September 15, 2005

Ballpark of a Future Past:

The new A's ballpark in Oakland may inject a dollop of real design innovation into baseball's wrongheaded fixation with nostalgia.
SF Weekly critiques the plans for the new Oakland A's ballpark. The article continues in a series of PDFs (1 2 3 4) with architectural renderings (by 360 Architecture) of the new monstrosity. The renderings are also available (more info) at Ballparks of Baseball.

posted by kirkaracha to culture at 07:02 PM - 15 comments

I don't understand what is so great about this ballpark. It looks just like an old stadium with a couple of buildings built into the outfield. Plus, the part of the article that says the "small 35,000" seat stadium was designed for intimacy. What a load of crap. They only have 35,000 seats because that is all they can sell. The Cardinals average over something like 40,000+ tickets a game. No way would they cut that number down just to create "intimacy"

posted by mcstan13 at 08:03 PM on September 15, 2005

I agree that faux nostalgia is getting old, though when done well it's an awesome approach. I love Coors Field and need to see a game at Camden Yards. These plans in Oakland are interesting, but the outfield is too cluttered. AmeriQuest Field is similarly enclosed, and it shuts the people inside the park out of the surrounding neighborhood completely.

posted by rcade at 11:26 PM on September 15, 2005

mcstan, I think the writer was also a bit skeptical about "intimacy" in saying that intimacy is baseball owner-speak for "artificial ticket scarcity." This is different from your point, I know, and good ol' Bud S. has long since declared Oakland a small-market venue, but I do think the "intimate" setting is intended more with an optimistic outlook on demand and is more likely a scheme to gouge fans' wallets than just a realistic take on what the market will bear -- though I've long believed baseball owners actually make all their profit on the $5.00 hot dogs. Whether the final product looks much like this or not, I'm glad the A's will finally be free of McAfee Downs or whatever it's called these days. The "Black Hole" definitely suits the Silver-and-Black-Attack Raider machismo, but it's always seemed to me to be too dark and dank for the cheery gold and green colors of the Athletics.

posted by Bixby23 at 12:53 AM on September 16, 2005

AmeriQuest Field is similarly enclosed, and it shuts the people inside the park out of the surrounding neighborhood completely. Surrounding neighborhood? AmeriQuest? Does not compute.

posted by Ufez Jones at 01:20 AM on September 16, 2005

Well, after going to Wrigley, Fenway and Camden Yards, I can say that intimacy has been well taken care of. I think this project looks pretty good - which the exact opposite of what the current Oakland park looks like. It and Phily might be the ugliest places imaginable.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:18 AM on September 16, 2005

Surrounding neighborhood? AmeriQuest? Does not compute. Arlington isn't much to look at, but the enclosed nature of the ballpark takes away from the feeling that you're watching a game in the great outdoors. And it's about as warm and inviting as the Roman Colosseum. I think it may be the worst of the post-Camden parks in the majors, which kills me as a lifelong Rangers fan.

posted by rcade at 10:44 AM on September 16, 2005

No matter how beautifully designed, in my opinion, the new and proposed ballparks are tainted by those ridiculous names.

posted by qubit at 11:04 AM on September 16, 2005

lifelong Rangers fan I think that's the first time I've ever seen those words used in the same sentence when hockey wasn't involved.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 03:02 PM on September 16, 2005

A 35,000 seat stadium is ridiculous, IMO too small. This means people will pay out their noses to see a game when the team is doing good. (unfortunatly thats probably the only time they'll have a hard time getting the seats) Even when the unimportant games are being played the tickets are going to be a pretty penny. Since the article states the A's ownership will incur the vast majority of the costs associated with the complex. I wonder what the ticket prices are out there now, and what this will do to those prices if it gets built?

posted by jojomfd1 at 03:46 PM on September 16, 2005

If they had 35k people attending their games that would put them about 10th in the MLB avg attendance this year. 35k represents almost 10k more than they currently draw. maybe they know their market. certainly ticket prices would go up if the fans were offered a better ballpark experience than they currently get.

posted by gspm at 04:42 PM on September 16, 2005

Personally I think that 35,000 people a game is fairly high in CA. With so many things to do, and so many sports teams, its hard to believe that so many teams sell so many tickets. I think 35000 seats a game is great- especially for a team with such a small payroll. A team like the Yankees would die selling 35000 seats a game. Hopefully the stadium will be passed- and the As do well.

posted by redsoxrgay at 04:56 PM on September 16, 2005

It really doesn't matter how many seats the stadium has. The key number is the number of suites they can sell. Both of those buildings are basically vertical skyboxes.

posted by ?! at 11:13 PM on September 16, 2005

That doesn't really apply here gary: the stadium size would affect ticket prices as it places a cap on supply (though the Yankees would hardly die from only 35,000 seats-- the Sox make do as a large-market team with less than that). ?!, I think the suite thing is more important in football: NFL parity, in some part, can be traced back to the equalities in revenue. The TV deal is split evenly and represent a huge portion of each team's revenue stream. Tickets are split 60/40 between home and away, so that limits how much of an advantage popular teams can gain from the gate. Luxury boxes, however, are treated as real estate and all revenues from those are kept by the team in the stadium.

posted by yerfatma at 01:05 PM on September 17, 2005

As I said IMO too small. gspm take that chart and click back to 2001 and look at cleveland when we were doing good, like the second half of this year and most likely next year. That would be too small, making the tickets hard to get, driving the demand up, forcing people who want tickets to go to brokers or other sources for them, and paying an arm and a leg to get them. The same happened when they first built the Jake and we had the string of division titles and playoff runs, and two world series appearances. It was just my opinion thats all.

posted by jojomfd1 at 03:34 PM on September 17, 2005

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