Monday, April 20, 2009

New York Stadium Debuts

The building boom in Major League Baseball continued last week as both New York teams had their home openers on national television.  These were the 11th & 12th stadiums to open this decade, and when all is said and done, 23 of the current 30 teams will have debuted a stadium under Commissoner Bud Selig's tenure, with Royals, Angels, and Dodgers' stadiums all also undergoing 9-figure renovations.  A lot of people may not like the commissioner for things like the steroids debachle, but mark my words that history will look back on him as the greatest commissioner of all time.  He has created the current playoff format, fostered in instant replay, invested in marketing the game globally, and the league's expansion and building boom since he took office in 1992 have single-handedly saved baseball, not to mention a lot of neglected urban areas.

But, I digress.  The Mets' $800-million Citi Field debuted first on Monday, and in true Mets fashion, the first official hit in the new ballpark was a homerun by the Padres' leadoff man on the third pitch of the game, in what would amount to a win for the Padres.  The facades evoke memories of old Ebbets Field, and features a grand entry called the Jackie Robinson Rotunda.  From what I could tell from the broadcasts and photos, it looks to have a ton of foul ground in the infield and some strange angles and cantilevered areas, so I'm curious to see how the views will be.  I've also been reading some articles about how the visiting clubhouse is terrible and the visiting bullpens cannot see the game.  Hopefully for that price tag, all this stuff isn't as bad as it seems.  The outfield also features a huge jumbotron in centerfield, and a slightly smaller one in right-center.  It has high walls and long gaps and seems to be playing as a pitchers ballpark, at least early on, which might reduce homerun totals from their 3-6 hitters, but makes sense in the long run in terms of drawing free-agent pitching talent.

The new $1.5-billion Yankee Stadium debuted Thursday afternoon, in the only way the Yankees know how - with dozens of Yankee legends in attendance for a pre-game ceremony.  All the pressure, coupled the season-opening 10-day roadtrip, spelled disaster for the Yankees, as they ended up losing 10-2 to Cleveland.  Manager Joe Girardi put the inauspicious opening in perspective:  "It's not how you want to start a new stadium, but one game is not going to make the history of this Yankee Stadium."  Yeah, try convincing the New York media of that.  The new ballpark itself looks spectacular.  Early on, I was convinced it would be really kitschy since it is a near replica of the pre-1976 old Yankee Stadium, except for the dimensions, but that doesn't really concern me anymore.  The Yankees have paid a lot of attention to detail in the stadium - every detail except one.  Yankee Stadium is playing the exact opposite of Citi Field - it is playing like "Coors Field East," as Buster Olney of ESPN stated.  There is said to be a "wind tunnel" that carries balls out to right field.  The new park has already yielded 25 homeruns in its first five games (including 2 exhibition games) and a 22-run outburst on Saturday from the lowly Indians.  Watch out Yankee fans, this might mean a new 3-yr $40 mil contract for .240 career hitter Nick Swisher.  Needless to say, our experiences at these two ballparks will vary greatly, and I can't wait to see them this summer, and to finally get to see Monument Park!

Brewers 4-8, -3.5 (3 @ Phillies, 3 @ Astros)
Reds 6-5, -1.0 (3 @ Cubs, 3 v. Braves)
Twins 7-7, -1.0 (2 @ Red Sox, 3 @ Indians)

Erik - 7  (+ 1 worked)
Peter - 9

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