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Thursday, April 12, 2018

The White Sox ballpark in Chicago that never was and could have changed history

Dayn Perry with a tremendous article on Philip Bess and his attempts to design a ballpark that combined the best of the Wrigley-Fenway-Comiskey era parks along with modern amenities.  He came up with Armour Field and the piece has illustrations of what might have been for the White Sox instead of Guaranteed Rate Field.

“Despite its pastoral creation myth, baseball has been a city game all the way back to those misunderstood origins. In that sense, it seems fitting that the game’s canvas — the ballpark — should conform to the city and not contrariwise. That’s the argument that Armour Field made. It seems we found that argument wanting, or perhaps we didn’t listen to it closely enough. We should always listen to things like this because baseball is the chamber piece among sports. The setting matters, sometimes more than we know.”

Elvis Posted: April 12, 2018 at 12:02 PM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: ballparks, chicago white sox

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   1. Styles P. Deadball Posted: April 12, 2018 at 08:50 PM (#5652711)
Interesting article. I'm not sure the limited parking would have ever flown, particularly in that era and part of the city. It would have been nice to see the park as a viable part of a neighborhood, though.
   2. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: April 12, 2018 at 09:41 PM (#5652761)
This is a great read.
   3. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 12, 2018 at 11:34 PM (#5652872)
Interesting, but those dimensions (400 feet to center, 421 to the alleys, 388 to the first turn in the outfield, and 283 down the lines) would reward pop flies down the lines, while mighty blasts to the outfield alleys would be heavily penalized. Not sure we'd really want to see that after the novelty wore off.
   4. Chicago Joe Posted: April 12, 2018 at 11:37 PM (#5652875)
But Reinsdorf got his land.
   5. DavidFoss Posted: April 13, 2018 at 08:11 AM (#5652922)
Interesting, but those dimensions (400 feet to center, 421 to the alleys, 388 to the first turn in the outfield, and 283 down the lines) would reward pop flies down the lines, while mighty blasts to the outfield alleys would be heavily penalized. Not sure we'd really want to see that after the novelty wore off.

That sounds a lot like the Polo Grounds.
   6. Perry Posted: April 13, 2018 at 10:42 AM (#5653023)
That sounds a lot like the Polo Grounds.


Very much like the Polo Grounds, as TFA points out. Terrific piece, well worth the time.
   7. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: April 13, 2018 at 10:56 AM (#5653052)
I'm very glad I read that. Among other things it's a very useful bit of revisionist history about the birth of the retro-park era. (EDIT: Or at least revisionist for someone like me, who didn't track the creation of Camden Yards at all closely.)

At the end I can't help thinking that there was no way in hell that the White Sox would have gone for a thing like Armour Field, but also thinking that had it somehow been forced on them then the Sox, Bridgeport, and the game as a whole would be better off for it.
   8. DL from MN Posted: April 13, 2018 at 11:40 AM (#5653111)
I like the idea but would have moved the power alleys in to add more outfield seating.
   9. Styles P. Deadball Posted: April 13, 2018 at 01:35 PM (#5653258)
One thing I thought (and it's only a guess) is that TFA mentioned Reinsdorf loved Royals Stadium and wanted to mimic it. That may have been, but 1991 Comiskey II ended up almost a dead ringer for 1973 Yankee Stadium, not necessarily field dimensions, but in its look).
   10. Jesse Barfield's Right Arm Posted: April 13, 2018 at 02:15 PM (#5653293)
Well worth the read, even beyond the drawings. Had no idea the team was only 43 votes away from moving to the Addison suburbs.
   11. Hank G. Posted: April 14, 2018 at 07:08 PM (#5653939)
I think “Guaranteed Rate” it a really stupid name for a mortgage company (how often is the rate really guaranteed?), but it doesn’t hold a candle to my mortgage holder, Nationstar, which recently changed it’s name to “Mr. Cooper”. I am sure that some PR firm told them that the name Mr. Cooper would make them seem folksy and friendly.

They keep calling me to do a refi to take equity out of my house. Normally, I wouldn’t even answer the phone since caller ID tells me who they are. Recently, though, I have been answering the phone and telling them that I would never do business willingly with a company that calls itself “Mr. Cooper”, because it is so ridiculous.
   12. Howie Menckel Posted: April 14, 2018 at 07:29 PM (#5653942)
I would tell them that you will only make the deal if they get Mr. Cooper himself on the phone
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: April 14, 2018 at 08:01 PM (#5653950)
Recently, though, I have been answering the phone and telling them that I would never do business willingly with a company that calls itself “Mr. Cooper”, because it is so ridiculous.


You're passing up a chance to hang with him.

   14. DFA Posted: April 15, 2018 at 02:04 AM (#5654048)
Worth the read, and those sketches are so compelling. Growing up an Oriole fan, I thought it was so strange that Memorial Stadium was in a neighborhood, moreso now as I have become used to "stadium districts" etc. But stadiums built for suburbs do not feel right either.
   15. Hank G. Posted: April 15, 2018 at 02:25 AM (#5654050)
A little more on topic; while the idea of the grandstand seats being closer to the field sounds great, I think there is a reason designers went with the setback upper decks: those supporting poles are as annoying as hell when they are between you and the field. I don’t buy the arguments that they are easy to see around. Try placing a broomstick upright between yourself and your television. The broomstick hides only a tiny portion of the screen and you can easily see around the broomstick by moving your head back and forth, but for me it is so distracting as to totally ruin the experience. Obviously some people would be less bothered by it, but very few people are agitating for the return of upper decks held up by supports that block the view in the lower stands.

