Rays contraction, ownership rumors about new stadium

March 7, 2011

Tropicana Field

When I moved to South Florida a few years ago, I really had no interest in any of the pro teams down here. Then in 2008, the renamed Tampa Bay Rays won me over by capturing an AL East title with a quirky manager, a young team that played a fun brand of baseball and a fraction of the payroll of the Yankees and Red Sox.

Jimmy has since taken to referring to me as a “bandwagon Rays fan.” I won’t say much in my defense except for this:

a) If there is such a thing as a Rays bandwagon, it’s not all that big.
b) I seem to remember Jimmy wearing a Red Sox hat an awful lot starting somewhere around 2003.

With that bit of disclosure out of the way, a couple of interesting Rays news items have popped up over the last few days.

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Seattle’s floating baseball field and other stadiums that never made it

March 5, 2011

This proposed baseball and football stadium would have floated on Elliott Bay in Seattle. Fly balls would have been a great adventure for outfielders who would have played there. (From the Seattle Municipal Archives)

Thanks to Greg Ponder — my wife’s brother-in-law, my Spring Training ticket supplier and one of the biggest baseball fans I know — for sending me this Slate.com slideshow of sports stadiums that never got built. The featured designs are testaments to the issues involved with getting stadiums from the conceptual phase to construction, from securing funding and public buy-in to making unusual ideas work.

My absolute favorite design is the floating, retractable-roof stadium that was proposed for Seattle in the early 1960s to attract pro baseball and football teams to the city. According to the Seattle Municipal Archives, the stadium would have floated on Elliott Bay, blocks from the site of the 1962 World’s Fair — “if a way could be found to keep the playing field level.” For some strange reason, a funding referendum got shot down in 1966, partly over “questions about the project’s feasibility.”
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