08 April 2009

In other news (4/8/09 edition)

New Yankee Stadium and Citi Field may be getting all the press, but let's not forget the $250 million in renovations being done to Kauffman Stadium. The big stuff has been completed, which includes the following enhancements:
  • Widened concourses from 24 to 37 feet
  • The ability to walk around the entire stadium, including the outfield
  • Hall of Fame in left field with party suites/meeting rooms underneath
  • Restaurant in right field that opens 2 hours before the gates open, party deck on top
  • Miniature playing field for kids way out beyond the LF wall
  • Royals team administration offices with modern exterior
  • Increased and improved landscaping
  • The crown-topped new video/scoreboard in center, a fitting replacement for the original
  • Standing room area below the fountains in right
Check out the Kansas City Star's open house photos and a PDF explaining the new features. It'll be interesting to see if the changes produce a significant increase in attendance. The team may be coming of age at the right time to give KC a double boost.
Miami-Dade County approved the issue of $563 million in bonds for the Marlins' Orange Bowl ballpark. Questions remain about the general fund being raided to pay for it if hotel tax revenue doesn't come in as expected, and the interest rate(s) the county will be able to secure in the market. The market's weak enough that it eventually could be dangerous for both the county and the team:
The county bonds are designed as interest-only instruments at the start, with large payments due at the end. The plan to pay off the bonds relies on steady growth in sports and tourism tax revenue.
Is it me or does that seem a little too subprime? If the bond deal can't be struck by July 1, the whole thing is off.
Down south, the cities of Diamond Bar and Industry settled over traffic concerns spurred by the LA Football Stadium project. Diamond Bar will get $20 million to cover traffic mitigation work. Neighboring city Walnut has filed a lawsuit, claiming that Industry's EIR for the project was insufficient. As far as the stadium goes, it looks like a Staples Center for football. Ed Roski must have an obsession with purple seats.
Frank Deford thinks architects should pipe down in their critiques of Yankee Stadium and Citi Field. His argument is that ballparks are for nostalgic fans, not architects. I don't know about that, it seems that ballparks are as much about making money as they are about fan experience.
Check out the piece that Deford criticizes, by NYT architecture writer Nicolai Ouroussoff. Citi Field's first regular season game comes April 13. Yankee Stadium's first game is scheduled for April 16. Last but not least, Reno's ballpark is scheduled to open April 17.
A man died after getting into a fight at the A's-Angels game last night. Apparently the guy was cheap-shotted. I'm sure a manslaughter charge is coming...
Giants and A's ownership are making the rounds in the media. Bill Neukom and Larry Baer were on CSN's Chronicle Live yesterday, Lew Wolff and SJ Mayor Chuck Reed (their first joint appearance?) will be on Friday. Baer was also on KQED-FM's Forum this morning. His stance? "A rule is a rule." When pressed on T-rights later, Baer admitted that the issue would be "hashed out by Major League Baseball." What happened to the litigation threats? Hmmm???

19 San Jose Giants games will be on the Comcast Hometown network, channel 104 for South Bay Comcast subscribers. There's something so utterly patronizing about what the SF Giants are doing, I have to chuckle a bit.

A Field Poll shows that 82% of California residents are opposed to splitting the state into Eastern and Western California. 71% are opposed to splitting the state into Northern and Southern California. But you wouldn't know that from the comments at the bottom of the SacBee article, and after all, aren't comments sections truly reflective of the populace? Randomly sampled surveys by reputable firms? Pish posh.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure who is more smug in their bullshit: Neukom or Baer.

Dan said...

I find the attention the SF Giants are suddenly lavishing on the SJ Giants both sickening and frankly a tad insulting. As someone who has not only attended A's games regularly for over 20 years I can honestly say the SF Giants involvement has been nil the entire time I've been going. Now suddenly out of the blue the SF Giants have this great interest in the SJ Giants? They get them on TV? They buy 25%? And expect us to believe this had nothing to do with the A's new focus on SJ? (And best of all they wait until AFTER the city does some rennovations to the 65 year old Muni Stadium.) How dumb do they think we are?

