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Open concourses--Are they overrated?

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  • Open concourses--Are they overrated?

    This past weekend I took my daughter to Marlins Park. It was my first full 9 inning game at the new park (I had taken in a few innings on a lunch break earlier, and I had taken a tour of the place during an off day). We had a blast, and the place still lives up to its positive reviews. (Again, traffic and parking were not too bad, all things considered).

    But as the first major league park that I've visited to have featured open concourses, I have to say I'm a bit underwhelmed. Yes, you can see a sliver of the ballpark from the concession stands. And you can hear the crowd reaction a lot better in stereo sound. But it's not like you can actually see the action on the field from the concession stands. So I can't say that I'm all that impressed by that type of layout. Plus part of me likes the notion of closed concourses, where you walk through a tunnel just to be amazed by the ballpark suddenly appearing at the other end. (Call it the "Grand Canyon effect")

  • #2
    I'd say it depends on what came before. For me, Citi Field's open concourse is a refreshing change from old Shea, where fans almost never saw the action from an outfield or fair territory vantage point and the only field view while in the concourses was behind home plate or in the extreme left and right field corners. That said, emerging from one of the tunnels at Shea into the bright sun to survey the entire field was a thrill every time I went.

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    • #3
      The first time I visited the Tigers' new park, they blew the Twins out early and my friend and I decided to stroll around the place and check everything out in detail...and, we were still able to basically watch the whole rest of the game while doing so. I thought it was a wonderful feature, and I've enjoyed it in other new parks, too.
      "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson

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      • #4
        Anything's better than the "tombs" that those old stadia had. Sure, maybe the open concourses don't let you see the whole field, but at least they let you see some of it. And the mere fact that they are open, makes all the difference. Easier for people to move through them, not so damned claustrophobic.
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        • #5
          I have only been to minor league parks with it, but I love it. Some many people just standing, eating and drinking, walking around; its really fun. Does anyone know the price of these things compared to not having them? I mean if its as bad as doubling the price like a retractable roof, then it's not worth it, but if it's a drop in the bucket, then I say bring it on.
          The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

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          • #6
            Does Dodger Stadium count as the first mlb park to have a version of an open concourse?
            The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

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            • #7
              It creates a very different dynamic upon entering the ballpark. Rather than the conventional "greenest grass you'll ever see" moment when you come through the tunnel and into the light, this is more of a "museum piece" feeling, where you walk around the concourses looking at the field like it is some precious artwork under glass and behind lasers in a museum.

              Thinking back, I probably havent been to a park with portals since Shea closed (Yankee II, Citi, Blueclaws park, Trenton Thunder Park, PETCO park, Dodgers Stadium, Baltimore, Washington) so i've gotten used to that feeling of seeing the field just sitting there as you walk around the concourses, and have formulated this opinion. Thoughts?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Jgweiss View Post
                It creates a very different dynamic upon entering the ballpark. Rather than the conventional "greenest grass you'll ever see" moment when you come through the tunnel and into the light, this is more of a "museum piece" feeling, where you walk around the concourses looking at the field like it is some precious artwork under glass and behind lasers in a museum.

                Thinking back, I probably havent been to a park with portals since Shea closed (Yankee II, Citi, Blueclaws park, Trenton Thunder Park, PETCO park, Dodgers Stadium, Baltimore, Washington) so i've gotten used to that feeling of seeing the field just sitting there as you walk around the concourses, and have formulated this opinion. Thoughts?
                Oriole Park has portals in both the upper and lower decks.

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                • #9
                  Is it a "concourse" if it's all outdoors? For example: MCU Park (formerly Keyspan Park), home of the Brooklyn Cyclones...


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PeteU View Post
                    Oriole Park has portals in both the upper and lower decks.
                    Thanks for the correction, my mistake. Something about the concourse being half outside makes it feel more open air..

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                    • #11
                      I do miss the drama of walking through that dark tunnel and suddenly seeing a huge, perfect, greener than green field. That said, at Shea and other older parks, I never wanted to get up to get food or go to the bathroom; in the back of my mind, I knew I'd be "leaving" the game. Now I don't feel that way.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chevy114 View Post
                        Does Dodger Stadium count as the first mlb park to have a version of an open concourse?
                        Actually the Met had them(and portals) when it opened in 1956 and made the majors in 1961.The middle and upper deck portals just led to a ramp to the open concourses at the top of the two decks.

                        Interestingly, DC Stadium and Candlestick had concourses around the top off their lower decks but inexplicably built the concessions stands and restrooms up against their seats and open to the outside, instead of vice versa like Chavez Ravine.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by The Old Ballpark View Post
                          Actually the Met had them(and portals) when it opened in 1956 and made the majors in 1961.The middle and upper deck portals just led to a ramp to the open concourses at the top of the two decks.

                          Interestingly, DC Stadium and Candlestick had concourses around the top off their lower decks but inexplicably built the concessions stands and restrooms up against their seats and open to the outside, instead of vice versa like Chavez Ravine.
                          Oh cool I always knew that the met had no obstructions but never knew it had open concourses.
                          The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Gary Dunaier View Post
                            Is it a "concourse" if it's all outdoors? For example: MCU Park (formerly Keyspan Park), home of the Brooklyn Cyclones...
                            I would say yes in theory it gives you everything you ask a direct view of the field, but it's not as cool as knowing that for 100s or even 1000s of years no one could put something over top of a concourse without at least a pole or wall in the view to hold it up.
                            The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

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