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Two “New” CFL Stadiums

Posted by Sean Rowland on July 3, 2014

CFL.
This may be my first and only post solely related to the CFL and updates to The List. In the professional football league up north, we note two changes to the perennially stable set of teams. In Ottawa, the CFL is back for a third stint and it will be another team nicknamed starting with the letter “R”. It is the RedBlacks and you will not see me putting that in all caps like the team wants. Historic Lansdowne Park is the site of the stadium and a complete renovation/rebuild has led to essentially new TD Place Stadium. Soccer will also be played here next season as the Ottawa Fury become part of the NASL. The whole complex along the Rideau Canal is interesting in that it also includes the Ottawa Civic Center (now branded as TD Place Arena), which is formerly the home to the NHL’s Senators and since they moved to Kanata, the OHL has played there. The Civic Center had a refurbishment and this is one of the architecturally more interesting arenas around as the building is actually part of the stadium’s north stands.

In Hamilton, they also built a new stadium on the site of their old one. After a year in a pseudo-temp facility all the way in Guelph, the Ti-Cats return home where Tim Hortons Field replaces Ivor Wynne Stadium. However, that replacement is not ready quite yet. While management says the facility will be ready July 26 for the opener, there will be plenty of work to go. For one, the scoreboard is not going to be up this season, nor will several bathrooms. And its not even assured that construction will crank enough to get the place ready for football in a few weeks. The more I read, the more it seems that problems have beset this place. I hope for the sake of the fans that had their team pulled away 45 minutes to the northwest last year, that they have a home opener to welcome back their team.

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Stadium List Updates for March

Posted by Sean Rowland on March 24, 2014

Indoor Football

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This month features a hodgepodge of updates with various leagues resuming. Most of the indoor football circuits start back up around this time, so let’s start there. At the top in the AFL, Utah and Chicago are out while LA and Portland are in. LA is interesting in that they are known as the “Kiss” with some really wacky uniforms.  It is the band KISS that owns the team. What is it with rockers getting into the arena league? (Bon Jovi once co-owned the Philadelphia Soul) I won’t go through all of the other franchise changes in the lower leagues, only ones that have an impact on
The List. In the IFL, an arena has reopened after two years of renovations. The Cedar Rapids Titans return back to the US Cellular Center (not to be confused with the other US Cellulared arenas in the Midwest). Chicago’s not able to get this arena game to stick as a different franchise in the area (Slaughter) folded. Now, the only main tenant in the Sears Centre is the little known Outlaws of the CILL (that’s lacrosse).

The CPIFL seems to have a good thing going with a midwestern outfit of generally stable teams. However, the KC franchise did fold and that also closes the book on the ill-fated Kemper Arena. Expect this historic venue to be renovated for other uses or sadly torn down. Meanwhile, deeper in Kansas, I was pleasantly surprised to find an arena I had no idea existed. In 2011, Dodge City completed the United Wireless Arena and this 4,220-seat facility welcomes a CPIFL franchise this spring. Welcome! Elsewhere, the home of the Oklahoma Defenders (located in Tulsa) got a new name: Cox Business Center. Sure, that sounds like a place for football.

In the PIFL, three teams are out, with two of them sadly taking an arena off The List. Albany got booted from the Civic Center, while in Lake Charles, one of the longer running teams in the Louisiana Swashbucklers, folded. That leaves Sudduth Coliseum without sports. Two new franchises came on, including one in Nashville. The Venom will play in the Municial Auditorium, where the Ohio Valley Basketball Tournament has been held recently. We also welcome back Sun National Bank Center in Trenton as they went a winter without hockey, but the expansion Freedom will play on the green turf indoors. There is a league in Texas (LSFL) and two franchise foldings meant we say goodbye to a pair of mid-size arenas in Abilene and Laredo. We’ll ignore the disshevled AIF and say hello to the X-League (no not the XFL). Five teams begin that startup league, along with two new stadiums. First, in Birmingham, the Alabama Outlawz will play at Bill Harris Arena. The other two facilities in the league (Lakeland Center and St. Charles’ Family Arena) feature teams that moved from the UIFL. Confused yet?

