01 October 2009

In other news... (End of 2009 season edition)

While the Yanks and visitors have set a team record for home runs hit in the Bronx, they have cooled off from their record-setting pace earlier in the season. As of this morning, New Yankee Stadium finished the season with 237 HR (2.93 HR/game). That's far from the 303 HR hit at Coors Field in 1999. The NY Daily News has some explanations for the dropoff, from wind changes to scared opposing pitchers going away from left-handed Yankee batters. Still, NYS hit a consistency record of sorts, being the first MLB stadium ever to have recorded at least 1 homer in 80 of 81 home dates. Attendance-wise, NYS was down 13 percent from its predecessor, averaging 45,918 per game (3.7 million for the season). New Yankee Stadium will also hold a FBS bowl game in 2010, featuring teams from the Big 12 and Big East (my extremely premature guess: West Virginia vs. Iowa State).

The Twins are only 6 months from the opening in Target Field. One of the finishing touches is a new HDTV screen deal with electronics retailer Best Buy, which happens to be a Minnesota-based company like Target. The deal will furnish the ballpark with 625 flat panel sets, including 400 of Best Buy's own Insignia brand. It's the first time in history I can think of such a deal occurring. Normally stadium operators partner directly with technology providers such as Sony, Panasonic, or Mitsubishi. In Target Field's case, much of the tech is being sourced locally or regionally. Scoreboards are being provided by heavyweight Daktronics, a firm only 4 hours away in Brookings, SD.

As speculated earlier, the Giants' AA franchise in Norwich, CT is moving to Richmond, VA. Why? Population. Richmond has a greater population base to draw from than Norwich, which is in a sort of no-man's land between the greater Hartford area (which has a team in New Britain) and Providence, RI (which has a AAA team in Pawtucket). Now Norwich is stuck with a fairly new (1995) stadium that's gone through $1 million in renovations over the past few years. The city's best chance to lure another team lies in hoping that some team in the short-season NY-Penn League has a wandering eye. You may recall that Richmond lost the AAA Braves to the Atlanta suburbs last year.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the passing of Tiger Stadium. After a lengthy legal battle to preserve and perhaps reuse parts the old girl, all that remained of her as of a week ago was this:

A few days after that picture (Detroit Free Press) was taken, that last section was also torn down. Goodbye, old friend.