14 November 2006

So where are the bullpens?

I'll start with the nitpicks just to get them out of the way.
  • There's no batter's eye in centerfield. The ability to see through from the park into the playing field is nice, but it's not going to work during games. I could see them putting in a curtain or screen that retracts during off days or in between innings.
  • I can't say for sure which way the ballpark is oriented, but from the flythrus the field appears to be facing northeast. If that's true that's a shame, because if they positioned 45 degrees south they'd have Mission Peak as the backdrop. Note: the field may actually be facing north.
  • The brick exteriors. I really hope the brick is only there to provide texture for the renderings and sketches. We've seen enough of it. Try something else.
  • I don't see the bullpens anywhere in the sketches or renderings. Do you? They might be beyond the 410' markers. If so, they're hidden underneath the scoreboard and have two rows of seats between the pens and the field. Now that's odd.
  • 320' down the lines and the cut-ins. I understand the neighborhood concept, but the short porches down the lines could mean a few extra cheap home runs. The extremely deep gaps (410') are a good counterpoint. The dimensions look a little similar to Petco's but the fog and marine layer won't be as much of a factor. I'll do some temperature surveys next spring to show the difference between the Coliseum and Cisco.
  • I'm still concerned that the club level (field) will prevent regular fans from being able to walk down to the front row for autographs. It's a tradition worth keeping.
  • It would be nice if the grandstand down the first base line used the same angles and the grandstand down the third base line. It's cleaner and sharper.
  • What the heck is Big Mutt?
That said, there's a lot to love about this concept. Let's start with the grandstand, since that's where most everyone will be sitting.

It appears like four decks, but it's more like two large decks. Take a good look at this cross-section, taken from the animations page:

This will be, by far, the most intimate new ballpark in baseball. The upper deck cantilever is really aggressive. It's even better than I could have hoped for, better than I've drawn up. The yellow/red model is Cisco Field, while the white model is... SBC Park in all likelihood. All of the decks are closer and lower than their SBC or McAfee counterparts. Techies (like me) better be on the lookout, because if they're busy staring down at a smart phone, they're liable to get a screaming liner right in the grill.

The upper deck is actually split in two. The lower section has 13 rows, while the upper section has 7. That makes the combination one row deeper than the Coliseum's upper deck. Why are they separated? Three reasons:
  • Wolff said that he wanted all concourses to have a view of the game. The separation allows that to happen.
  • Wheelchair seating positions are easier to come by. I wrote about this in my review of Stanford Stadium. This arrangement has also in use at New Busch Stadium and Great American Ball Park.
  • It's easier to define different pricing within the upper deck. The A's might decide to have a handful of cheap seats in the upper deck corners. Even those will be good seats.
The leftfield bleachers rise above a small street and connect to a building across the street. Now that's integration. I hope the risers are made of steel or aluminum so that they can get really noisy. It wouldn't be hard to bring the "A" or triangle shape used in last year's model.

The full street concourse is an evolution of what's been done in Baltimore and San Diego. Rightfield looks a lot like Eutaw Street, and the centerfield park is a lot more cohesive than the park-within-the-park area at Petco. The double-sided video board isn't new, but its sheer size will make it compelling. It wouldn't be a bad idea to show all road games on the exterior board. And once a week during the summer, the board would be a natural place to have outdoor movies and concerts. One of the neat things about Petco is that they have a $5 Park Pass admission, which acts as a cover charge of sorts that allows for standing room admissions. Since the street and park would be part of the ballpark when during games, it's conceivable that several thousand of these Park Passes could be sold without violating fire code. It's a cheap ticket to get in, a bump in revenue, and a way to bring fans into all of those restaurants in the ballpark village. Yes, standing room sometimes sucks, but...

You'll have a lot of places and room to stand. The entire outfield/street concourse for starters. Perhaps those steps that lead up to the area beneath the video board. Both the upper and lower deck concourses.

I'm pleased with the ballpark concept and the village integration. It builds upon earlier ideas and adds a few neat twists. Unlike most other new ballparks, this one's really got the potential to make the game experience truly intimate. I look forward to seeing more.

Tomorrow: the parking and housing mystery.


Anonymous said...

The intersection of Bunche Drive and Boscell Road , which is the corner of the ballpark where all the newstrucks were tonight , is oriented NE to SW and NW to SE , respectively. Therefore homeplate looks due North , as the field is oriented 45 degrees to those two streets .

Anonymous said...

With a north orientation , right field will be tough on fly balls during the day , and left side seating of the park will be the dark side, opposite of AT&T Park.

Marine Layer said...

Interesting. I was trying to line it up using topographical features, but this makes more sense. Orienting the field north allows for the diagonal the ballpark village street makes to meet the existing street grid.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff, ML. I like the intimacy of the park. I just don't want to see it become a bandbox. The 30-34K figure doesn't include standing room only, correct? If so, they could actually draw closer to 40K for the really big games.

One comment: Big Mutt? Are you being facetious or did you really not get that? It's a take off on Big Dogs. I think someone was being clever.

Jeff August said...

My favorite is the shot of a fan holding a sign depicting a bat hitting mickey mouse. Good stuff.

Bleacher Dave said...

Baseball Prospectus has a piece on yesterday's vaporware session.

"Between Wolff ("We are customer-oriented!") and Bud Selig ("This stadium will not only reflect the latest in everything, but it will reflect a unique sensitivity to fans"), there was enough empty rhetoric to fuel the 2008 presidential campaign........Speaking of which, if you're wondering whether anyone dropped the M-bomb, the answer is yes. After nearly an hour of happy talk, Wolff came out with this:

"I just feel staying in Alameda County and not bothering my commissioner about other cities in the country--because that's our only option. Our only option after this is to move out of California."

