Tuesday, September 4, 2012

FIELDS OF DREAMS - Season Wrapup - 2012

Our Field of Dreams reports might not be complete, but they’re up-to-date, meaning that every existing Major League Baseball stadium that we’ve seen a game in has been posted. 

Meanwhile, we still have four stadiums that we either have visited but not seen a game in, or…in the case of Oakland…it’s been such a long time that the information is no longer valid. Here are those four stadiums and our limited impressions of them…

Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan – Great looking stadium in downtown Detroit. Whether that’s good news or bad news depends on your opinion of the city. There’s a kid’s play area in the outfield featuring a little Ferris wheel and the tigers on each side of the scoreboard let you know what the home team is.

Here are the stats:
Opened: 2000
Surface: grass
Construction cost: $300 million
Capacity: 45,010
Field dimensions: Left Field – 345 ft.; left center – 370; Center Field – 420 ft.; right center – 365; Right Field – 330 ft.
Home team: Detroit Tigers (American League, MLB) 2000 - present
Events attended: none, just visited the stadium when the team was away.

The View from the Former McDonald's

U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Illinois – A fairly unloved replacement for the legendary Comiskey Park, home of the White Sox. Steep, the upper deck is set fairly far back. The front row of the upper deck is farther away from the field than the last row of the old stadium. It’s also famous for its exploding scoreboard, which shoots off fireworks when the Sox hit a home run.

Here are the stats:
Opened: 1991
Surface: Bluegrass
Construction cost: $167 million
Capacity: 44,321
Field dimensions: Left Field – 330 ft.; left center – 375; Center Field – 400 ft.; right center – 375; Right Field – 335 ft.
Home team: Chicago White Sox (American League, MLB) 1991 - present
Events attended: none, just visited the stadium when the team was away.

Wheelchair seating is spread out, mostly in the top row of the lower deck and into the outfield. The seats we examined look like they’d be a good place to watch a game from. There’s a very good ADA information page on the team’s website, including a map of wheelchair accessible seating. It’s one of the best we’ve seen.

Transit is excellent with an adjacent, wheelchair accessible Red Line station of the Chicago L.

Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada – The first successful retractable roof stadium. Notable features include the hotel in the outfield and artificial grass that causes no small amount of consternation and injuries to visiting teams. Located right next to the CN Tower.

Here are the stats:
Opened: 1989
Surface: AstroTurf GameDay Grass
Construction cost: $570 million
Capacity: 49,539
Field dimensions: Left Field – 328 ft.; left center – 375; Center Field – 400 ft.; right center – 375; Right Field – 328 ft.
Home team: Toronto Blue Jays (American League, MLB) 1989 - present
Events attended: none, just visited the stadium when the team was away.

When we went here, we went in a side door to see if we could get access. We walked right in…no one was there and the entrance went right to the seats. This was just before 9/11 so I assume the security has improved since then. That day, though, we wandered throughout a completely deserted section along the third base line. Originally, we had planned to see a game but when we found out they charged more for wheelchair accessible seats than comparable normal seats, we declined.

According to the team web site, wheelchair seating is dispersed throughout the stadium. The team has one of the weakest ADA information sections on their site, so you’ll want to call them at 416-341-3004.

While they are improving slowly, current Toronto transit is weak in accessibility.

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia
Bryce Edwards under CC-BY License

Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, California – Actually, my wife and I saw a game here way back in the 1980’s. The stadium has undergone massive changes since then, so it wouldn’t be fair to review the stadium on such old impressions. I do remember there being very little shade, however. Oakland is a team dating back to 1901 when it started in Philadelphia. The Athletics moved here from Kansas City in 1968. The team has had some well known and controversial players such as Jose Conseco and Mark McGwire. Others to wear the A’s uniform include Hall of Famers Dennis Eckersley, Catfish Hunter, and Reggie Jackson. It’s also a multipurpose stadium, shared with the NFL’s Raiders, so it has some of the largest foul ball territory in the league.

Here are the stats:
Opened: 1966
Surface: Bluegrass
Construction cost: $25.5 million
Capacity: 35,067 (artificially limited)
Field dimensions: Left Field – 330 ft.; left center – 367; Center Field – 400 ft.; right center – 367; Right Field – 330 ft.
Home team: Oakland Athletics (American League, MLB) 1968 – present, Oakland Raiders (NFL) 1966 – 1981, 1995 - present
Events attended: one

A few things stand out about the Coliseum. First, the team has trouble drawing a good crowd, even when it is playing well. I remember seeing them in the playoffs with tickets still available at the gate. To alleviate this, the top deck was covered with a tarp taking those seats away from fans and artificially limiting capacity to under 36,000. Football capacity is almost double.

A new, and in my opinion, very ugly upper deck was added to center field to accommodate Al Davis’s desire to sell more tickets to football games. This deck has become known as “Mount Davis” in his honor.

The team had a proposal to move to nearby Fremont a few years ago that fell through. Now, it is in talks with San Jose to move the team there.

Wheelchair seating is available on most levels. The team maintains a very good ADA page on their website that includes a map of wheelchair seating. Call (877) 493-BALL for tickets.

Transit is very good to the park via BART, a subway that services the station via a pedestrian bridge only open on game days.


Copyright 2010 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

  1. Interesting... I was searching this info for my uncle. He will be happy for such a great info. Thanks for sharing...