In baseball, Spring Training brought a new ballpark to the mix as the Cubs opened Cubs Park in Mesa. Their old home, HoHoKam Stadium, will be renovated this year and eventually house the Oakland A’s next season. While the arms race builds in the college game, only two new parks open and they are both under the required 3,500 capacity limit. UIC introduces Granderson Stadium, while in Seattle, Husky Ballpark offers a spectacular view in the outfield.
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Looking ahead to 2014

Posted by Sean Rowland on January 2, 2014

What will be the future of the Oakland A's (picture from Stadium Journey)

What will be the future of the Oakland A’s (picture from Stadium Journey)

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Heading into the year 2014, there are a lot of interesting stories to follow in the world of stadiums. These are worth keeping an eye on and I am particularly intrigued by some of the following:
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- What happens to the Oakland A’s? This has been a multi-year battle between many different forces with the San Francisco Giants also playing a role in the territorial right of blocking a move to San Jose. Everyone may have a differing opinion on where the team should go, but I think all will agree the Coliseum is just a bad ballpark. I personally don’t mind if Oakland goes to another city, just as long as it is somewhere still in Northern California.
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- How will MLS expansion play out? Doug Garber’s vision of 24 teams by 2020 means that we are likely looking at three more teams to be announced in the coming years. Here’s hoping that they stay away from cities that already have plenty of other pro teams (Minneapolis, Atlanta) and go into smaller markets with rabid soccer fan bases. Otherwise, their looking at repeated mistakes (see: Miami). While I think Beckham will get his wish, that will leave two new franchises. My hope is that they go to San Antonio and Indianapolis.

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- Speaking of MLS, how about planned stadiums? Lots of questions here…Where will NYCFC play when they start in a year? Will the DC stadium situation get completed? When will San Jose’s delayed stadium open?

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- Will new arenas get built in Seattle or Las Vegas? I think the Seattle situation depends on whether an NBA or NHL tenant arrives. Vegas is another story. At some point, the glitziest arena ever will become reality, but who does it and when is the question. Lots of ideas and proposals over the years and they just keep flying in, one more ridiculous than the next.

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- Who will keep up in the College Football Stadium arms race? It seems to be never-ending, but all the big name schools keep expanding their stadium in the name of the Benjamin. This upcoming year it is Texas A&M, Ohio State and LSU that see their facility go over the 100,000 mark for seating capacity.

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How many more crazy court designs will we see on the college hardwood? It all started with Oregon’s “Deep in the Woods” design and in this copy-cat world, other teams have followed suit in recent years. Teams with a beach nearby seem to love this concept (see Fullerton, Long Beach State and FIU, where the ocean and out-of-bounds meet). Unfortunately, I see this trend continuing.

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- How will the stadium-city battles play out? Three cities to watch for…Sacramento, Tampa and Richmond. Both Sacramento and Tampa have had the most media play and publicity. While both are intriguing, an under-the-radar battle is in Richmond, where the site of a new ballpark is hotly debated. The Diamond is in the Boulevard section of Richmond, an easily accessible area of the city. Leaders are looking at the Shockoe Bottom district, however the controversial site is a former slave-trading center and not everybody wants a ballpark there.

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- Will the number of empty seats at professional events continue? Yes. This was most evident during the last month or so of the NFL regular season.
Pittsburgh (where the supposedly greatest fans are) featured tons of yellow open seats the last several home games. Club sections everywhere looked many times like they were filled to half the capacity (Cincinnati and Kansas City come to mind). This isn’t just an NFL thing either as the smaller attendance is occurring in other leagues too, especially MLB. This trend may not show up in the hard numbers as paid attendance figures remain stationary thanks to either inaccurate reporting or inflation due to comps, giveaways or buyouts (see owner Ralph Wilson buying up to 3,500 Buffalo Bills tickets to ensure a sellout). However, the number of people staying home and skipping out on all the high costs is noticeable.
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Wrapping up 2013

Posted by Sean Rowland on December 23, 2013

Close call, but PPL Park is my favorite stadium of 2013

Close call, but PPL Park is my favorite stadium of 2013

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What better way to close out 2013 with a perpetually ripped-off “Best Of” list that is becoming a tradition in these parts.  A total of 14 new stadiums were visited this year and there was one for each month except December. The number of local stadiums remaining within a 3 hour drive is dwindling so more spaced out road trips are likely over the next few years. I’m really in a lucky spot as so many big cities and weekend road trips are drivable from Northwest NJ. Without further ado, let’s wrap up the past year!

