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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rosenthal: Leaving Wrigley would be Cubs’ error

IT’S A…

ff !!!

Which is why it makes no sense for the Cubs to leave Wrigleyville for suburban Rosemont or anywhere else.

“Their greatest asset is their fans, but Wrigley is as great an asset as the team itself, and that’s because of the value placed on it by the fans,” said Jim Grinstead, publisher of Revenues from Sports Ventures, a well-regarded newsletter on the economics of sports teams. “Cubs fans have put up with a lot of losing for a lot of years. They’re loyal to their team, and that loyalty extends to the ballpark as well. If you move from Wrigley, you risk breaching the trust of your fans.”

The threat of abandoning that equity and investment for a new ballpark in Rosemont, as has been floated of late, is undercut by aversion to that risk. Even if the resulting edifice proved an adequate replica, the roar of O’Hare arrivals and departures drowning out organ music notwithstanding, it couldn’t be the same. Part of Wrigley Field’s appeal, nestled in a real community of bars, restaurants and apartments, is that it is real.

In that sense, the Cubs are the victims of their own hype. All those years of touting Wrigley as a baseball cathedral — and a more reliable attraction than the also-ran teams sent out of the third-base dugout to play in it for decades — have masked its deterioration and lack of modern amenities.

 

Repoz Posted: March 27, 2013 at 09:36 AM | 87 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs

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   1. Flynn Posted: March 27, 2013 at 10:05 AM (#4397504)
Just spend some freaking money on it to renovate it. The Red Sox did that and found out not having to pay off hundreds of millions in stadium debt more than cancelled out any benefits of a new stadium.

   2. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: March 27, 2013 at 10:07 AM (#4397505)
If we've learned anything about trying to 'replicate' old stadiums, you simply can't. NYS is a colossal failure.
   3. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: March 27, 2013 at 10:20 AM (#4397514)
Agree. I love the Yankees...but nys is a disaster of epic proportions.
   4. McCoy Posted: March 27, 2013 at 10:33 AM (#4397527)
The point of all this is that they want the city to help subsidize the renovation or at least free up the restrictions that are placed on Wrigley so the Cubs can generate more revenue through renovations.
   5. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 27, 2013 at 10:34 AM (#4397529)
Just spend some freaking money on it to renovate it. The Red Sox did that and found out not having to pay off hundreds of millions in stadium debt more than cancelled out any benefits of a new stadium.


In the late-90s I was the first to say "get rid of Fenway." The new owners came in and instead of saying "we can't fix this" they just figured out how to fix it. It's not perfect but the experience of attending a game at Fenway is dramatically improved over the past decade.
   6. zonk Posted: March 27, 2013 at 10:39 AM (#4397533)
We've been over this before... but I guess that ultimately, what the Cubs won't be able to do is lose.

Like it or not - 'Wrigleyville' is what separates the Cubs from the White Sox... The Sox aren't a financial disaster. They have loyal fans. When they win, they draw perfectly well.... but they're just not a tourist attraction. The Cubs are.

You could find a way to truck the entire stadium out to Rosemont and the Cubs financial/popularity/etc fortunes will then rise and fall just like every other big market team. The Cubs were fortunate to have a confluence of circumstances produce a groundswell of popularity... there is the lovable losers mystique... there was the WGN broadcasting at a time when cable wasn't omnipresent and the internet didn't exist.... and there was this picturesque ballpark situated in a fun neighborhood near the lakefront.

What they have left is the ballpark and the area around the park. WGN is meaningless now. Even the loser's mystique really isn't there anymore (3 div titles in the last decade and a back-to-back and then back-to-back-to-back .500+ record ain't exactly great success... but let's face it - current fortunes aside - the Cubs are no longer 'lovably bad'... they're just... not good).

If they move, the bottom line will inevitably align a lot more closely to the team's successes on the field.
   7. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: March 27, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4397534)
It's not perfect but the experience of attending a game at Fenway is dramatically improved over the past decade.


And if experience has taught us anything, it's that the new stadiums aren't perfect, either. I've never been to a new park that didn't have some significant flaw. Fenway's is small seats, but if you fixed that, you'd break something else.
   8. SoSH U at work Posted: March 27, 2013 at 10:47 AM (#4397543)
I've never been to a new park that didn't have some significant flaw.


I've only been there once, but I can't imagine what PNC's signficant flaw might be.
   9. zonk Posted: March 27, 2013 at 10:49 AM (#4397544)

In the late-90s I was the first to say "get rid of Fenway." The new owners came in and instead of saying "we can't fix this" they just figured out how to fix it. It's not perfect but the experience of attending a game at Fenway is dramatically improved over the past decade.


To what extent did codes and landmark restrictions play in the Fenway picture? I'm genuinely curious/don't know...

In the Cubs/Ricketts case, that's really where this all goes off the tracks. Much of what the Ricketts want to do isn't so much 'fixing Wrigley' - at least, that's not where the fights are - it's doing things that WILL increase revenue, but won't really enhance the fan experience... but does piss off certain others with interests in the area. I.e., it's not going to make Wrigley any better to have a big billboard behind the bleachers.

