Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The Problem with New Ball Parks

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Problem with New Ball Parks

    Let's talk about these new ball parks.

    Near everyone is in agreement that Fenway and Wrigley are the coolest places to watch a game. This is because of their history and the atmosphere of their stadium's design.

    In the early 90's, stadium designers figured this out and started to design new stadiums like old ones. But when you go to these new/old stadiums, you just don't get the same atmosphere as you do at Fenway or Wrigley. Why?

    I think there are a number of reasons for this, but the main reason is a failure of designers to truly commit to an old park's character. Designers want old park atmosphere but then ruin that atmosphere with new modern amenities...like huge jumbotrons and electric scoreboards.

    Here are some things a new ball park should try to incorporate in its design to gain character and distinction:

    1. The outfield should have nooks and crannies distinct to it.

    Fenway has that weird center field nook that makes it stand out. The opposite of this design is all those horrible cookie-cutter stadium designs from the 70's where the outfield was just one big semi-circle.

    2. Your outfield wall should have differences in height.

    Again, Fenway is the champ here. The Green Monster is huge at nearly 40 ft., then the center field fence is nearly half as high, and lastly that great short fence that runs to the Pesky pole in right. Visually, this is distinct and lends to more character. Sadly, most new stadium designs have one size fence or they try to incorporate their own "monster" but only build it to 20 ft. If you want a "monster" wall, then commit to it. There is no shame in copying the the original's height....just put it in center or right.

    3. The angle of your outfield wall at the foul poles should be distint.

    The more unique this angle or curvature is the more difficult it is to play a ball in the corner. There is nothing more exciting in baseball than a triple or inside the park homer and this will lend to those plays. Again, Fenway has this in its right field corner, where a misplayed ball can get past the right fielder and end up in center field.

    4. The upper deck should be as close as possible to the field.

    The upper deck in the old Tigers Stadium actually hung over the field in the outfield. You could lean over and look down on the fielders. If you want your new park to feel intimate, then get the crowd as close to the field as possible, and nothing is cooler or more intimate (and intimidating to the visiting team) than a crowd looking down on them. Stadium designs should get away from that huge bowl feel and start building up again. The older stadiums did this better because they used pillars to hold up their upper decks and new designs have shied away from this because they don't want obstructed view seats on the lower level. This is mistake. Nothing screams older park more than pillars and a really vertical upper deck that's close to the field. I would think in this day and age, engineers could come up with some way to marry this effect without using pillars. Maybe decrease the number of seats in the lower deck?

    5. Players should be able to hit the ball out of the park.

    There are few things cooler than hitting a baseball all the way out of the park. This gives Wrigley Field a lot of its character. You can hit the ball out of the park and into the neighborhood. In San Fran, it's into the bay...but I think into a real neighborhood is so much cooler. At Fenway, you can go over the Monster but the ball doesn't go anywhere of interest. Which leads to the next need for a stadium....

    6. Your stadium's location is critical to its character.

    Too many stadiums are surrounded by huge parking lots and located in the middle of nowhere. Nothing kills character more than this. And a perfect example of this is Shea Stadium in Queens. If you absolutely have to have a lot of parking near your stadium, why not put it underground and out of sight? Wrigley has so much character because of its location. It is right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. The El is close by so a lot of people can get to the park but there are no ugly parking lots to kill the atmosphere. The new Mets Ball Park is doomed from the start because of its location. This is a mistake. Why do designers not understand this? Too many new stadiums are built on the site of their old parking lots and then the new parking lot is put up where the old stadium was. This is just laziness on the part of the designers. By putting new stadiums into intimate neighborhoods or downtown or near rivers etc., you add character to your stadium. Then fill the surrounding area with bars and restaurants for the fans to enjoy. And work with public transportation to get away from those ugly parking lots.

    7. Very little foul territory.

    You want the fans close to the field and the action, so this should be an obvious design solution.

    8. Bleachers rule.

    Stadiums with a lot of character, have a special place for their real characters...and that's the bleacher section. Again, Wrigley is the perfect example of this. The best place to watch a game at Wrigley is from the bleachers. Aside from the distinct cast of characters bleachers attract, if you make the bleacher section of your stadium small and intimate, this will also add character and atmosphere to the ball park. The left field bleachers at Wrigley only have a few rows of seats, and there is nothing cooler than watching a home run go over your head and out on to Waveland from that section.

    9. Something different is nearly always better.

    The new Comiskey (or whatever they're calling it this year) has a field level patio in right field where fans can watch the game from directly behind the outfield wall. Behind the patio (underneath the stands) is the stadium's bar, which is also a great place to hang out with fans. I don't know if putting a swimming pool beyond your outfield fence or adding fountains or a rock formation adds that much character to your park, but an outdoor bar or patio area with great views of the field definitely helps.

