” it into being (like the big outfield slope of Crosley Field; the architect chose to create an obstacle where none existed.
(End rant about a silly, meaningless thing)
Oh I hear you. Another deliberate quirk I actually dislike is the “jut-out” in right field in Target Field. It is just about the most “stupidest” thing in any ballpark built after 2000. I hate it.
I do like the hill in the Astros stadium, deliberate as it may be.
Yeah, the old time “quirks” were fun, but the new “Disney-fied” quirks like the hill in Houston are just ridiculous.
I totally agree with you on the bullpens. If you’re building a new stadium, why bother putting them in foul territory? It’s a hazard for everyone. The players sitting on the bench and warming up. And for the players in the game trying to field a ball. I can’t believe San Francisco bothered to keep that feature.
“I can’t believe San Francisco bothered to keep that feature.”
There was a link.
The bullpen location at AT&T Park was a deliberate design decision intended to maximize the ability of fans to see bullpen action which is not possible in many new parks. Bullpens were on the field at Candlestick and more importantly they are on the field at Wrigley Field – a classic and intimate urban ballpark that served as a model for AT&T Park in many ways.
PNC Park has enclosed bullpens, and you can see the action just fine in those.
Ok. I understand that is a justification of why they did it. However, in AT&T Park, I wouldn’t know where to put them without it affected a great number of seats. I wouldn’t want to eliminate any in left field. Right field is a no go due to space constraints.
But I don’t understand the justification. I have been to my fair share of ballgames over the years and I don’t recall wanting to be able to watch a guy warm up in a bullpen. Maybe it’s me.
Being that Wrigley is so old, perhaps it was the norm back then.
Question of the Day:
I recently went to a Nats game in DC with a buddy of mine and we got into a conversation about stadium aesthetics. He wants to put Nationals Park in the top 5, which is absolutely absurd seeing that it is a concrete disaster in my mind. Didn’t even get a view of the monuments anywhere from the seats. Terrible.
I have always loved Camden Yards and am probably a little biased, but Citizens Bank Park because of the view of the Philly skyline in the OF.
Pittsburgh’s beyond-the-outfield view is much better.
As a Nats fan, I wouldn’t put Nationals Park in the Top 5, either. However, don’t knock it because you can’t see the monuments. There aren’t any places in the city where you could a stadium and see any of them. The two final locations were S. Capitol Street and another north of the Capitol off of Massachusetts Ave.
S. Capitol would’ve/should’ve given a view of the Capitol dome. In the high seats, you can see it. But with the sub-street level field and new buildings being built, not many people can see it anymore.
My take on Nationals Park is that it’s just a solid new park. It doesn’t have history, a team with history, or any signature quirk. But virtually all of the seats have good views of the field (which is why most people go to the game to begin with) and it’s easy to get there and navigate through the stadium. Middle of the pack in my ratings.
Natinals park is as bland as they come for new standards.
There was no way you were ever going to have a ballpark in DC where you could see the monuments. None of the proposed locations were monument friendly. And frankly, aside from views of the Mall, DC doesn’t have a memorable skyline. And you can probably blame Nats Park’s blandness on the DC Council, who didn’t want a retro-style ballpark.
Looks like you can link from link at least.
Yeah, some. So there is that for getting the seats way up high
I saw a Nats game five years ago and got the same impression that I get at
Progressive FieldThe Jake:
Nice parks, but they’re the new version of a cookie cutter…same retro idea, just put things in different places. The only reason I rate PNC higher is because of the FANTASTIC view of the city.
Growing up, I loved Three Rivers, Memorial and Municipal Stadium. PNC softened the blow for me more than I thought it would.
Went to Tiger Stadium right before it closed and got to sit in the outfield upper deck. That was nice, even though you couldn’t see the outfielders at the base of the wall. Guess that’s one of my favorite quirks – when the seats hang over the field.
I’d like to see Kaufman Stadium someday, along with Camden Yards and yes, the Trop.
Least favorite? From a TV standpoint, I don’t like watching games from Miller Park.
When I went to Miller Park, I was surprised to hear people brag that they had a “Top 5” park. I couldn’t disagree more. Easy to pick 5 better ones off the top of my head. Because of how the retractable roof is shaped, I refer to Miller Park as a McDonald’s Happy Meal box.