The one time i went to a game at Wrigley Field, I made sure the seats I bought were not far enough back to have the supports obstructing my view.
   16. Buck Coats Posted: April 15, 2018 at 10:12 AM (#5654062)
very few people are agitating for the return of upper decks held up by supports that block the view in the lower stands


People who sit in the upper deck sure are!
   17. eric Posted: April 15, 2018 at 11:24 AM (#5654072)
my mortgage holder, Nationstar, which recently changed it’s name to “Mr. Cooper”.


That explains all the out of the blue spam emails from Mr. Cooper. I was concerned my email was getting circulated on some sort of spam list. Nationstar had one of my mortgages until about a year ago.
   18. John DiFool2 Posted: April 15, 2018 at 12:30 PM (#5654094)
Me, I'd like to see more extreme parks with meaningful fence distance differences (vs. today's "retro" parks, with all of those pointless nooks and crannies and where
they yank in the fences after a couple of years of complaints anyway).
   19. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 15, 2018 at 01:40 PM (#5654110)
I am no architect, but couldn't you have fewer, but larger, supports in the lower deck and put concessions behind them instead of seats?
   20. Brian C Posted: April 15, 2018 at 08:02 PM (#5654294)
What I've found with the Wrigleyville development is that Wrigley actually feels more like part of the neighborhood than it did before. The Waveland and Sheffield sides of the park always felt neighborhoody, lined as they are with (notionally) residential buildings, but the Clark and Addison sides were mostly wasteland. Of course, that wasteland only extended the depth of the lots lining those streets, and once you got beyond that you were squarely in very residential areas. But still, it felt like there was a break in continuity in the neighborhood. But developing the triangle into a public space and building up Clark and Addison seems like a big win so far. More than ever, it'll feel like a little neighborhood stadium.

It'll be interesting to see how the Brown Line flyover that's getting built affects Wrigleyville, too.
   21. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: April 16, 2018 at 09:50 AM (#5654480)
I am no architect, but couldn't you have fewer, but larger, supports in the lower deck and put concessions behind them instead of seats?

The problem with obstructed seats isn't so much the supporting poles. It's that if you put the upper deck closer to the field, people in the lower decks can't track fly balls. That's the main way their view gets obstructed.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 16, 2018 at 09:58 AM (#5654486)

The problem with obstructed seats isn't so much the supporting poles. It's that if you put the upper deck closer to the field, people in the lower decks can't track fly balls. That's the main way their view gets obstructed.


None of this was an issue at Yankee Stadium after the 1975 renovation. They got rid of the columns, and still had a loge and upper deck with significant over-hang of the field. See.

http://www.andrewclem.com/Baseball/YankeeStadium.html

It was a much better design than the current monstrosity.
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 16, 2018 at 10:26 AM (#5654502)
Too late to edit, but that should read "significant over-hang of the lower deck". Obviously it didn't overhang the field.
   24. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 16, 2018 at 11:24 AM (#5654536)
It's that if you put the upper deck closer to the field, people in the lower decks can't track fly balls. That's the main way their view gets obstructed.
Which, as TFA mentions, is a huge problem with approximately the back third, maybe a little more, of the lower deck at Wrigley. I don't think this was really an issue until they put in the luxury boxes, which drop down from the upper deck, but maybe someone who remembers Wrigley pre-suites could weigh in?
   25. SoSH U at work Posted: April 16, 2018 at 11:34 AM (#5654541)
Which, as TFA mentions, is a huge problem with approximately the back third, maybe a little more, of the lower deck at Wrigley.


I've only been to Wrigley a couple of times, and sat in the upper deck on both occasions. I don't think I'd even accept a ticket in the back third of the lower deck. I would feel uncomfortable trying to watch a game from there.

   26. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 16, 2018 at 11:44 AM (#5654550)
I don't think I'd even accept a ticket in the back third of the lower deck. I would feel uncomfortable trying to watch a game from there.
That's pretty much where I've been at for several years now. I will only sit in the "letterbox" seats if I'm going with other people who have already bought the tickets. The particularly ridiculous thing is that they're not cheap at all. You can get much better seats in the upper deck (even in the 500 sections) for significantly less money.
   27. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: April 16, 2018 at 11:48 AM (#5654554)
I too would never sit in back 1/3rd of the lower deck. The Suites did make a big difference in that respect. I still have an old sketch somewhere around my house of 'acceptable' Wrigley sections/seats, I don't go as often anymore (live further away, have kids, etc.) IIRC there's a lot that's off limits (mainly to avoid poles upstairs and the aforementioned seats which are buried.
   28. Lassus Posted: April 16, 2018 at 11:57 AM (#5654562)
It's that if you put the upper deck closer to the field, people in the lower decks can't track fly balls. That's the main way their view gets obstructed.
Which, as TFA mentions, is a huge problem with approximately the back third, maybe a little more, of the lower deck at Wrigley.


The Mezz at Shea - from where I saw (some of) Piazza's 9/11 HR - had this problem.

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