Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Fousesquawk Field- The Perfect Baseball Park

top to bottom:

Citi Field-New home of the New York Mets
Ebbets Field-former home of the Brooklyn Dodgers
Crosley Field-former home of the Cincinnati Reds

When it comes to the subject of baseball, I am an old purist. To me, the greatest ballparks were those built before World War 1. Sadly, only two remain-Boston's Fenway Park and Chicago's Wrigley Field. The others are gone, mostly replaced by the infamous cookie cutter all purpose stadiums of the 1970s, and now by the so-called retro-parks. I applaud the idea of the retro-parks that try to bring back the flavor of years-gone by, but they are not perfect. Financial considerations have necessited modern conveniences such as luxury boxes, huge neon scoreboards and triple decks. Some of the stadiums, like San Diego's Petco Park seem to go overboard on the idiosyncracies. Anyway, I will now try to engage in designing "The Perfect Baseball Park".

First of all, as to the exterior, I would try to bring back the classic look of Brooklyn's Ebbets Field-which is exactly what the Mets have seemingly done with their new park-Citi Field-which will open next year. The design of the outside looks great. Unfortunately, the inside doesn't. Huge scoreboards, triple deck bleachers- ugh.

Secondly, it goes without saying that the outfield fence should not be symmetrical.

Third, the grandstands should be no more than double deck-or anywhere else for that matter. Triple deck is out. You could do what Wrigley Field did-convert the press box into luxury boxes without detracting much from the coziness of the park. Aside from that, forget the luxury boxes. Total attendance capacity? No more than 40,000.

Absolutely no roof-retractable or otherwise.

Foul lines should be fairly close to the stands, so the fans can actually hear the players chatter. (or does that word and idea even exist anymore in baseball?) Or better yet, the players can hear the fans "chatter".

The big question is what to do with the bleachers and space beyond the outfield walls. You could have a small portion of the space with double decks-a la Texas, but not all the way around. Old Ebbets Field with its double deck bleacher extending from the left field foul pole to center field and just a right field wall would be nice. If the bullpens are too big and intrusive in the outfield, then put them along the right and left field foul lines like in Wrigley. At any rate, the left field fence and right field fence should be different. Perhaps you could have a small bleacher section in right and just a wall in left, such as in old Crosley Field in Cincinnati. There should be an open feel behind the outfield with a good view of the city in the background. (unless the stadium is in Newark).

As for the scoreboard, I say do away with neon. We didn't need them in the old days, and we don't need them now. Have one scoreboard out there with the home game and out-of-town scores-forget the advertising.

At any rate, a great design could be chosen by going over photos of all the old ballparks that no longer exist. Pick and choose the best parts. The main thing is don't forget the coziness. Each seat should be a great seat and each fan should have a chance of catching a ball.

I have attached pictures of the new Citi Field in New York along with old Ebbets Field in Brooklyn and old Crosley Field in Cincinnati. A proper combination would be dynamite. We might even give it one of those big corporate names like.....Fousesquawk Field.

I know. The whole thing is one big pipe dream.


Anonymous said...

I'd definitely visit Fousesquawk Field.

I really enjoyed this post. I agree about the advertising. The amount of advertising has really gotten obscene at Dodger Stadium, even just in my lifetime. I can't see them turning back though, unfortunately.

I still can't believe they're tearing down Yankee Stadium. Although in my Dad's opinion it hasn't really been Yankee Stadium since they renovated it in the 70s. But still.

Gary Fouse said...


Your Dad is correct. The old Yankee Stadium had a much different look and had more character. I only visited the place after the renovation, and it is kind of like Dodger Stadium.

As for the new place, it may be nicer in some respects, but they can never say-this is where Ruth, Gehrig, Di Maggio and Mantle played.

If you ever get the chance, you have to see a game at Fenway or Wrigley. It is a completely different experience.

AmPowerBlog said...

Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah!

Gary Fouse said...

Right back at you, Donald!

Seat Vacations said...

love the photos!