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Favorite New Stadium:  PPL Park……Location, Location, Location. Well, let’s re-phrase that: View, View, View. While Chester, PA is not exactly a top place to visit, they placed this soccer-specific stadium in a spot that makes for a terrific backdrop. Sitting on the south-side stands gives the crowd a look at the towering Commodore Barry Bridge, with the Delaware River running underneath. The stadium design along with great fans and an awesome supporters section in the Sons of Ben made the home of the Philadelphia Union a personal favorite.
………Honorable Mention: Camden Yards, Mohegan Sun Arena, Memorial Field

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Highest-Rated New Stadium:  Camden Yards (Ranking: 89.0)……Holy crap, I never thought I would see a stadium approach a ranking of 90. Out of the 144 stadiums seen thus far, Baltimore’s gem is the highest rated by 4.5 points. It is amazing that after 21 years, Camden Yards still shines as one of the best and even though it is a ballpark that is overly replicated, the original still amazes. I had a hard time gauging the atmosphere as my Saturday afternoon July game was decent, but the buzz seemed to be lacking on TV games I saw during their pennant race. Regardless, everything else about this ballpark is near perfect.
………Honorable Mention: Mohegan Sun Arena, PPL Park, Metro Bank Park

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Worst New Stadium:  Yale Bowl……One word: Splinters. I won’t blast this place more than I already did, but for all the history and nostalgia, I just couldn’t get past what a crumbling and uncomfortable stadium it is. If you want to see historic Ivy stadiums, stick with Penn or Harvard.
………Honorable Mention: Tom Gola Arena

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Favorite New City:  Hanover, NH…..Try to imagine the quintessential New England town and you have Hanover, which straddles the central New Hampshire-Vermont border. Rolling hills, a flowing river and nearby mountains combined with an October afternoon made for an amazing visit to the small town. It is home to Dartmouth College and I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon of football watching the Big Green at Memorial Field. Walking Main Street is a must, as is stopping to eat at the one of many charming eateries.
………Honorable Mention: Baltimore, Harrisburg, Barrie

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Number of Venues Built in the 1920s:  Three…….I love old stadiums and though I may not have liked Yale Bowl, the other two I saw were much better. Rose Hill Gym is the oldest college basketball arena in the country and Fordham’s home is quite unique with that odd sideline balcony. Very cool stone structure to see from the outside and the old bandbox may have been cramped, but the New Yorkers in attendance made for a good atmosphere. Memorial Field in Hanover also goes back to 1923 and fits that town and campus very well.

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Best Food:  Little Poland Festival…..Rather than go with one restaurant, it was a sampling that won this award as my visit to New Britain, CT featured a surprise festival. The city has a huge Polish community and I was looking to try one of Little Poland’s fine restaurants (Cracovia). Instead, I stumbled on a festival where I tried some delicious (and cheap) food that included Pyzy and Kotlet Schabowy. New stuff to me and very good!
………Honorable Mention: Tino’s Delicatessen in Bronx, NY; Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse in Uncasville, CT; Mollys Restaurant, in Hanover, NH

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Best Game: LaSalle vs Manhattan…….A completely last-minute visit brought me to the north side of Philadelphia as college basketball season began and my thirst for hoops returned. I didn’t expect a classic, but it had the makings as this was the Explorers first home game after their Sweet 16 run last year. Meanwhile, Manhattan on paper looks to have a contending MAAC team. The game started off slow in toasty Tom Gola Arena, but it picked up in the Second Half. Manhattan started to push the lead, but down ten with four minutes left, La Salle fought back and Tyrone Garland nailed a three with 13 seconds left to tie the game. It went into Overtime and this time, it was La Salle’s turn to blow the lead. With the Jaspers down three, they pressed the Explorers into a turnover and the ensuing lay-up cut the lead to 1. After split success at the line on the other end, Rhamel Brown tied the game with seven seconds left and we would go to Double Overtime! In that session, it was all Jaspers and they went back to Riverdale with a 99-92 win.
………Honorable Mention: Hartford Wolf Pack vs Manchester Monarchs, Philadelphia Union vs FC Dallas