The whole problem with this discussion is that it really becomes a moving target... Per something Moses posted recently - the Ricketts now seem willing to front the cash themselves... but want to loosen the landmark restrictions. OK - but loosen the restrictions to do what? Put up a bill ad board. How would this enhance or fix the park?

The frustrating thing is that there's really no one to root for here... The rooftop owners want to protect their investment... the Ricketts want to protect/enhance their investment... Tunney and the city want to protect their... investment/seats, I guess...

The next time someone - the city, the owners, the neighbors, etc - actually talks about the park as if it were something more than a bargaining chip and/or cash cow and means it - that will be the first time.
   10. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 27, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4397545)

I've only been there once, but I can't imagine what PNC's signficant flaw might be.


It's in Pittsburgh?

I kid, I kid.
   11. Shredder Posted: March 27, 2013 at 11:06 AM (#4397554)
The frustrating thing is that there's really no one to root for here... The rooftop owners want to protect their investment... the Ricketts want to protect/enhance their investment... Tunney and the city want to protect their... investment/seats, I guess...
Believe it or not, I'm actually kind of rooting for the rooftop owners here. At least as long as they've reached an agreement to compensate the Cubs. Prior to that I had absolutely no sympathy for them. But the Ricketts' knew what they were buying when they bought it. If they went in with the intention of enhancing their investment, that's fine, but it's not like they didn't know that there were already a bunch of restrictions in place. And the plans to enhance their investment didn't really mean a lot of extra revenue/reputation for the city, so there was really no reason for Rahm to play ball. It's not like people were saying "Well, Wrigley's nice, but the neighborhood would really be improved by a huge hotel across Clark and an Apple Store on the other side of Addison." People already like the stuff across Addison (though they could stand to put something in where that McDonald's is, and I don't mean a parking lot).

I actually don't see losing the Cubs to Rosemont as a huge loss for the city (and I don't expect it to happen anyway). If the Cubs leave, they could renovate that place into an awesome condo development with a big park in the middle and Wrigleyville would just look like, well, everything around Wrigleyville. There's really nothing that differentiates that neighborhood from where I live (Southport Corridor) or Roscoe Village except for baseball 81 nights per year (and it's also more bro-tastic during the off-season).
   12. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 27, 2013 at 11:09 AM (#4397558)
LOL, Wrigley will be forgotten two seasons after its abandonment, and the greedy, parasitic rooftop seating owners will be hated far more than the Rickettsia around the Wrigleyville neighborhood.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2013 at 11:09 AM (#4397559)

I've only been there once, but I can't imagine what PNC's signficant flaw might be.


You have to watch the Pirates play baseball.
   14. Brian C Posted: March 27, 2013 at 11:12 AM (#4397563)
This whole Rosemont debate is so silly. The Cubs aren't moving to the suburbs, they're staying right where they are. The "local opposition", such as it is, isn't even very vocal. There will be a deal made that allows all sides to save face, the changes will be made, and in the long run, no one will even care all that much about them. Except for the Ricketts, who will have more money to count, and the players, who will presumably enjoy their expanded locker rooms.
   15. Lassus Posted: March 27, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4397568)
Agree. I love the Yankees...but nys is a disaster of epic proportions.

Agree fully on "disaster". "Epic" seems to me an oversell.
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: March 27, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4397569)
You have to watch the Pirates play baseball.


I expected that joke, though I'm surprised at the source.
   17. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: March 27, 2013 at 11:17 AM (#4397571)
I've only been there once, but I can't imagine what PNC's signficant flaw might be.
Easily the best stadium in all of Major League baseball, at least as far as the ones I've been to (and there are ones I haven't that I doubt are going to compete, like the Trop).
   18. Lassus Posted: March 27, 2013 at 11:19 AM (#4397574)
I'm about six hours out, and and a trip to PNC is in my definite plans for the summer.
   19. bobm Posted: March 27, 2013 at 11:19 AM (#4397575)
If they move, the bottom line will inevitably align a lot more closely to the team's successes on the field.


Is this supposed to be bad for Cubs fans?
   20. McCoy Posted: March 27, 2013 at 11:27 AM (#4397583)
I'm about six hours out, and and a trip to PNC is in my definite plans for the summer.

Did it two summers ago and it was pretty fun but for the life of my I don't think I can recall anything special about the stadium. The biggest selling point for me was that the whole trip was extremely cheap. Behind home plate tickets cost me something like 24 dollars (and that was before I discovered stuff like Stubhub), the bus ticket from DC and back cost me 3 dollars and my hotel room cost me 30 dollars.

Out of all of the parks I've been to I'd say Nationals Park was the most fun park in terms of amenities. PNC for me is grouped in with Miller Park in that it is easy to get to, isn't expensive, and doesn't throw up a lot negatives at you.
   21. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: March 27, 2013 at 11:29 AM (#4397584)

I've only been there once, but I can't imagine what PNC's signficant flaw might be.


I can't speak to it, I've never been there. But I meant Nationals Park, Philly, Safeco, PacBell, Comiskey, Baltimore.
   22. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: March 27, 2013 at 11:30 AM (#4397585)
I'm trying to think of a flaw at PNC (went to a series a couple years ago). I guess there's some less desirable seats, but that's everywhere.
   23. JJ1986 Posted: March 27, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4397586)
But I meant Nationals Park, Philly, Safeco, PacBell, Comiskey, Baltimore.