Miller Park is vastly overrated. Even with the dome off it feels like you’re inside.
That cartoon of Benny Brewer ranging to his left to spear a grounder (from the old AA Brewers) is one the coolest things ever.
He’d make a great shoulder patch.
Just saying, Mr. Attanasio….
An Etsy site for sports fans seems the most natural thing in the world. I was thinking along those lines when I stitched my crumbling New Era caps from the 1970s back together. Sports have always brought forward my craftier side.
it’s billed as an etsy, but to me it seems more like an ebay in that it looks like people just resell stuff rather than produce unique pieces. If one were to make stuff, they’d have to jump through the licensing/copyright hoops, so I doubt that’ll really gain a lot of traction
So far, I think you’re right. But there are lots of sports-themed crafts on etsy, so perhaps they’ll be able to draw on those people.
My favorite thing all-time at a ballpark was the old Bernie Brewer giant beer barrel/slide at County Stadium.
The best current on-field quirk is probably the center field hill and flagpole in Houston. Second is the triangle at Fenway. My favorite field oddity will always be the right field upper deck overhanging the field at Tiger Stadium.
My least-favorite park that I’ve gone to was old Yankee Stadium. I know, it was a baseball cathedral or whatever. I just don’t get it. It just seemed like a dirty shithole to me when I was there in 2008.
When I was at a Brewers game, I could hardly see Bernie Brewer’s slide. (I was sitting in the seats behind the visitors’ dugout.) So I thought that feature was overrated.
I’m just not a fan of having something like a flag pole in play. Or the potential injury from a hill in center field. That’s just my opinion, though.
I can imagine that Yankee Stadium was old and dirty, which is probably why Steinbrenner build the new one.
You talking about the Miller Park slide or the County Stadium slide?
The modern version is a pale imitation of link.
Indeed. I miss the mug.
Bring back the mug!
Ah! Of course, I was referring to Miller Park. Unfortunately, I don’t think I was aware of the County Stadium slide.
The mug was so cool.
QotW: If I were to build a baseball stadium, it would look a lot like Citizens Bank Park in Philly. However, my favorite ballparks right now are PNC and Camden.
When I was 6, there was nationally televised game between two teams I barely knew existed (Boston vs. New York?/Baltimore?/Detroit?). Yet it is etched in my head forever because it was first time I saw The Green Monster, and it is still today my favorite stadium feature.
QOTD – Based on ballparks that I have been to, I would rate as follows:
1. PNC in Pittsburgh
2. Pac Bell in S.F.
3. Camden Yards
6. Kaufmann Stadium in K.C.
7. Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati
8. Jacobs Field in Cleveland
9. Comerica in Detroit
10. Busch Stadium in St. Louis
11. Yankee Stadium
12. Turner Field in the ATL
13. Citi Field in NYC
14. Oakland Coliseum
Again, this subjective list is only parks I’ve actually seen MLB games in/at. I’m going to the Tropicana Dome this weekend but from what I hear, the Trop will end up being number 15 on my list.
Maybe it’ll beat out Oakland’s O.co. I haven’t heard about sewage issues at The Trop. Not that that affected the fans. But still.
I’ve now been to 16 of the 30 current stadiums. I’m going to give some homer points to one and make my number one choice be…
Gotta love the retro feel. It’s the one that many have tried to duplicate. It’s downtown and easy to get to.
Yes, I’d love to give points to my Nationals Park, where I spend a lot of time. But I’ll just rank it as a middle of the pack park.
To me, the Oakland/Alameda County Coliseum is awesome.
As for a least favorite, I have to say AT&T Park in San Francisco and Turner Field in Atlanta.
O.co is really underappreciated. Mt. Davis is a disaster but for a circular, multipurpose park with lots of foul territory it actually feels somewhat quaint and intimate for an A’s game even during the playoffs when the top deck is open. Contrast that with seeing games at the Old Vet in Philly where you really could be anywhere and you felt like you were in Camden if you sat in the top deck.
My criticism of O.Co Coliseum is that it seems to be a terrible place to work (for the players and teams). The location seems to be perfectly fine — a handy BART station, right off 880…once the Warriors move to SF, perhaps the Athletics could build their new Cisco Field where Oracle Arena now sits. Then if the Raiders resolve to stay, raze the older part of the Coliseum and build a more rectangular-shaped stadium.