    10. Less is more.

    An intimate stadium is always a better place to watch a game than a huge coliseum. It's not a coincidence that Wrigley and Fenway are the smallest parks in baseball. New parks should aim for a 40,000 seat capacity and put all those "necessary" corporate suites on the roof. Most of those "fans" don't come to watch the game anyway.

    I think these few suggestions are a good start to getting better stadiums in baseball. Can anyone thing of more?

  • #2
    I agree with certain aspects of your post. Uniqueness is key to a new ballpark. I like your idea about the outfield walls being different heights and quirky corners down the lines. It is extremely exciting to see an outfielder reach over a low wall to take away a homer (Fenway Park and Old Yankee Stadium immediately come to mind). I would also like to see deep distances in the outfield. Symmetrical distances are boring. Outfields like Old Yankee Stadium, the Polo Grounds and center in Fenway Park are great. Without that deep center field in the Polo Grounds, baseball history would be different because Willie Mays would not have had the opportunity to make that great catch in the 54' World Series or maybe Don Larsen doesn't pitch a perfect game without Mickey Mantle making that catch in Death Valley in the 56' World Series. It is also exciting to see the ball bound around a cavernous outfield and the defense scramble to make the perfect relay to get the runner at third or home. While home runs are great to watch, there are other aspects and intricacies to the game that are being left behind. If your going to have a good number of bandboxes, they should raise the pitching mound to pre 1968 heights. A 1-0 or 2-1 game is still fun to watch.

    Now with all that said, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, while historical and unique, are on the dumpy side. Simple things like getting a dog, beer or soda or just getting up to go to the bathroom are a pain in the ass. There is nothing wrong with the new ballparks being intimate to watch the game and still have lots of bathrooms and concession stands. Wide concourses and ramps make getting around much easier. Don't get me wrong, every true baseball fan should see a game in both Wrigley and Fenway. There is no reason both parks could not be duplicated with the modern amenities. All these fresh new stadiums are good for baseball. Anything beats the cookie cutter stadiums of the 60's and 70's.
    Attached Files

    Comment


    • #3
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Let's talk about these new ball parks.

      Near everyone is in agreement that Fenway and Wrigley are the coolest places to watch a game. This is because of their history and the atmosphere of their stadium's design.

      In the early 90's, stadium designers figured this out and started to design new stadiums like old ones. But when you go to these new/old stadiums, you just don't get the same atmosphere as you do at Fenway or Wrigley. Why?

      I think there are a number of reasons for this, but the main reason is a failure of designers to truly commit to an old park's character. Designers want old park atmosphere but then ruin that atmosphere with new modern amenities...like huge jumbotrons and electric scoreboards.
      I agree, most new ballparks suck, I hate most of them except for Minute Maid and AT&T. However you can make your park feel like a classic, but theres one thing you can't fake.History.The main reason why Fenway and Wrigley are so great is the history that you know some amazing players have played there. Also Fenway and Wrigley both have some amazing fans in them, which adds to the feel.
      1. The outfield should have nooks and crannies distinct to it.

      Fenway has that weird center field nook that makes it stand out. The opposite of this design is all those horrible cookie-cutter stadium designs from the 70's where the outfield was just one big semi-circle.
      2. Your outfield wall should have differences in height.

      Again, Fenway is the champ here. The Green Monster is huge at nearly 40 ft., then the center field fence is nearly half as high, and lastly that great short fence that runs to the Pesky pole in right. Visually, this is distinct and lends to more character. Sadly, most new stadium designs have one size fence or they try to incorporate their own "monster" but only build it to 20 ft. If you want a "monster" wall, then commit to it. There is no shame in copying the the original's height....just put it in center or right.
      Very true,I absoultly HATE parks that have identical demensions on both sides. 10 ft. walls all around the outfield bugs the hell out of me.

      5. Players should be able to hit the ball out of the park.

      There are few things cooler than hitting a baseball all the way out of the park. This gives Wrigley Field a lot of its character. You can hit the ball out of the park and into the neighborhood. In San Fran, it's into the bay...but I think into a real neighborhood is so much cooler. At Fenway, you can go over the Monster but the ball doesn't go anywhere of interest. Which leads to the next need for a stadium....
      Not that true about behind the monster, the Massachusetts Turnspike runs behind it.
      7. Very little foul territory.

      You want the fans close to the field and the action, so this should be an obvious design solution.
      Sometimes true, with the exception of the great field of Polo Grounds, which had a very large foul territory.

      Another things that adds to the greatness of a park is whell, the team inside it. Who cares if you have a great park if you have to sit through a game of horrible baseball to see it.

      Comment


      • #4
        While I think it's a good idea to try and take the best qualities from both, I think that once you try and make a stadium everything to everyone, it will probably end up lacking in every area as opposed to only some.