Baltimore's only real flaw is the amount of crap they play over the PA system. There are very few quiet moments.
   24. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: March 27, 2013 at 11:33 AM (#4397587)
Baltimore had way over-packed concessions the time I was there. And sitting on the third base side, I felt like I got blocked by people walking down the aisles too often, same as at Nats Park.
   25. McCoy Posted: March 27, 2013 at 11:35 AM (#4397588)
That doesn't really seem to be a flaw of the stadium though. More like a packed stadium and the ushers not stopping people from walking the aisles while the game was on. I know in at least the last two seasons the Nats have decided to not let people walk back to their seats while an at bat is going.
   26. SandyRiver Posted: March 27, 2013 at 12:01 PM (#4397616)
Couple-three yr ago I read some "rating" surveys of MLB parks, and PNC/PacBell were consistently 1,2 (or 2,1), and it seemed like there was a significant drop to #3. I personally have no knowledge beyond that, as all of the five MLB parks I've attended in the past are no longer in existence.
   27. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: March 27, 2013 at 12:34 PM (#4397648)
That doesn't really seem to be a flaw of the stadium though.


I don't know. I don't notice it at Fenway. The problem, to me, is that people enter from the top, towards the bottom, rather than from the middle, which cuts their time in the aisle in half.
   28. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: March 27, 2013 at 12:40 PM (#4397653)
But the Ricketts' knew what they were buying when they bought it. If they went in with the intention of enhancing their investment, that's fine, but it's not like they didn't know that there were already a bunch of restrictions in place.

Right, yet somehow Ricketts will win in the end and get the restrictions eased, even though he knew of them full well when he bought in.

Stuff like this is nuts. Here we have a Sand Dune park, it's been there since the 20s or something. It's basically just a big Sand Dune that people run up and down for a workout. It's awesome. It used to be free to everyone and very popular. But of course the local residents complained about traffic, congestion, etc, hurting their home values. And - despite the park and associated traffic being there for many, many years and everyone knowing what they were buying into - they eventually won. Now you have to register online before using the park and the city stations an attendant to check reservations and collect a $1 usage fee. The park is very lightly used today as a result.

"Yes, this is undesirable, but you signed up for it freely when you bought in, so deal with it" should be a winning argument.

   29. Spahn Insane Posted: March 27, 2013 at 12:40 PM (#4397654)
I'm trying to think of a flaw at PNC (went to a series a couple years ago). I guess there's some less desirable seats, but that's everywhere.

I sat in what I think was a box seat up the third base line once; good view of the infield, but the entire view of the left field corner was blocked, which struck me as an odd defect in a new stadium. Great place other than that, and my seats to other games have been fine.
   30. Flynn Posted: March 27, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4397656)
What was your flaw for SF, Fly? I love AT&T Park so I'm curious what it was. I have some ideas but I'll let you have the floor.
   31. SteveM. Posted: March 27, 2013 at 12:51 PM (#4397664)
I took my kids last summer to PNC when the Cubs were in town. I thought it was a gorgeous stadium, far better then Philly's. I preferred driving 5 hours drive to PNC than the hour to Philadelphia because of the difference in stadiums. Plus, the absence of Philly fans.
   32. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 27, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4397667)
miller park is an atrocity and if pnc were a living entity it would have every right to be offended in being lumped in with that sterile, drab, acoustical, shadow ridden abomination.

   33. just plain joe Posted: March 27, 2013 at 12:57 PM (#4397670)
Yes, this is undesirable, but you signed up for it freely when you bought in, so deal with it" should be a winning argument.


You see this all the time with airports. The airport gets built out in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of a field. As time goes by the city expands out to and around the airport, in part because the land is cheaper to buy. Then, after development surrounds the airport, people start to complain about the noise. As far as I'm concerned the complainers can STFU and invest in some earplugs.
   34. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 27, 2013 at 01:06 PM (#4397678)
"Yes, this is undesirable, but you signed up for it freely when you bought in, so deal with it" should be a winning argument


Except when what "you bought in for" includes parasitic neighbors selling seating to watch your games, and their theft protected by local pols.

I'm actively rooting for a new stadium. After all, it's what Wrigleville signed up for when they started to leech from the team too aggressively.
   35. Shredder Posted: March 27, 2013 at 01:34 PM (#4397709)
Except when what "you bought in for" includes parasitic neighbors selling seating to watch your games, and their theft protected by local pols.
I don't think you know what parasitic means. Parasites don't usually have to pay a mutually negotiated fee to their hosts. And the argument that the Cubs don't derive some non-monetary benefit from the rooftops is tenuous at best.
   36. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 27, 2013 at 01:42 PM (#4397714)
I don't think you know what parasitic means. Parasites don't usually have to pay a mutually negotiated fee to their hosts. And the argument that the Cubs don't derive some non-monetary benefit from the rooftops is tenuous at best.