Bud Selig is right up there with David Stern and Clay Bennett in Seattle sports history as far as I’m concerned, which isn’t a great place to be.
And I know Quebec and Hamilton/Toronto are itching for NHL expansion, but that league sorely needs two western teams. No team from the Eastern time zone should be in the Western conference.
Lord knows there’s any number of reasons to despise Bud Selig, but purchasing the Pilots and moving them to Milwaukee hardly qualifies as one:
Hey, I understand your anger – Milwaukee went through the same thing when the carpetbaggers from Chicago bought the Braves from Lou Perini and immediately made it clear they wanted to be anywhere but Milwaukee.
But there was no way the Pilots were going to survive in Seattle until a new ballpark was built. Most of the seats that were added to make it close to major league size were in the outfield, support facilities for the teams were poor, and the ownership was underfunded.
Seattle certainly deserves a team, but it didn’t have the infrastructure at that point to make it work. With a larger home and better ownership, the Mariners could make it work.
And Seattle certainly deserves an NBA team. I hope one of these days, Milwaukee gets one too.
It’s been 31 years, but I really enjoyed watching a game at Dodger Stadium.
Wrigley is overrated — I love Wrigley Field as a theoretical construct, with the ivy and the futility and the Waveland Avenue, but in my reality is was a not so friendly clip joint.
Mock if you must, but there was not a bad seat in the Astrodome. It was a crazy, Space Age Bachelor Pad slice of insanity, but fun.
My favorite, most beloved and lamented ballpark is the ungainly, retrofitted for baseball Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. I’ve never enjoyed a ballpark more. Sightlines were awful, it was windy and frequently freezing, but man, I had a good time watching the Jays. Doug Ault. Jerry Garvin. Bob Bailor. Otto “The Swatto” Velez.
My least favorite, hands down, is Minute Maid Park. It’s a McMansion of a stadium, big and filled with unrelated, aesthetically dissonant design elements all thrown together: the hill from Crosley Field, the in-play flagpoles from Briggs Stadium, the short porch (and Citgo sign) from Fenway, even a modified version of Yankee Stadium’s arched facade. It’s a mess. It’s what Disney would design if they were building a stadium at EPCOT. I hate it.
The ballpark I wish I had seen is Offermann Stadium in Buffalo, home of the Bisons.
I agree across the board, Cort. Dodger Stadium is a thing of beauty. Wrigley is better in poetry and conversation than in person. The Astrodome was vastly underrated. And the Astros and their fans would be better off if they still played there instead of Minute Maid Park. (Although my own criticisms of Minute Maid Park sound like high praise compared to your scathing assessment!)
Exhibition Stadium was the strangest oddity of a baseball stadium I’ve ever seen. With a covered grandstand in the outfield and the seating around home plate and down the base lines left open to the elements, it was like a bizarro version of a typical American ballpark. But with enthusiastic crowds and a breeze blowing in from Lake Ontario, it was a great place to spend a summer night. I’ve never been to Rogers Centre, but I can’t imagine it provides anywhere close to earnest authenticity of its predecessor.
Toronto in the Seventies was the greatest place on Earth. I loved everything about the place. And you’re right: the crowds at the Ex were great. I’ve never had a better experience at a sporting event. Except for the time my brother snagged a BP home run, and a little Canadian kid bit him. He clamped down until my brother dropped the ball, then the wily Canuck scooped it up, and gave it to his mom, who deposited it in her handbag. Oh! Canada!
“Except for the time my brother snagged a BP home run, and a little Canadian kid bit him. He clamped down until my brother dropped the ball, then the wily Canuck scooped it up, and gave it to his mom, who deposited it in her handbag. Oh! Canada!”
…that sounds like a scene from a John Irving novel.
Belgium debuted some awful national kits.
It is not so much that they went simple. These are not meant to be Euro or World Cup kits. But why isn’t yellow the secondary color on both kits?
For favorite stadiums I’m going to with Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City. It seems to create a great aesthetic when a game is played there. Same is true of Fenway and Dodger Stadium. Something about the way the stands compliment the home team’s uniforms. I like ballparks which give add to the events on the field like a stage.
Which is why I loathe Houston. Its so needlessly quirky. The roof, the hill in center, the flagpole, the train. Its the ballpark equivalent of a T.G.I.Fridays. All prefabricated flair.