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Biggest Bonehead Move:  Taking the Wrong Passport……Those that know me understand how detail-oriented and schedule-driven I am. My brother is the opposite. Roles were reversed in a recent trip to Canada and about 2 minutes before reaching the border crossing, I saw my wife’s picture in the passport I was holding. A wave of panic ensued as I realized I grabbed the wrong one. What an idiot. Thankfully, I was able to continue the trip and return safely with Real American playing in my head when reaching back on US soil.
………Honorable Mention: Getting a Credential in Philadelphia and being completely out of place in the press box; Almost not being allowed back on Fordham’s campus

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Best Drive: I-91 from Springfield to Hanover…..I already chronicled how much I loved Hanover, but the drive to get there was very pleasant. Hardly any cars on this interstate and with the leaves changing it was a very scenic trip. Pretty much no worries on this road, however be aware in the winter as snow is frequent in this neck of the woods.

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Worst Drive: Lincoln Highway (US-1) in Philadelphia…..There just is no good way to get to LaSalle University and I opted for the I-95 route, which led me to the Lincoln Highway. It was my first time on this road and I didn’t realize the pseudo-highway was filled with stoplights and an odd adjacent service road the whole way. It was full on a Saturday afternoon and the stop and go was quite aggravating.
………Honorable Mention: I-95 in the Bronx, the 401 in Toronto

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Best Side Trip: National Museum of American Jewish History…..This is a relatively new museum in the Old City portion of Philadelphia and before heading to the Liacouras Center for a Temple game, we spent a few hours here. Easily, the whole day could have been used up in this museum and it really is a wonderfully done chronicling of American Jewish history with interesting, informative and powerful exhibits. It was especially impactful on my wife, who is Jewish, and the both of us enjoyed our time here. Highly recommended.
………Honorable Mention: Pequot Museum in Mashantucket, Sports Legend Museum in Baltimore, Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, Mark Twain House in Hartford

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Best Return Visit:  Nassau Coliseum…..There were a whooping 8 stadiums that I made a return visit to this year and this was a very close call between Nassau Coliseum and a personal favorite, Jerry Uht Park in Erie. But in the end, it is that old building in Long Island that gets the win. I will never forget the noise I heard on my second game in a month for the Islanders-Penguins Game 3. Deafening is hard to describe it and they just don’t make places like this anymore where the crowd is most certainly a factor. It may be remarkably cramped and outdated, but the sightlines are the best and it is the loudest building in the NHL when fans actually show up.
………Honorable Mention: Jerry Uht Park, Ralph Wilson Stadium, Frontier Field


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2013 Basketball Arenas Update

Posted by Sean Rowland on November 30, 2013

Pinnacle Bank Arena in downtown Lincoln, NE...the new home of Nebraska Cornhuskers basketball (image from Wikimedia Commons)

Pinnacle Bank Arena in downtown Lincoln, NE…the new home of Nebraska Cornhuskers basketball (image from Wikimedia Commons)

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Let’s start this season’s updates on the hardwood in the college game. The most significant new arena comes in Lincoln, NE with the building of Pinnacle Bank Arena. The 15,000 seat facility shares a lot of similarities with the relatively new arena in the state’s other big city of Omaha. Both arenas are downtown, off-campus and set up in an NBA type design. Lincoln’s new arena created a trickle down affect as Cornhusker volleyball moved into a tweaked Bob Delaney Sports Center. The volleyball team’s old home, NU Coliseum sadly departs The List and what a terrific little venue it was. Towson also moved into a brand new facility as they opened SECU Arena, not to be confused with Albany’s, SEFCU Arena. The Tigers celebrated with a building-opening win over Temple a few weeks ago. Their former arena at Towson Center was actually converted into a practice facility.

Speaking of the Baltimore area, Charm City will now host the CAA tournament, played in Baltimore Arena. In my opinion, this is the biggest blow to a once proud league that had such a strong presence in the Mid-Atlantic. They expanded past their bounds and then have been hit hard by the losses of VCU, ODU and George Mason. Now, one of the better post-season conference tournaments has left its Richmond home after 24 years. Nothing against the great city of Baltimore, but I think you will see a lot of empty seats in the downtown arena as this is not a college basketball crazed area and the nearby school fanbases aren’t exactly huge. Another conference tourney change that has an impact on The List is the Sun Belt leaving Hot Springs for New Orleans. The tournament was the only sporting event in the Hot Springs Convention Center.