The fee may be "mutually negotiated" in some tenuous form, except that the Cubs have no right to say no, and its clearly well below market. Proof is that Ricketts are willing to forgo that "mutually negotiated" fee in exchange for a billboard, and the leeches pols are blocking them.
   37. JE (Jason) Posted: March 27, 2013 at 02:26 PM (#4397755)
This whole Rosemont debate is so silly. The Cubs aren't moving to the suburbs, they're staying right where they are.

They laughed too when Steinbrenner threatened a move to Jersey....
   38. JE (Jason) Posted: March 27, 2013 at 02:27 PM (#4397758)
Out of all of the parks I've been to I'd say Nationals Park was the most fun park in terms of amenities.

Do Andy and I count as "amenities?" (Hey, now.)
   39. Moeball Posted: March 27, 2013 at 02:34 PM (#4397767)
miller park is an atrocity and if pnc were a living entity it would have every right to be offended in being lumped in with that sterile, drab, acoustical, shadow ridden abomination.


HW - for those of us who haven't been to Milwaukee, what are your major objections to the fan experience of attending games there? Is it actual stadium related stuff(stadium design,seating,views,etc.) or fan experience (food, ambiance) that turns you off so much?

Couple-three yr ago I read some "rating" surveys of MLB parks, and PNC/PacBell were consistently 1,2 (or 2,1), and it seemed like there was a significant drop to #3. I personally have no knowledge beyond that, as all of the five MLB parks I've attended in the past are no longer in existence.


I have heard the same. What is it in terms of these 2 stadiums that people like so much that other places don't have?

Things I like about stadiums - a sense of history, like something important has happened there (Wrigley, Fenway, etc.), good food (I liked what I found up at Safeco in Seattle), fan friendliness/fun neighborhood (Chicago,Boston - I was also surprised when at Yankee Stadium several years ago - fans I met were actually quite friendly and good natured, not quite the stereotype I expected from New Yorkers, I guess - although ill-informed - I had to explain to them who several of the monuments were for in Monument Park). Quirky dimensions/angles are cool, too.

Things I don't like - Corporatization (my own Petco Park in San Diego has employees that seem to go out of their way to make the experience as snooty as possible - Mitt Romney and his peeps would absolutely love it there - they aren't shy about letting you know that "this" person is the right sort who belongs here, but "that" person isn't), bad food (again, Petco is mostly dreadful), no sense of personality (Anaheim)
   40. JE (Jason) Posted: March 27, 2013 at 02:38 PM (#4397769)
I'm trying to think of a flaw at PNC (went to a series a couple years ago). I guess there's some less desirable seats, but that's everywhere.

By far that's my favorite ballpark. The skyline view from the third base side is nothing short of spectacular. I had upper deck seats just outside the foul line and didn't feel for a moment like I was too far from the action.
   41. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 27, 2013 at 02:46 PM (#4397775)
moe

first, i am all for progress. pnc park is great. the san fran park is great. i enjoy the rockies ballpark. Safeco has its elements. i am not stuck in stasis relative to ballparks.

regarding miller park i will speak only to the park itself and not the surrounding area or parking.

night game miller park

--acoustics stink. old county stadium you could really hear the 'crack' of the bat i think because of the back wall of the outfield being tin maybe but either way it was tremendous and now that's lost
--it leaks when it rains
--it can get stuffy as the lake breeze is thwarted
--at best it's bland and at times it feels creepy between the lack of air movement and the weird noise factor.

day game

train wreck because everything still applies and now you have the shadows. as in serious shadows. it's ridiculous. the ballplayers have reason to b8tch and as a fan you also lose the ball as it goes from light to dark or vice-versa. and if you have a guy dealing and the guys don't score early forget it. game over.

the good is still good and you are still watching baseball so i cannot hate everything about going to the ballpark. but it's pushing me to my limits

   42. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: March 27, 2013 at 03:22 PM (#4397813)
I liked Miller park in my one trip there. Then again right after the game I got very very drunk, and may have violated retro's futon.
   43. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 27, 2013 at 03:27 PM (#4397817)
Then again right after the game I got very very drunk, and may have violated retro's futon.


Was the futon also drunk?

Also, how old were you?
   44. Spahn Insane Posted: March 27, 2013 at 03:37 PM (#4397822)
I'd ask the futon, but I discarded it this winter after about 17 years of loyal service. Knowing it, though, it was probably at least pleasantly buzzed.

Miller has too much of the glass "greenhouse effect" for my liking, combined with the Philly park's problem of being kind in the middle of nowhere, in contrast to PNC, which is a hike on a bridge from the center of town (of which it affords a great view, as others have noted).
   45. Brian C Posted: March 27, 2013 at 03:45 PM (#4397825)
What I love about PNC is the sense of place. It's set on the river, with an expansive view of downtown Pittsburgh. We parked the car downtown and walked across the bridge to get there. The whole experience is about being in Pittsburgh, which, all jokes aside, is not a bad place to be at all. And the park is designed to take full advantage of its setting.

Wrigley has this too, in its own way. It's set in a residential neighborhood on the north side of Chicago, and that's exactly what you see when you're watching a game. The experience couldn't be replicated by moving the park somewhere else - the neighborhood is a vital part of that park, and vice versa.