Miller Park can sometimes feel that way but gets a pass because of food, tailgating, and Bob Uecker.
QOTW: I’m going to have to divide my answers between those parks I’ve been to and those I’ve only seen on TV. It’s such a completely different experience to be in the stadium as opposed to seeing two-dimensional images of it from afar that I can’t do a fair comparison.
Case in point: I went to an Astros game at the Astrodome not long before it closed. I thought I would have hated it based on what I’d seen on TV, but I was pleasantly surprised. The stadium was clean and well-maintained, the sight lines were excellent, and it had a certain quirky Jetsons-esque retro-future charm that I wasn’t expecting. I’m not saying it was my favorite ballpark by any means, but seeing it in person certainly gave me an appreciation for the holistic experience of the stadium that TV simply couldn’t provide.
Favorite stadium I’ve been to in person: Coors Field, by a nose over Camden Yards. The stadium still looks as good today as when it opened 19 years ago. Sitting in the Rockpile, with a view of the sun setting over the Rocky Mountains looking one direction and the Denver skyline looking the other, is a sublime experience that never gets old. Too bad the the product on the field can barely compete for the attention that the surroundings command.
Favorite stadium on TV: PNC Park. I love that up-close view of the Pittsburgh skyline and the Roberto Clemente Bridge crossing the Alleghany River.
Least favorite stadium I’ve been to in person: The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. I went to many different sporting events at the Metrodome in its heyday. Interestingly enough, I thought it worked best as a venue for NCAA Basketball Tournament games. As a football stadium, it was unremarkable at best, and as a baseball stadium it was generic and soulless. I won’t miss it.
Least favorite stadium still in use that I’ve been to: Minute Maid Park. Yep, I actually liked the Astrodome better. It had more organic personality than its carefully prefabricated successor. Minute Maid Park is certainly not a bad experience. It just feels a little… forced. And I’m not a fan of the retractable dome. When they open the roof, all that hot, humid Houston air comes rushing in and gets trapped in the seating bowl. They should have incorporated retractable window panels, a la Miller Park or Lucas Oil Stadium, to provide better ventilation.
Least favorite stadium on TV: Tropicana Field. I reflexively duck whenever the camera follows a fly ball and I see that low domed ceiling, even when I’m sitting on the couch in my own living room.
Best stadium quirk: B&0 Warehouse behind right field at Camden Yards. I love that the architects incorporated the existing structure into the ballpark design. It looks great when seen in person at the stadium and on TV.
While I love Coors Field, it’s rare to get a good chance to watch the game there as I nearly always run into someone I haven’t seen in years and end up doing more catching up than watching the game.
OK, I’m not intentionally trying to spam the comments section today, but I just realized that the NHL expansion post came from a post from
Big BrotherFacebook, which is known to flood newsfeeds with fake posts about this kind of stuff as well as “Share this photo or you’re going to Hell” with what are clearly doctored photos. (I haven’t used Facebook in well over a year–and I don’t miss it.) If it comes from Facebook, then it needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
I just did a Google search on “NHL expansion” and nothing pertaining to 2015 came up. What DID come up, and this was just from yesterday, was the Florida Panthers ownership link Now if the NHL DOES expand within the next 5-10 years (at this junction, we can realistically rule out 2015), I would imagine we can rule out Quebec City as an expansion candidate–because the Panthers will become the new Nordiques by that point.
Victor Coleman of Vancouver link outlining hockey revenue streams.
bettman has visited seattle…for the purpose of seeing “arena status”…so they are definitely in the front seat, imho…
My favorite ballpark I’ve been to: Wrigley. It’s setting within the neighborhood, getting off the train and seeing its sign, the ivy, everything.
Favorite overall: Probably Wrigley, or Pac Bell. Sitting right there on the ocean with the seagulls coming in later in the game is cool.
My wife has been to some of the 16 that I’ve visited (Philly, Toronto, DC, Atlanta, Mets, Wrigley, Milwaukee). Wrigley is the only one that has made her say “Wow” when we left. She’s not a particularly huge baseball fan. Just goes along with my Nationals fandom and supports me in my hobby. But she’s definitely a fan of Wrigley now.
QOTW: Dodger Stadium. Hands down. Best extant ballpark I’ve ever been to.