        I grew up going to Wrigley and I'll always love it; now I live in Milwaukee and I have to say I really like Miller Park! Going to either one is a unique experience and I enjoy both.

        I will say, however, that there were some excellent points made in the original post. I especially agree with the bleacher suggestion!
        Michael!

        Reaching Scarlet

        Comment


        • #5
          instant history

          Many new ballparks present a simulacrum of "character" and charm, giving us instant history without the actual passage of time. In Greenville, SC, the Red Sox Class A team is almost done with construction of a Fenway replica, complete with a Green Monster in leftfield and a Pesky's Pole in right. Still, I agree with the commenters who say that anything beats the awful concrete saucers of the 60s and 70s. Even though there's a certain Disney World experience in attending games at new-retro parks, I kinda like Disney World.

          Comment


          • #6
            While the new ballparks are all trying to have the feel of the old classics, the one huge difference is that the old places didn't have a large amount of space taken up for the suites, party rooms, private clubs, etc. a lot of potentially good seating is taken up to place these in every new ball park.
            It Might Be? It Could Be?? It Is!

            Comment


            • #7
              Aren't we getting close to creating the same problem as the UFO stadiums of the 70's with the new parks? While they have charactor, is it still charactor if it's taken from some other ballpark? I enjoy the Ballpark in Arlington (and refuse to call it by the corporate sell-out name), but it's disturbing how little is original. It's an original mix, but little is original. The best thing about Fenway is its surrounding, outside the park. All the new parks are trying to create that by adding it later. The Ballpark in Arlington was suppose to do that, as I'm sure some of the others have, but outside of the Convention Center and the unconfterably named Seimons HQ, nothing. Blocked off streets around the park have no venders, no activity. The only reason the streets are blocked off are to protect the family of four walking from the parking lot.

              The best parks have that atmosphere, even the new ones. Minute Maid Park in Houston is not contrived. It has a train depot feel and theme because part of it use to me a train depot. Pac-Bell or AT&T or Steriod Park uses the bay. The new parks need to use it's surroundings or legetimately create it.
              ARC-F President(Anti-Roger Clemens Faction)

              Comment


              • #8
                I agree that some aspects of the old parks should be incorporated into the new ones but some things needed to be changed.
                Sitting behind a pole holding up the upper deck is not good but, to a degree, they should have some things the same as the park they replaced.
                The only thing in the GABP in Cincy that relates to Crosley field is the distance down the foul lines. It's the same and baseballs fly out of there. I would rather have seen the old terrace that was at Crosley. Can you imagine an outfielder now having to run uphill to the fence? I can hear the complaints now.
                The worst thing I have noticed about the new parks is how loud the music is. We don't need rock music so loud it hurts your ears. Bring back the organ player and leave all the fancy stuff to a rock concert.

                Comment


                • #9
                  New Retro

                  I thought this was an interesting article on "new retro" ballparks:

                  http://66.218.69.11/search/cache?p=b...icp=1&.intl=us

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Check out this article on the subject: (I wrote it)

                    http://www.baseballparks.com/BallpkIdentity.asp
                    http://capitalfrontiers.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      $8 for beer and 50 Cents for music?

                      [QUOTE=driver62]I agree that some aspects of the old parks should be incorporated into the new ones but some things needed to be changed.
                      Sitting behind a pole holding up the upper deck is not good but, to a degree, they should have some things the same as the park they replaced.

                      I remember sitting behind a lot of poles at the old Yankee Stadium and didn't like it much either. There gotta be some other way to get the upper deck closer to the field without having those pillers though.

                      I could do without the loud rock music too. I was on line for the restroom once and they starting playing this really loud rap music. I had no idea what was going on. Someone had to tell me it was 50 cents. They can keep the change as far as I'm concerned.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        New Parks All Alike?

                        Originally posted by EchoTrain2
                        I thought this was an interesting article on "new retro" ballparks:

                        http://66.218.69.11/search/cache?p=b...icp=1&.intl=us

                        That article made some excellent points. A lot of the new parks are very similar and in a way are "cartoonish" representations of parts of old parks. I think it's also true that when a new park is built, a lot of fans just go to the game to check out the park. I haven't seen Philly's new park or Pittsburgh's but plan to go this year...and it won't be to see the Phillies or Pirates.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by gehrigfan
                          Let's talk about these new ball parks.

                          .

                          I think these few suggestions are a good start to getting better stadiums in baseball. Can anyone thing of more?
                          You've come up with some pretty good ideas here. Are you considering a future in baseball design?
                          Last edited by BudSelig; 04-11-2006, 03:51 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Sorry, didn't mean to quote all of your original post in my quick reply.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              No problem. Future in design? I have already made a model for a new stadium...but no one wants it.

                              Comment

                              Ad Widget

                              Collapse
                              Working...
                              X