There are four teams making the jump from D-II to D-I and a pair of them have seating capacities over 3,500. Both Abilene Christian and the controversial, for-profit Grand Canyon University play in existing arenas that now make The List. The other two D-I newbies are UMass-Lowell and Incarnate Word. What is with all these obscure sounding colleges? A few other notes…SMU will play the non-conference portion of their schedule in Garland’s Curtis Calwell Center until Moody Coliseum finishes renovations. In the Lehigh Valley, Lafayette finished a renovation that reduced the capacity at Kirby Sports Center down to 2,644.  That is now the 11th stadium I have visited that has either reduced capacity below criteria, closed or stopped hosting sports.

At the professional level, we just have an arena name change in the NBA and it is a terrible one in Portland. One of the best named places, the Rose Garden has changed to the Moda Center, thanks to a naming rights deal. I’m not the only one who really did not like the name change. While looking through the NBA arenas, it also was incredibly hard to find the seating capacities to these buildings, moreso than arenas that strictly host NHL. Anyway, a few changes in the NBDL, which by the way is making nice strides into becoming a true feeder league to the NBA and establishing a nice traditional base as the top minor basketball league. A new franchise in the Delaware 86ers will play at the Bob Carpenter Center, while in Sioux Falls, they open a brand new arena called the Sanford Pentagon. This is truly a unique place with the five-sided shape and the inclusion of nine practice courts. They also tailored the inside to look like the 1950s with the parquet floor and old-school time clock. Love this new arena, just too bad it didn’t make The List as the capacity of 3,200 falls just short. It still may be worth a trip out to South Dakota for a Stampede-Skyforce winter doubleheader.
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Scenic Stadiums

Posted by Sean Rowland on October 7, 2013

PNC Park Interior

Seeing beautiful PNC Park in Pittsburgh host meaningful baseball got me to think a little more about the most scenic stadiums that sport has to offer. Since football and baseball are the most prominent outdoor sports with a view, here are some of the best:

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Baseball

………1.  PNC Park  -  Widely acclaimed, I was lucky enough to experience a game and can whole-heartedly agree that the view from behind home plate is breathtaking.

………2.  AT&T Park  -  Opposite to Pittsburgh’s man-made view, the one in San Francisco is natural. Directly over right field is the San Francisco Bay.

………3.  Spring Mobile Ballpark  -  The AAA home to Salt Lake features the Wasatch Mountains towering beyond the outfield.

………4.  Modern Woodmen Park  -  Though prone to flooding, this ballpark’s highlight is that of the Centennial Bridge over the Mississippi River. Home of the Quad Cities.

………5.  MCU Park  -  The best of both worlds in Brooklyn with one side featuring historic Coney Island, while the other is the Atlantic Ocean.

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Football

………1.  LaVell Edwards Stadium  -  Another Utah stadium that uses the Wasatch Mountains. An amazing setting and I love the BYU logo on the side of the mountain.

………2.  Husky Stadium  -  Maybe the most notable scenic setting. The Huskies home has the benefit of both Lake Washington and the Cascades.

………3.  Michie Stadium  -  Army’s home is a must-visit in October, where the surrounding hills are beautifully changed into brilliant fall colors.

………4.  Washington-Grizzly Stadium  -  Alternately, November may be best for Montana’s stadium as the nearby mountain is best viewed with a fresh snow cover.

………5.  Memorial Stadium  -  This particular Memorial Stadium is in California (Berkley to be precise) and it is the towering (and historic) oak trees that make this place stand out.

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Freebies

Posted by Sean Rowland on August 11, 2013

The lone bobblehead giveaway that I have received at an official stadium visit from the University of Rhode Island. Good ol' Delroy James holding on to the basketball and certainly not looking to make a pass

The lone bobblehead giveaway that I have received at an official stadium visit from Rhode Island.