Contrast that with (for example) Rangers Ballpark, which is completely enclosed, and set in the middle of some random suburb. The exterior is very nice, and so is the interior as far as it goes, but once you're inside, you could be anywhere. There's no sense of location at all, and if not for the Rangers logos that you see, you'd have no way of knowing where on Earth you are.
   46. steagles Posted: March 27, 2013 at 04:04 PM (#4397836)
i'm not sure if this is actually a thing, but it seems to me that the park itself might actually hurt the team from a competitive standpoint.

when you look at coors field, you know it's a hitters park
when you look at safeco, you know it's a pitchers park
when you look at NYS, you know it gives a substantial platoon advantage to LHHs


but on any given day, wrigley could be a hitters park or a pitchers park, or the wind could blow out to LF or to RF, so if you're attempting to build a roster that gives you a home-field advantage, there's really no way to do that.

   47. Brian C Posted: March 27, 2013 at 04:07 PM (#4397839)
but on any given day, wrigley could be a hitters park or a pitchers park, or the wind could blow out to LF or to RF, so if you're attempting to build a roster that gives you a home-field advantage, there's really no way to do that.

Maybe, maybe not, but it's unpersuasive to me at this point. The Cubs' history is not exactly replete with strong rosters that have mysteriously failed to perform, if you catch my drift.
   48. McCoy Posted: March 27, 2013 at 04:23 PM (#4397857)
Do Andy and I count as "amenities?" (Hey, now.)

Institutions.

As for Miller Park I liked what got called the "greenhouse effect". To me it gave the field and game a cathedral like vibe and reminded me of old-timey baseball paintings. Never had a problem with the air or temperature and while I've personally seen the leaks in the roof they aren't ubiquitous and they will let you switch seats. The park is relatively easy to get to and get out of provided you don't actually park in the parking lot.
   49. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 27, 2013 at 04:31 PM (#4397869)
if i had to rank the nl central (current form) ballparks it would be as follows:

1. pnc
2. Wrigley
3. st Louis
4. miller
5. cincy's sh8thold

cincy's ballpark buries the needle on bad. one, it's ridiculously bland. fitting that it's named after an insurance company

two, the food stinks save for a few stands scattered hither and yon.

third, and this is what makes it so horrendous, is that you can both drown in your own sweat and suffocate due to the lack of air circulation. it's like they thought they had to cope with the candlestick effect so have thwarted any breezes whatsoever. it's down near the river and when you are getting ot the ballpark you are feeling good. then you sit down and slowly begin to sweat and gasp. it's absurdly 'close' in the feel in terms of the air.

i have relatives and we go in april, may or September. but if you go in the summer months prepare to sweat your 8ss off

no fun.
   50. zonk Posted: March 27, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4397873)
I'd ask the futon, but I discarded it this winter after about 17 years of loyal service. Knowing it, though, it was probably at least pleasantly buzzed.


Take it to the Starlin Castro redux thread...
   51. zonk Posted: March 27, 2013 at 04:40 PM (#4397880)
cincy's ballpark buries the needle on bad. one, it's ridiculously bland. fitting that it's named after an insurance company


Concur on that... I did my first game there last fall, the weekend Cincy clinched (the div title, I think) actually, and while -- granted, I had no real rooting interest, but there are times when you see a game live and glad to have done so and times when you see a game live and think "why did I bother rather than watching from the hotel bar again?"

Attending a game at the GAB definitely fell into the latter category... fortunately, it was Oktoberfest weekend, so plenty of good times were had afterwards.
   52. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: March 27, 2013 at 05:03 PM (#4397909)
PNC is a stunning place to watch a game, especially if you don't watch the product on the field. Actually, the crappiness of the Pirates enhances the PNC experience. When I went on a Fourth of July weekend, I parked downtown (for free, I think), walked across the bridge to the booth, and bought four seats together about fifteen rows from home plate for next to nothing.

What's Safeco's flaw? The soporous fans are the only thing I can think of.
   53. Brian C Posted: March 27, 2013 at 05:03 PM (#4397910)
I liked Great American much more than I thought I would. For one thing, it's smaller than I thought it would be. For another, it doesn't have the greatest riverfront view, but it's pleasant to watch the boats go by, and like I was saying upthread, a geographical element counts for a lot with me. It definitely has a sense of place. And architechturally speaking, I liked how they managed to have an open concourse on the upper level, which I don't think I've seen anywhere else.

I don't hate Miller Park either, but then again, I don't really have rebuttals to anything HW says about it. He's not wrong, and the shadows especially strike me as fundamentally poor design.
   54. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 27, 2013 at 05:11 PM (#4397916)
brian

they need the open concourse so you can up between innings and get some air

and i am not really joking

i know folks think i have a breathing problem but i have chatted with locals at various times and it's a common theme.

they do tell me that riverfront was worse. my relations didn't move into the area until around 2001 and i think the last time i went to riverfront was mid-90's but that was in april
   55. Brian C Posted: March 27, 2013 at 07:44 PM (#4397997)
and i am not really joking

I don't really doubt you. In fact, I had a similar experience this past summer at US Cellular, sitting in the right field corner. Granted, it was near 100 degrees outside (this was the July 4th series against Texas). But still, I've been to a bunch of games actually in Texas in similar weather conditions and never felt like I was suffocating like I did that night. It was the first time in my life I regretted going to a baseball game. Just awful.
   56. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 27, 2013 at 08:10 PM (#4398013)
Maybe, maybe not, but it's unpersuasive to me at this point. The Cubs' history is not exactly replete with strong rosters that have mysteriously failed to perform, if you catch my drift.