Sam said...

I guess Baer finally figured out what Wolff already knew--you won't win over the other 29 owners in Baseball by threatening to sue them.

Anonymous said...

Kauffman was already a pretty nice place, so making tweaks to bring it up to today's standards makes a lot of sense. From the pix, it looks like they did a nice job.

As far as the Giants are concerned, I think they see the writing on the wall. The survey of Silicon Valley execs tells them they risk losing all that support if they play hardball. I think we'll see a much more willing negotiator in the Giants' seat going forward.

Anonymous said...

I don't imagine the Giants latest antics will set well with their lodge brethren. If this comes to a vote, it's going to fall strictly along fiscal lines. Selig will insure the other owners that the A's in SJ make sense for all of them, save one. The other owners aren't going to waste a lot of sympathy on the Giants, after all, they've been competing directly with them for 50 years. It's not likely that they will view subsidizing the Giants at their collective expense with favor.

Anonymous said...

ML: What renovations remain to be completed on Kauffman?

Marine Layer said...

7:04 - Apparently they're done. I mixed up the completion dates between Kauffman Stadium and Arrowhead Stadium. The latter will be done next year.

gojohn10 said...

I have to comment about the man that died at the Angels game last night. I was at an A's/Angels game in Anaheim last year and I saw the worst fight I have ever seen at a baseball game. This was entirely due to the lack of security that the Angels have at their stadium. Most all the ushers are retirement age couldn't do a darn thing and security was nowhere in sight. The fight (between one A's fan and several Angels fans) lasted several MINUTES. I actually jumped in to break up the fight because I was seriously scared for this guys life. Security never showed up and the guys who were beating on the A's fan just walked away.
The Angels work real hard to promote a family atmosphere at their park, but you have to have adequate security. I would like to think that the fight I witnessed was an isolated incident, but after reading the article about the fight last night, it sounds like a carbon copy; a fight lasting long enough for others to join in the melee.
I've seen plenty of fights at the Coliseum, but security seems to respond very fast. I'm sorry to rant about this, but that fight I saw was really quite brutal and it obviously still bothers me.

Jesse said...

Kudos to whomever decided 40 years ago to build two separate facilites for Football and Baseball in Kansas CIty. Not only did they pick architecture that endures for both, but they also nailed the appropriate seating capacity for each, even as cities all across the country were building multi purpose eye sores. Kansas City could have done the same but they followed their own path instead. Once again, Kudos to Kansas City. Well done.

Jeffrey said...

I gotta say, I was a bit heartsick looking at Kaufman Stadium and realizing the fountains are gone. But the place looks amazing, the Diamond CLub, and actually the putt putt golf course too.

Being a father of young children, I can say the one criticism I get sick of hearing about new parks is stuff people say about "coke bottle slides" and playgrounds.

3 hours is a looooong time to sit listening to a 5 year old whine and a lot more distracting than a giant coke bottle.

I have heard from a bunch of people that Anaheim is a bad place to watch games for the exact reason gojohn mentions. A lot of unruly/rude fans and very little security.... When someone dies inside your stadium, that is ridiculous. I hope the dead guys family sues the hell out of them.

Anonymous said...

Baseball loyalties aren't worth dying for. Very little in life actually is.

Anonymous said...

Kauffman is MOSTLY completed. The one remaining thing to be finished is the Hall of Fame in, I believe, left field, which will open in June.

Mike in MN said...

The fountains are still at Kauffman. They probably weren't turned on yet.

Transic said...

Kauffman Stadium is one of the better-built ballparks from the pre-Camden era and, yet, required about $250 million to bring it up to date. Imagine what the tab would be to spruce up the new NYC ballparks (and already I've read at another message board complaints about things like staircases in lieu of portals in the upper deck at Citifield) when their time comes. I don't even want to think of a number.