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During my recent visit to
Camden Yards, I was handed a replica Adam Jones away jersey upon arrival. This was probably one of the best stadium giveaways that I’ve received during my trips and it got me thinking back to some of the other collectibles gathering dust in my closet and office. While most are gimmicky and quite frankly junk, there are a few that I have used or worn thru the years. Here’s a look back in random order of an admittingly underwhelming list of some of these items (those I kept and those that I can remember disposing of).

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  • White t-shirt commemorating the Sussex Skyhawks 2006 inaugural (and ill-fated) season
    ……….Skylands Park - Sussex Skyhawks
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  • Delroy James Bobblehead
    ……….Ryan Center - Rhode Island Rams
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  • Somerset Patriots logo t-shirt
    ……….TD Bank Ballpark - Somerset Patriots
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  • Yellow Quinnipiac Bobcats t-shirt…It’s a good one too, just a shame the 2XL shirt falls halfway down by thigh
    ……….TD Bank Sports Center - Quinnipiac Bobcats
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  • A “We Are Kent State” headband with yellow ‘crazy’ hair at the top
    ……….MAC Center - Kent State Golden Flashes
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  • Adam Jones gray road Baltimore Orioles jersey (by far the most coveted giveaway I’ve received)
    ……….Camden Yards – Baltimore Orioles
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  • Random carry-bag littered with advertisements
    ……….Sovereign Center - Reading Royals
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June Stadium List Updates

Posted by Sean Rowland on June 13, 2013

A new team and ballpark in 2013, the Hillsboro Hops. Sadly however, this leaves Yakima without pro baseball

The Hillsboro Hops bring a new team and ballpark in 2013. Sadly however, this leaves Yakima without pro baseball

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Pretty much the only updating that takes place this month is from baseball’s short-season and summer-collegiate leagues. There is a brand new ballpark from this category as baseball returns to Portland, Oregon…well, kinda. Only three years after the Beavers left PGE Park to make room for MLS’ Timbers, the region took in the Yakima franchise from the Northwest League. A rapidly-built stadium in the suburb of Hillsboro is just about complete and the ballpark will debut on Monday. While there is quite a difference between a Triple-A team and a short-season Single-A squad that plays half an hour away from Portland, some people  are happy to see baseball come back. At the other end of this, is Yakima. Their ballpark sits empty and while big city Portland has other sports, the Heart of Central Washington loses it’s lone franchise. My feelings are for the latter.

Other news comes from summer-collegiate ball, starting with the Lake Erie Monarchs of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League. I found out they play at Ned Skeldon Stadium, the old home for the Toledo Mud Hens. Nice to see an old park on The List. Some additional info on seating capacities found me adding Gastonia’s Sims Legion Park and removing the Duffy Fairgrounds in Watertown. I also added the home of the Holyoke Blue Sox, but I really have a hard time believing MacKenzie Stadium seats 4,000.

Lastly, an update from an independent league, United League Baseball. Did you know they are operating without a running website? Looking through websites for specific teams, games are being played, but amazingly there is no site for the league. An amazing world, this independent baseball.

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New Stadium Trends over the last 10 Years

Posted by Sean Rowland on May 16, 2013

The loaded hot dog has become the "it" stadium food option over the last few years

The loaded hot dog has become the “it” stadium food option over the last few years

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With more than ten years of stadium visiting under my belt, there are certainly changes I have noticed since the start of this millennium. Some good, some bad, almost all of them geared towards the almighty dollar. Here are a few that stick out:

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……1.  Food Options - In the past, it was expected that an arena or ballpark had nachos, popcorn, peanuts, hot dogs and some sort of standard American beer. Now, go to any stadium of significant capacity and you are bound to find specialty items at many concession stands. This is a definitely a good thing as the options make for a better experience at the game. The minor leagues have got into it too and you can find surprisingly unique and occasionally decent food even at a small, local place. Things are great for the beer snobs as well with microbrews more common. One item that has really stuck out everywhere I have gone lately is the……

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……2.  Loaded Hot Dog - Maybe because this is the easiest thing to do and fool the customer into thinking its “special”, but everyone seems to be adding these hot dogs with a hundred topping options to the menu. Not sure how the hot dog took off as the food to do it with. From Akron’s huge and loaded dog to a hot dog in Toronto featuring maple syrup and baked beans, I feel like I’ve seen it all. But then the next stadium has something even zanier

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……3.  Home Plate Seats –
I hate this one. This definitely has skyrocketed over the last ten years as MLB teams now have turned the seats closest to the infield into specialty seating, complete with food service and (in newer ballparks) clubs or lounges. It’s an awful trend again geared towards money and away from the casual fan. It also looks terrible on TV, where scores of these
expensive seats sit embarrassingly empty. I hope it is shameful to these teams come playoff time as their ballpark doesn’t even look full since the most broadcasted seats are those behind home plate.