This is a good point. They aren't exactly the Mets. What big-name players have mysteriously flopped with the Cubs? Other than the entire 2011 outfield.
   57. zonk Posted: March 27, 2013 at 08:30 PM (#4398024)
Back to the original post... I'm not sure how much one puts into Forbes anymore, but Forbes say the Cubs are the most profitable team in baseball.

Does that change anyone's POV on whether the Ricketts should get their billboards or not? I'm not saying it changes mine, but I'm not saying it doesn't, either...
   58. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: March 27, 2013 at 09:00 PM (#4398032)
HW - for those of us who haven't been to Milwaukee, what are your major objections to the fan experience of attending games there? Is it actual stadium related stuff(stadium design,seating,views,etc.) or fan experience (food, ambiance) that turns you off so much?

Not Harv, but I also don't think much of it. The place just felt sterile. Also, it's the anti-Safeco. When I went to Safeco, it had such an open feeling that I forgot it was a retractable dome, and then spent time trying to figure out where the heck the roof would come from. If I hand't known, I never would've guessed that it was a retractable dome. Miller: going there with the roof open and it felt like a dome. Felt like someone built a dome and then cut a small pie piece out and called it retracatable.

I have heard the same. What is it in terms of these 2 stadiums that people like so much that other places don't have?

Never been to either, but I know this about PNC: Best use of surrounding area ever




   59. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: March 27, 2013 at 09:05 PM (#4398039)
Wrigley has this too, in its own way. It's set in a residential neighborhood on the north side of Chicago, and that's exactly what you see when you're watching a game. The experience couldn't be replicated by moving the park somewhere else - the neighborhood is a vital part of that park, and vice versa.

Yeah. I love sitting in the upper deck on the third base side. Get the bird's eye view of the stadium and surrounding area. You can see the redline roll past on the L. When it's clear you can see the lake in the distance, just great. Oh - they're also the best upper deck seats in baseball, bar none. Since it's an old stadium, they really put you close to the action.

(The downside is that the seats in the back half of the lower deck are among the worst in baseball because the overhang obstructs the view).
   60. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: March 27, 2013 at 09:08 PM (#4398040)
What's Safeco's flaw? The soporous fans are the only thing I can think of.

Absolutely fantastic place in my experience. The only downside is that I thought the food prices were high, even by the standards of ballpark food prices. If that's a misperception of my part, I can't think of any flaw.
   61. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: March 27, 2013 at 09:25 PM (#4398043)
Absolutely fantastic place in my experience. The only downside is that I thought the food prices were high, even by the standards of ballpark food prices. If that's a misperception of my part, I can't think of any flaw.


The food prices can be high, but the food quality is also very good. Being in Seattle, lots of items are locally sourced, grass-fed, etc., generally in the same ballpark of prices you'd pay in a gourmet/high end sandwich shop. They have a huge selection of local craft beer as well, although I do find the beer prices especially high.

The fans can be a little sleepy, but if there were a decent team in there with something resembling an offense I think it would perk up a little.

Parking is not great at Safeco, however that's going to be true of any stadium in an urban area.
   62. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: March 27, 2013 at 09:44 PM (#4398051)
When I went to Safeco, it had such an open feeling that I forgot it was a retractable dome, and then spent time trying to figure out where the heck the roof would come from. If I hand't known, I never would've guessed that it was a retractable dome.


A quibble: Safeco isn't a dome. It has a retractable roof, but it's almost entirely detached from the stadium. When it's retracted, it sits over the adjacent railroad tracks, and when it closes, it slides over the stadium but doesn't seal it off. Which, of course, is what makes it so cool.
   63. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: March 27, 2013 at 11:12 PM (#4398111)
I agree with most of HW's comments on Miller Park, (former season ticket holder, live elsewhere now). The roof definitely needs to be more recessed, it isn't hole in the roof Cowboys Stadium like but it can feel that way sometime. Day games are compromised

HW is most correct about the ambient sounds. County Stadium was w/o peer (maybe Tiger Stadium) in generating such an awesome sound of a bat crack. It had to be that corrugated tin. It looked bad (the tin) but it created such a great sound. When I think of the sounds of Miller Park, I think of Rob Edwards (PA announcer) and his voice bouncing everywhere, he's got a good voice, just not in this space.

Otherwise it is still very comfortable, easy to navigate, lots of useful places to watch the game from other than your seat, and the fare is fine, or bring your own. The locale and its surrounding asphalt, a total necessity. Tailgating demands it, I can't wait for this Monday. The roof, while botched in its execution and the unintended consequences mentioned here, does achieve its principal goal, making April, May (and some June/September) games much more comfortable, plus and the Brewers data backs this, they can count on many more people out of Milwaukee metro area to come to the park. That's part guaranteed game play (minus the one game in the first season w/ the power failure vs KC) and in part the club has done a tremendous job in marketing to its surrounding metro areas (Fox Valley, Madison, Green Bay).