Locally, I really like the new Shea. More so than Yankee Stadium, although that could be because in the Bronx I rarely sit anywhere other than the upper deck. The Mets have better cheap seats than the Yankees.
“Mets have better cheap seats than the Yankees.”
Compared to the Yanks, all the Mets seats are cheap seats.
Hey, the Yankees even manage to make link look downright inexpensive.
At least you’re seeing at least two major league clubs when you go to a Yanks game (insert rimshot).
I agree. Out of the 16 MLB stadiums that I have been to, past and present, Dodger Stadium is my favorite. And I’m from Cincinnati.
Met Stadium in Bloomington, Minn.
It was the Everyman’s Park, utilitarian, no frills (whatsoever). It looked and felt like it was built by your Uncle and his troubled friend on the cheap, but to the small town boy it was a grand Midwest cathedral.
When I was a kid growing up in the south in the 70’s, there were two ballparks that fascinated me – the Met and Exhibition Stadium. Part of this was that I never got to see them on t.v. (Braves country, so the only AL games I saw were the game of the week on NBC or ABC).
I had a baseball preview magazine that showed a little pic of each team’s park, and the Met and Exhibition were absolutely exotic. The Met with it’s double-deck bleachers in left and the upper deck that looked like it was chopped off down the third base line, and Exhibition with it’s patchwork look of uncovered seating in the infield/covered giant bleachers in left/expanse of huge football field behind right fence. Man, those places had serious character.
It looks like the jersey Antrel Rolle is wearing is one of their old Ree/didas Laffy Taffy jerseys. I remember the Giants being one of the NFL teams to use that design.
Milwaukee Brewers getting in on the whole “Pink Thing”. They are planning a “pink out”.
I don’t see any mention of pink jerseys or even accessories.
So as much as I loathe the cancer-industrial complex, I’m okay with this.
QOTW: Camden Yards is my favorite. I admit my bias, as I am an Orioles fan, but the park is just so perfect. Construction of a high-rise hotel has spoiled a bit of the view, but it remains the standard by which all other new parks will be measured for quite a while.
I lived in Houston for many years, and I liked both the Astrodome and Minute Main park. The ‘Dome had a character named General Admission (really!) who would shoot a cannon when the home team got a home run; he got a new life as a train engineer when the team moved downtown. Tal’s Hill, the Crawford Boxes, the retractable roof – they’re all fine to me.
Nats Park – it’s okay. I have only been to one game there, and what struck me the most was the ear-blasting artificial noise. Music in-between innings was really loud, and the PA announcer was way over the top in his player introductions – a cross between WWA and basketball.
The NHL is WAY over expanded as it is! Rather than expand, I’d move teams from places where they wouldn’t know a hockey puck from a hole in the ground to cities like Seattle and Quebec. It worked for Winnipeg. There has been talk of a team in Hamilton since, well, they had a team in Hamilton, but the Leafs keep blocking it.
That was exactly my thought too… While I have always kinda wondered why Seattle never got a (modern times) team, NHL expansion seems odd to me.
With teams in places like Miami, Phoenix and maybe Columbus, seems like it would be prudent to shift some of them to hockey-friendlier locales, than to add teams on top of what they have.
But I’ll admit I am not a hockey guy, so what do I know.
Well, Chamernik, you’ve done it again.
I’ve spent the entire morning reminiscing about ballparks I’ve visited, and reading others’ assessments, and planning a Grand Roadtrip to see as many ballparks as I can.
Meanwhile, the work, it’s not getting done. You’re ruining my productivity, kid.
I hate to be THAT guy, but no one will be hitting baseballs into the ocean from AT&T Park in SF.
Balls fly into a cove of the San Francisco bay.
To land in the ocean would take a helluva foul ball.
So the Cove isn’t technically the ocean? I was wondering that as I was typing the question. Though I love geography I’ve never been to any ocean, so I don’t know what counts and what doesn’t.
The cove that you see home runs splash down into is part of the San Francisco Bay. Definitely not considered part of the ocean.
I am not sure the legal boundary between the Pacific Ocean and the SF Bay is, but for our purposes, anything west of the Golden Gate Bridge is the ocean, east of it is the bay.
By boat, I would guess that AT&T is about 7 miles from the Golden Gate bridge.