Because nothing says "customer-oriented" like a little blackmail.

Marine Layer said...

"Because nothing says 'customer-oriented' like a little blackmail."

And this is applicable to Fremont how?

It's been well established that Wolff tried the San Jose route. It didn't go anywhere. I thought cities were going to get into a bidding war. They didn't.

The new Bleacher Dave: All vitriol, all the time.

Anonymous said...

Do they have any renderings of the traffic jams outside the new park on 880???

What a traffic nightmare this will be!!! Yuck!!!

Anonymous said...

No, but they have renderings of all the crack whores, dealers and future felons that hang out around the A's current home. Just do a Google search for: Oakland, CA.

Anonymous said...

Last time I checked, McAffe Coliseum was still situated along same ( or more ) congested I880 .

Anonymous said...

Last time I checked, the proposed site doesn't have an exclusive bart stop like the coliseum.

Anonymous said...

No one has mentioned that that grassy plaza/retail/restaurant baseball village across the street from the big centerfield sign is NOT on Cisco land , but on 14 acres bounded by Curie/Cristy/Bunche and Boscell owned by ProLogis , who bought Catellus a year ago .

Anonymous said...

Technically, right now ProLogis owns the entire site. Cisco has a deal to purchase it at any time, which they are basically passing onto Wolfe. No news there.

It's mentioned in here:

Anonymous said...

Cisco site 143 acre, Curie site 14 acres, Brandin Ct 10 acres , Cristy Concrete (?) 16 acres " for sale " adjacent to Brandin Ct properties - so Wolfe's different capital groups may already control 183 acres at Pacific Commons ,as well as some more nearby ;)

Anonymous said...

"The new Bleacher Dave: All vitriol, all the time."

Unbecoming of you ML. Bleacher Dave is being avid while not being rude. He quoted BP's take on Wolff's own words from yesterday, which are as relevent as it gets.

Meanwhile, you literally run the team press release word for word.

Marine Layer said...

I have yet to see BD take an objective viewpoint on the Fremont news over the past few weeks. He jumped to conclusions on the the seating bowl aspect without looking at it thoroughly. At least he owned up to that. Earlier in the year it at least seemed like BD was objective. Now it appears that emotion has taken over. That's fine, just don't couch it in "citizen concern."

As far as running the press release, what do you expect me to do? I'm one guy running back and forth. I made sure not to post anything until some time passed. And I plan to run many more in depth articles over the next couple of weeks.

There will be plenty of time to give this plan full, complete scrutiny as more details are revealed. All we see at this point is surface. We shouldn't draw too many conclusions from that.

swirlinabc said...

The photos don't seem to show it, but will there be a "kiddie" area for some family diversion, but maintaining a view of the game "a la Coke Bottle" at the phone co park?

Anonymous said...

I disagree on the comments here regarding homeplate orientation. from everything ive seen and read regarding the property, the only orientation that makes sense is homeplate facing SE with mission peak staring the batter in the face as hes stands in the batters box. thats the only way to fit in the park and housing that is going to be built beyond center field.

Bleacher Dave said...

C'mon ML,

I'm just as critical and skeptical here, as I am on the OAFC site. I simply made a mistake in interpreting the animation on the A's website. Big deal.

Clearly, I'm partisan. I want the A's to hang out in Oakland until they can find a deal there. A deal that may, or may not, ever exist.

But, I challenge you to point out where I have been disingenious - as you were in that spur analysis. You are an accomplished analyst - far better than I or any of the rest of the peanut gallery - and I don't believe for a minute that you weren't aware of the boondoggle sized hole in that piece.

The dog and ponies are vaporware. There are major issues that need to be addressed in the development plan to satisfy multiple and disparate constituencies. We'll see how it turns out.

And like the other poster said, your comment regarding me was out of character for you. Maybe you, like I with respect to the animation, interpreted incorrectly. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

Maybe you should stop staring into that Cisco field promo ball trinket so much. The Eye Of Wolff may turn toward you.

KIDDING! just jokes, ML, just jokes.

Marine Layer said...

I'm being facetious, BD. No offense intended. I am surprised, however, since these comments are coming from someone who has eloquently argued why people sometimes leave Oakland for better opportunity elsewhere - you can't really begrudge them, right?

My problem with your arguments about CC is that you are applying the current schedule to six years from, when it is perfectly clear that CC is planning for some serious growth over the next 10-20 years. It costs money to make it work properly. Call it a boondoggle if you wish.

As for the ball, I've already unwrapped it, played catch with it, and put it on the shelf.

Everything is vaporware until it's released. I'm a longtime vet of Silicon Valley, so I should know.

Bleacher Dave said...

I don't begrudge them, ML. I just don't want it to happen.

The move is a completely rational decision, but not without it's risks and drawbacks - many of which are being papered over. Nothing's really happened yet. Until we learn the details of the financing and development plan that address the hard issues it's easy for some to be irrationally exuberant.

My desire for them to stay in Oakland is based on a lifetimes worth of treasured memories. I'm not convinced that the A's are much of a financial asset to Oakland, but they certainly provide a social good. The magnitude of that good is demonstrated by the passion, hurt, and frustration of so many that are vehemently opposed to this proposed move. But, how do you quantify a social good? Certainly economists acknowledge it, but since it can't be (easily) monetized, corporations frequently have a more difficult time acting upon it.

I would argue that the owners of sports teams are also custodians of civic assets. Such teaams embody the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of their customers in ways that most commercial enterprises do not. And in that role, they have a tremendous opportunity to be architects of the social fabric, drivers of public perception, and creators of public spaces.

In Oakland, the A's could provide much more good to their community than they ever could in Fremont.