One thing I'll note about Milwaukee baseball crowds, they seem much younger than most other ballparks I attend (about six parks a year). The tailgating explains a lot of this I suspect, and the price/accessibility.
   64. Howie Menckel Posted: March 27, 2013 at 11:21 PM (#4398119)
Love Pittsburgh.
Love Milwaukee.
Miller Park - not so much (shut down the kids batting cage DURING THE GAME! keep the toddler areas open, sure)

My pals and I have spent tens of thousands of dollars over the years in Wrigley/plus/ville plus airfare, hotel, meals, etc. If they move to a suburb, pass.

Tourism has to be considered...

   65. Walt Davis Posted: March 28, 2013 at 01:53 AM (#4398158)
What was your flaw for SF

You smell like garlic fries for another three days.

the best upper deck seats in baseball, bar none.

This is the main problem with the newer stadiums I've been to (just a few) ... unless you're in the rich seats, you are light years away. I think I've only paid for box seats at Wrigley once in my life, never saw much point to it.
   66. Flynn Posted: March 28, 2013 at 05:18 AM (#4398175)
I've never been to Camden Yards but I'd be interested to see how the upper deck seats are there. The club and designers decided not to build an open concourse at the top of the lower deck precisely so upper deck seats wouldn't be in the stratosphere. You're really high up at AT&T Park, though you're right on top of the field and obviously the view is awesome.
   67. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: March 28, 2013 at 12:43 PM (#4398485)
What was your flaw for SF, Fly? I love AT&T Park so I'm curious what it was. I have some ideas but I'll let you have the floor.


In the upper deck, the glass "Don't fall from the end of the stairway" barriers blocked the view from many of the seats.
   68. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: March 28, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4398492)
And again, I'm not really complaining about any park. I'm just saying they all have SOME flaws, and Fenway's flaws are not that significant.
   69. Shredder Posted: March 28, 2013 at 01:00 PM (#4398503)
In the upper deck, the glass "Don't fall from the end of the stairway" barriers blocked the view from many of the seats.
I found the same issue, though with large pipes instead of glass, at the Shark Tank in San Jose (HP Pavilion these days?). The one game I saw there, we sat in the first row of the second deck, which is the row behind the broadcasters. We were on or near the aisle. The stairs from the concourse go up facing towards the ice (you then turn and walk up past the rows to find your seat). They had these big bars at the top of the stairs to keep you from falling into the first deck. Problem was those bars obscured one entire zone of the ice from our seats. Really piss-poor design in this day and age. Inexcusable.
   70. john_halfz Posted: March 28, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4398506)
PNC is the best park in baseball. You have to sit in the infield, preferably behind the plate, for the full effect. I've had two wonderful experiences there.

At the end of 2006, when Sanchez was going to win the batting title, and they got great crowds for two of the three games I went to. I had great seats for the last game of the year. On a whim, I went to the Friday night game, and was able to stand behind the plate for $8.

I took my son to his first game last summer (too early for him, but I mostly just wanted to go see McCutchen) when they were still in it. They bludgeoned St. Louis, which was nice, but I remember a feeling of excitement when Andrew hit a ball off the wall in the twilight that was the way I used to feel when my man Don Mattingly was up when I was a kid in the late 80s. I'm not even a Pirates fan, but Clemente Bridge, the backdrop, the fan enthusiasm, the light, and that tremendous center fielder. What a place to drink IC.

For the record, I haven't been to all of the current stadiums, just: NYY, BOS, BAL, TBR, DET, CHW, CLE, OAK, LAA, SEA, ATL, PHI, NYM, STL, MIL, PIT, CHI, SFG, LAD, SDP, COL. I'll hit WAS on July 5, but have a hard time believing that Nats Park, or any of the other remaining places, will hold a candle.
   71. john_halfz Posted: March 28, 2013 at 01:06 PM (#4398511)
Harvey's:

Milwaukee is a nice place, but in a sea of asphalt with a freeway location (only LAD gets off the hook for that), and sort of grandiose for what it is. I like the fan enthusiasm, and the building isn't ugly, but the weird hangar look doesn't offset the overall sterility.

They also had cheerleaders when I went, which was stupid. AND Boof Bonser beat them. I think I sat three rows behind the plate, but it didn't really feel that close; like most of the new places, I can only imagine what it's like if you're way up.

Not meant to be meanspirited. My home base, NYS, commits literally every sin in the new stadium handbook.
   72. SoSH U at work Posted: March 28, 2013 at 01:20 PM (#4398525)
Milwaukee is a nice place, but in a sea of asphalt with a freeway location (only LAD gets off the hook for that),


That was done specifically for tailgating. And during my one visit there (a July day game), the number of people tailgating was impressive.

