2016 has been rich with stories about wealthy baseball teams attempting to get (or successfully getting) new stadiums that taxpayers have to pay for. But the latest development in the fight between the Arizona Diamondbacks and their landlords, Maricopa County, Arizona, shows that the tide might finally be turning. Maricopa County has denied the Diamondbacks’ requests for $65 million to fund ballpark upgrades and repairs over the next 12 years. The denial is based on their lease agreement, which sets requirements for repairs. The repairs that the Diamondbacks are requesting don’t meet the requirements specified in the lease, with the county asserting that they’re all cosmetic.
Arlington is one step closer to getting a new $1 billion air-conditioned stadium for the Texas Rangers. The Arlington City Council voted Tuesday night in favor of putting the stadium on the ballot in November. The vote was conducted during a “first reading” of the proposal. The plan has the Rangers moving into a new stadium by 2021 and extending the club’s commitment to the city through 2054. Half of the stadium would be paid for by the city. The Rangers would pay for the other half.
Imediately after this thrill ride of a Cubs season ends, some heavy-duty construction will commence again at Wrigley Field that will make the Friendly Confines that much friendlier — and more expensive — to fans with season tickets behind home plate. As part of the 1060 Project, an overhaul to the stadium and the area surrounding the venerable ballpark, the Cubs revealed plans for the first of four “premier experiences” and launched a priority list for those interested in plopping down a $500 deposit to secure their spot for the right to some exclusive amenities.
The Athletics’ search for a new ballpark will be confined to Oakland, and Major League Baseball will put off any expansion talks until it solves its two outstanding stadium issues. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday the exact site is up to the team’s owners, but he made clear the sport has no intention to allow a move outside the city. ”I am committed to Oakland as a major league site,” he told the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Tuesday. ”I think that if we were to leave Oakland, I think 10 years from now we would be more likely than not looking backwards saying we made a mistake.”
Major League Baseball’s 87th All-Star Game comes to San Diego this week. It is, without question, the biggest national sporting event to hit the self-proclaimed America’s Finest City since … well, since San Diego’s last Super Bowl. That was Super Bowl XXXVII in late January 2003, Tampa Bay’s victory over Oakland. It could be considered last as in most recent, or it could be considered last as in final, forever. That helps explain the Chargers’ stadium envy. The point?
Joe Michnuk and Tim Meloche stood behind the fence at Tiger Stadium Monday to bid a final goodbye to the field they loved and helped restore over the last six years. Michnuk, 57, and Meloche, 54, are members of the Navin Field Grounds Crew, a volunteer team that helped maintain the classic diamond since May of 2010, after the stadium’s 2009 demolition. The nostalgic stadium was home to Tiger greats such as Ty Cobb, Al Kaline and Lou Whitaker. A crew of around 30 volunteers led by Tom Derry refused to let the old Tiger Stadium site, which was filled with trash and weeds close to 6 feet tall, go to waste.
The City Council of Arlington, Texas, approved a plan last month to contribute half the $1 billion cost of a new, air-conditioned baseball stadium for the Texas Rangers. If all goes to plan, it will be the team’s third stadium since it relocated from Washington in the early 1970s. Taken together with other recent deals, it sure looks as though American cities are on the verge of another stadium building boom. The bad news for critics of publicly financed stadiums-and there are many of them-is that the outgoing cohort of Major League Baseball stadiums didn’t last very long. Of the 17 ballparks that opened between 1960 and 1982, only four are still in use. Among those that have already closed, the average lifespan was 31 years.
Yes, the Braves considered putting a retractable roof on their new stadium. “I think it was a relatively brief conversation,” Derek Schiller, the team’s president of business, recalled. After rejecting a roof for reasons of cost and baseball tradition, the Braves asked the architects of SunTrust Park for a design that “would have as many of our seats covered as possible, outside of having a roof,” Schiller said. One result of that directive is easily noticed at the stadium construction site in Cobb County these days: The steel framework for a wide canopy hangs above the upper deck, protruding as much as 60 feet over what eventually will be rows of seats. Whether protection from sun and rain will make many fans want to sit near the top of the ballpark remains to be seen. But the 108,000-square-foot canopy will provide the option, as well as an architectural element.
The final steel beam was lifted by crane Monday to the top of SunTrust Park as Braves executives, dignitaries and media members watched from what will become the playing field of the new Cobb County stadium. The 33-foot-long, 1,422-pound beam was bolted into position 155 feet above field level, completing a “topping-out” ceremony that Braves chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk called a “major milestone” in the building of the ballpark. In keeping with construction-industry tradition, the final beam had a flag and a tree attached to it — in this case, an American flag and an ash tree.
With a month to go before the first pitch, Fort Bragg’s Major League ballpark is nearing completion. In the last few weeks, crews have nearly finished bleachers that will hold most of the 12,500 fans set to attend the July 3 game between the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins. The warning track is all but done, and fencing around the field and dugouts is being installed. On Thursday, crews had begun working on the broadcast booth, where ESPN will nationally televise the game as part of its “Sunday Night Baseball” broadcast. Next week, crews will install foul poles, backstop netting and begin work on the “tent city” that will form operational headquarters and clubhouses for the game.