The picture above brings smiles to a lot of faces. By far the most popular brand of stadium-visiting is baseball and the varied nature of the ballpark. Even though its still cold in much of the country, warmer weather is ahead and the baseball season has begun. The majors started last week (with an oddly staggered Opening Day) with nothing new on the Stadium front. In the affiliated minors (those in long-season ball), the season started yesterday and it was a relatively quiet offseason with very little change amongst the 100+ teams and ballparks…always a good thing.
There is only one new stadium and that is in Omaha. The Royals changed their name to the Storm Chasers and got kicked out of Rosenblatt Stadium. As sad as I am to see Rosenblatt gone for the CWS, it may not be a bad thing for the Triple-A team to leave the cavernous ballpark. Instead of using the new 24,000 TD Ameritrade Park, Omaha left the city proper and has a new ballpark 20 minutes to the South in the town of Papilion, located in Sarpy County. Werner Park is one of the smallest in Triple A with a capacity just a shade over 9,000 and the number of fixed seats sitting at 6,434.
As I mentioned last week, Portland’s PGE Park was converted into a soccer stadium, meaning the Beavers of the PCL were left homeless. Sadly, professional baseball will not be played in Portland this year and the team moves to Tucson, where Triple-A returns after a two year hiatus. What used to be known as Tucson Electric Park is now Kino Stadium. This is expected to be a temporary home as the parent Padres are trying to bring a Triple-A team closer to home, but have failed to get anything going yet.
The only other ballpark amendments made to The List, were two name changes. The first comes from Lexington as they lose Applebee’s and pick up yet another bank with the name changing to Whitaker Bank Ballpark. Lastly, one of my least favorite new ballpark experiences in Manchester finally smartened up and got rid of the worst name around: Merchantsauto.com Stadium. Yes, instead it is now called: Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. What is wrong with this organization! Maybe there are crappy names out there, but man that one is nearly as bad as the previous one.