I kind of liked Milwaukee's park, in part because it was quite different than any of the other parks I'd been in. I don't know how that stands up to repeat visits.
   73. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: March 28, 2013 at 04:59 PM (#4398685)
GAB is OK except for the fact that the place turns into a freaking oven under the noon sun. The last time I went it was only in the mid 70s and I wouldn't be surprised if the temperature in our section approached 100. It was almost literally unbearable.
   74. Flynn Posted: March 28, 2013 at 05:09 PM (#4398690)
What's the point of the roof in Miller Park?
   75. OsunaSakata Posted: March 28, 2013 at 06:26 PM (#4398731)
I thought that a lot of the improvements to Fenway Park was from turning the surrounding streets into concourses and other revenue generating areas. I don't think that can be down with Wrigley. As as been mentioned before, the Cubs don't own the surrounding streets and that's part of their problem.

I was at New Comiskey in September 1991 and at the first game at Camden Yards in nearly the same location in the upper deck along the right field foul line. Compared to U.S. Cellular, Camden Yards is much less steep and less high in the upper deck. It seemed that three levels of luxury suites were installed for the White Sox, but only one level in Baltimore.
   76. asinwreck Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:05 PM (#4398816)
Pittsburgh used to do a terrible job of showing off its rivers. Aside from Point State Park and the seventy billion bridges, few public amenities made use of the river. Mills cut off access in much of the city. Even Three River Stadium was a concrete bowl obscuring views of the city.

PNC Park is part of a change in the 21st century opening up more access to the waterways. That it also provides a view of downtown makes its sense of site even better. (That this replaced the atrocity of Three Rivers Stadium makes it better still.)

Nationals Park reminded me of the new park in Cincinnati. All the modern bells and whistles, but I don't see the attachment of the park to its site the way the parks in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and even Cleveland do.

...that said, my favorite of the new parks is Comerica (even with its surroundings).
   77. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:33 PM (#4398840)
What's the point of the roof in Miller Park?

Sometimes it rains.

As for the talk of tailgating, while I'm not a tailgater myself, the Milwaukee stadiums (same location for new and old one) have the most impressive tailgating facilities I've ever seen. If they factored that into its location, that makes sense. They know their fans.
   78. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 09:47 PM (#4398851)
What's the point of the roof in Miller Park?


put it this way, I sold (I didn't try, I sold it) hot chocolate (vending in the stands) on the first base (shade) side at County Stadium on July 4th one year.
That's why there's a roof, although mostly for April, May, parts of June and Sept.

Dag is right, tailgating is very important, and either reason 1a or 1b for why the stadium was built on the same site as Co. Stadium.
   79. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: March 28, 2013 at 10:31 PM (#4398887)
I've never been to Camden Yards but I'd be interested to see how the upper deck seats are there.


My ex-wife and I went to a game at Camden Yards and we found the upper deck so steep that we both had the feeling of looking out over a cliff at the field. It was disconcerting and uncomfortable enough that she was ready to leave after the 5th inning.
   80. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 10:54 PM (#4398906)
I always thought old Memorial Stadium had the steepest upper deck I had ever seen.
   81. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:03 PM (#4398908)
I've never been to Camden Yards but I'd be interested to see how the upper deck seats are there.


It is steep, but it's close and feels close. I've mostly sat in the last few rows of the upper deck on the third base side, and it's a great experience. I've also sat in the last few rows of the lower deck on the first base side, which is extremely close--Tiger Stadium close for the equivalent seats. I expected to think Camden Yards was overrated, but I love it--it's really what its most vocal proponents say it is.
   82. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: March 28, 2013 at 11:22 PM (#4398914)
I enjoy Camden. I've been there early after it opened and recently, it is showing its age as 20 yrs or whatever but it is still a great ballpark, even if the play Cotton Eye'd Joe.
   83. Shredder Posted: March 29, 2013 at 12:46 PM (#4399173)
What's the point of the roof in Miller Park?
The roof came in pretty handy when they moved the Angels/Indians series to Milwaukee when Cleveland was snowed out. I don't think it snowed too much during the game I went to, but it was damn cold.
   84. Spahn Insane Posted: March 29, 2013 at 01:06 PM (#4399185)
The roof came in pretty handy when they moved the Angels/Indians series to Milwaukee when Cleveland was snowed out. I don't think it snowed too much during the game I went to, but it was damn cold.

Yeah, I once tailgated at an April game at Miller on a 19-degree day (BBTF meetup, actually). Safe to say the game wouldn't have been played without the roof.
   85. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: March 29, 2013 at 02:21 PM (#4399213)
The roof came in pretty handy when they moved the Angels/Indians series to Milwaukee when Cleveland was snowed out. I don't think it snowed too much during the game I went to, but it was damn cold.

I made a point of going up to Milwaukee to see one of those games, just for the novelty. I definitely recall the snow that night (obviously outside).
   86. JE (Jason) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 06:59 PM (#4400335)
   87. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:43 PM (#4400426)
I went to Target Field in Minneapolis a couple of times last year, and it's a pretty nice spot. The right field stands are a fun place to sit, though you can't see all the way to the RF wall -- you're way up high, but you're totally on top of the field and you can still see. The only problem (for me) is that I get vertigo sometimes and the vertiginous angle of the stand is a little bit worrying if I let myself think about it.

The other thing is that there is very, very little shade in huge portions of the park, and as a result you just ROAST on a hot day. My dad & I sat down the 1B line lat summer during a heat wave and we ended up spending most of the first few innings standing in the concourse. Once the sun was down it was better.

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