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……4.  Sponsoring of Everything
- The VIST Financial Plaza, The Bud Light Bar, The Farmington Bank Fan Assistance Booth. We have all become accustomed to the ugly corporate names attached to stadiums, but now businesses are infesting our stadiums with their name plastered everywhere. From contests to lounges to even walkways, that old business model of name recognition rears it’s ugly head. Make it stop!

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……5.  HD Videoboards
- This is one for the good (mostly). Teams and cities seem to have no problem lately spending the couple million to upgrade their scoreboard and make sure the video screen is of remarkable high quality. As a fan this means great things, like clear instant replays and live game video, more room for stats and a high-def look at Kiss Cam! (just kidding). I say it’s mostly good, because it can be a deterrent and distraction if operators aren’t careful in constantly utilizing it. This happens in Buffalo, where the First Niagara Center can be as quiet as a church because fans are gazingly staring up at the center scoreboard with jaws dropped at some silly production.
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April Stadium List Updates

Posted by Sean Rowland on April 16, 2013

Good bye old Veterans Stadium look-a-like and hello PNC Field in Scranton

Good bye old Veterans Stadium look-a-like and hello PNC Field in Scranton

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On to baseball for updates on
The List and after the opening of Marlins Park last year, all is quiet this season on the ballpark front in the Majors. Seems to be a stalemate with Oakland and San Jose as the Giants are being big babies and not allowing the move, thus the A’s are stuck in a football stadium for now. In the affiliated minors, there is one ballpark opening and it is a good one. Birmingham opened Regions Field and with a downtown location and a forthcoming Negro Leagues museum, the place looks great. The Barons move from the suburbs as the Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover will still host that town’s high school football games. It also will continue to host the SEC Baseball Championship this season. Meanwhile, up in Northeast PA, after a year of playing on the road, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre baseball team is back home in Moosic. A huge renovation essentially re-did the ballpark and a re-branding of the team to the RailRiders makes the return to PNC Field. When I make return here, I’m not sure yet if this will count as a new stadium or a re-visit (sorry for all the “re’s”). 

There were some notable name changes this year and the main one is a team name. Reading ridiculously changed their nickname toFighting Phils“. This is a team that plays in an old ballpark and should stick with tradition. I can’t stand the new moniker and accompanying team logo, which is based off their hot dog vendor. Elsewhere, we finally have a consistent name for Pensacola’s park that opened last year: Pensacola Bayfront Stadium. Ahhh, much better. In Jackson and Peoria, sponsors have dropped and a more generic stadium name is now being used, I’m guessing temporarily. Peoria was interesting, because I thought O’Brien Field was named for a person, but instead it was an Auto place sponsor. In the California League, one of the best ballpark names is sadly no more. The ballpark for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes is now LoanMart Field instead of The Epicenter. Man, that was a great name. Good news is that just 70 miles away over the San Gabriel Mountains, the opposite happened in Lancaster, where that ballpark lost it’s sponsor and is back to being known as The Hangar, in reference to the team and city’s aviation history.

Switching sports to soccer and the lower divisions, Cary’s WakeMed Soccer Park was added to The List as a renovation brought the capacity to the stadium up to 10,000. It has always been a first-class place and I hope to visit at some point. Also, the New York Cosmos are back and they will play this season at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium. This is a team that certainly has much bigger plans as they want the MLS and the MLS wants them. Plans are already in place for a proposed Queens stadium. Many of the teams in the NASL have aspirations for the big leagues and current teams FC Edmonton and Fort Lauderdale are looking into new stadiums. Pittsburgh has even moved into a small new pitch. The location and view is terrific, but I have no idea how they could have the room to expand that into an 18,000 seat stadium.

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