QotW: My favorite stadium quirk was old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. There was an orange and black flag with the word “HERE” on it marking where Frank Robinson hit a home run out of the park. That and Earl Weaver’s tomato plants in the bullpen!
My favorite ballpark quirks:
The in-play ladder on the Green Monster and morse code tribute to Tom & Jean Yawkey on the scoreboard at Fenway. Also the red seat in the bleachers that marks where Ted Williams’ longest HR landed.
The ivy covered wall and manual scoreboard at Wrigley.
The in-play Western Metal Supply warehouse building at Petco that also serves as the left field foul pole.
The flagpole with a “Here” flag at Baltimore’s old Memorial Stadium that marked where Frank Robinson hit the only fair ball that left the ballpark.
The copper frieze that circled the top of the original Yankee Stadium and the old free standing “pagoda style” ticket booths.
The center field shower fixture and exploding scoreboard with pinwheels at old Comiskey Park.
The proximity of seats to the field in the front rows of the upper decks at Tiger Stadium.
The roof of the 1970s era Busch Stadium that mirrored the Gateway Arch design.
The Chief Nok a Homa teepee at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium.
The revolving doors that helped to seal in the air pressure holding up the Metrodome roof.
The English-French PA announcements at Olympic Stadium.
The row of purple seats at the 5,280 ft altitude in Coors Field.
Those revolving doors at the DOME! As a kid attending many games, those were a real blast to leave through at the end of the game. Unfortunately, that’s about it.
I LOVED the arch designs on the old Busch Stadium roof.
I just found out about the ladder on the Green Monster a couple weeks ago when a visiting team’s batter hit a ball off of it. The ball bounced off at a really odd angle. Why can’t there be more stuff like that on the outfield walls of all ballparks so balls bounce off at strange angles? It would make baseball so much more interesting!
thanks for the compliment, chance michaels!
QOTW: I can’t get over my Red Sox fandom bias of Fenway Park as #1. With that said, I live in Northern VA and love going to Camden Yards, more so than the closer and newer Nats Park.
Good stuff, people. I’ve been so spectacularly busy today that I haven’t read everyone’s answers yet, but I’ll get to that in a bit. Lots of thoughtful comments, from the look of it!
Favorite stadium I’ve been to: Engle Stadium in Chattanooga. Probably because I was 10 years old in 1979 and it was the first pro game I’d ever seen. Chris Bando was the star catcher. It had active train tracks behind the outfield, the team name LOOKOUTS on the hillside beyond left center, and just felt like there had been 100 years of historic baseball played there. After the 14 inning game lasting past midnight, in what felt like a humid 95 degrees, they held their chicken chase promotion consisting of a bunch of chickens released out on the field with sweaty dirty drunk shirtless 1970s people trampling them trying their best to catch and keep one alive long enough to claim a prize. It was the greatest thing I’d ever seen. I can image it could only be surpassed by Cleveland’s 10 cent beer night or the disco demolition of Bill Veeck.
The only thing that could make that story better was if you’d said your parents had taken you to Bea’s for fried chicken before the game:
Based on MLB ballparks I’ve been to, I have to say PNC rules. From the upper deck you get the view of both the bridge and the Pittsburgh skyline. That combination beats out anything else I’ve seen.
On the MiLB side, I’d vote for Campbell’s Field in Camden, NJ where the bridge feels like it’s part of the park and you get the Philly skyline.
The homer in me loves Dodger Stadium and the view of the hills at twilight. Don’t forget that the back side of the stadium faces downtown LA and offers great views of the skyline, albeit not while you watch the game.
My favorite quirk is KC’s waterfalls while my least favorite quirk is the fake waterfall/rock scene in Anaheim.
The old Vet in Philly and Qualcomm/Jack Murphy in SD would be my least favorite parks as they had absolutely no character. The Vet probably takes the bottom spot as the crowd always seemed so hostile and the fighting at Phillies games seemed equal to those found at NFL games.
My least favorite of the current crop of parks would be the BOB/Chase in AZ or Skydome/Rogers in Toronto when the roof is closed. Games just feel lifeless and dim in an enclosed space.
and you get the Philly skyline.
You say that like it’s a good thing. ;)
Never saw a Phillies or Eagles game there, but I’ve been to the Vet and I don’t miss it at all. Good riddance.
Last time I got the free MLB preview on TV, the games at BOB/Chase looked washed out or something. Guess I’d add that park and Houston’s to my bad list. I still want to go to Toronto, though.
The Bucks home jersey:
Goofy font. Stupid neck stripe treatment.
Adidas is the worst.
As a want-to-be-architect (mainly stadium design), I love this question of the week.
Favorite park: PNC Park- small and cozy + great backdrop -or- Target Field- limestone + overall ‘color’ and feel
Favorite quirk: Wrigley Field- ivy walls -or- Dodger Stadium- beach painted seats
Least Favorite stadium: O.co Coliseum -or- Rogers Centre
MiLB: I love the guitar scoreboard at old Herschel Greer Stadium (& soon to be at new First Tennessee Park), home of the Nashville Sounds, Brewers AAA affiliate.
I just took my first trip out to LA and got to tour and go to a game at Dodger Stadium. I’ve now been to 20 major league parks and by far Dodger Stadium is my favorite. The setting and weather are ideal. The aesthetics of the field, the Dodgers traditional uniforms and the scoreboards are perfect. Even having the speaker tower in Center Field allows for a perfect sound trajectory to the whole stadium. And Vin Scully even records a game preview and it’s shown over the great HD boards. The stats and information shown are also just right. I sat in the 2nd row of the upper deck (not the highest deck behind home though) and the view was just fantastic. I think I would move to LA just so I go to more Dodgers games!
Living in Pittsburgh, I of course adore PNC Park. However, it isn’t my favorite current stadium. That award goes to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. The Phillies put so much thought and effort into that place and the whole stadium screams history at every corner. The feel of the red brick while walking around gives it a nice classic touch, and I absolutely love the catwalk area beyond the leftfield seats with all of the eats and shops. I attended a slew of games there during the Phillies 2005-2007 runs and the place was jam packed every night with passionate, intelligent baseball fans.
My least favorite current park is Turner Field in Atlanta. Just a bland stadium with nothing to offer, besides maybe food. They have tried to spruce it up, as I was there in 2000 and then again in 2011 and alot was different and upgraded it seemed. I was at Skydome in 1992 when it was still state-of-the-art and the Blue Jays were on top of the baseball world. Hard Rock Cafe was still in center field. I was 15 years old and it was a Saturday night with a huge crowd for Blue Jays vs. A’s, the 2 best teams in the AL. Very exciting game and the crowd was awesome. As I got older and visited more parks, Skydome fell way down my list since it just can’t compare to the new stadiums anymore.
I rank the current parks I have been to like so:
1. Citizens Bank Park – Philadelphia
2. PNC Park – Pittsburgh
3. Pac Bell Park – San Fransisco
4. Camden Yards – Baltimore
5. New Busch Stadium – St. Louis
6. Great American Ballpark – Cincinnati
7. Progressive Field – Cleveland
8. Safeco Field – Seattle (not for a game, did a tour)
9. Skydome/Rogers Stadium – Toronto (in 1992)
10. Turner Field – Atlanta
My favorite past park would have to be Tiger Stadium. Yes, it was a dump. Yes, the views were terrible. But wow…..just being in that place was magical. Sitting out in right field under the overhang, yelling back and forth with Bobby Higginson, the guy would talk to everybody. The walls of Tiger Stadium seemed to be oozing baseball history. Just a wonderful place that I wish would have been around when the Tigers got good again.
My least favorite past park (and it’s not even close): Montreal Olympic Stadium. Just a grimy dump that felt like watching a Major League Baseball game in a town fair tent. Maybe the worst professional stadium for any sport I’ve attended a game at (Baltimore Memorial Stadium for a Steelers/Ravens game was pretty bad).
Also I have a fond place in my heart for the cookie cutter stadiums of my childhood. Considering I spent many formative summer nights running around the concourses of Three Rivers Stadium during Pirates games where there might have been 2,000 fans in attendance…it was like being a 12-year old kid and having an entire MLB ballpark to yourself. Great memories, but I’ll take PNC Park please.
By the way, if that headline was made to make the inner 13-year-old in us laugh, then it succeeded. If it was inadvertent even better.
I wish I were that clever.
Totally inadvertent, and until you pointed it out, I never once thought of anything besides the year.
But then I’m old. Although I do pretty much have a 13 year old mentality…