Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Does this Sound Familiar, Baseball Fans?

This excerpt from Catesby Leigh's review of the Washington National's stadium design in today's Wall Street Journal should sound familiar to the downtrodden denziens of Citizens Bank Field. When will baseball teams stop hiring HOK to turn out Camden Yards' clones?

"The new 41,000-seat ballpark, to be located about a mile south of the Capitol in what is now a forlorn semi-industrial zone, will be plenty user-friendly, as renderings unveiled March 14 make clear. But with the city pouring over $600 million into the facility, which will anchor development of a 40-acre, mixed-use "baseball entertainment district," the ballpark needs to be much more than that. It needs to be a landmark that will keep the fans coming even when the team isn't doing well. This is famously the case with Baltimore's Camden Yards, where the still-dominant "retro" breed of ballparks originated in 1992."

Read the whole article here. Would Phillies fans have felt better about the 13-5 opening-day loss if Citizens field had been more inspiring? We'll never know.


Blogger mark said...

It would be near impossible for Washington to botch up their stadium as much as Philadelphia did.

After watching other cities use their stadiums to revitalize important parts of their downtown, the phillies and the city decided to plop their ballpark in a warehouse graveyard. A suburban fan couldn't spend a dollar of disposable income around that stadium if their life depended on it.

CBP could have been the trigger to revitalize the area north of Penns landing or the Loft district. It could have been a cozy,charming,
nostalgic baseball fans utopia. Instead CBP is a windswept barren place to watch a bunch of millionaires.

6:24 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

i get so nastalgic every time i enter camden yards or one of its clones, yearning for the sweet, sweet days of yore when the ol' hometown ballpark had panelized prefab brick facades, aluminum ironwork, and 6 tiers of luxury boxes. it makes me weep. or is it the total lack of originality that all of these stadia have? whether it was in center city or broad and pattison, cbp still would have sucked. is it a crime to mix contemporary architecture and baseball?

8:57 PM  
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9:04 PM  
Blogger CP said...

What characteristics tag a ballpark as "retro." Is it revealing steel beams? Creating a smaller park? Incorporating entertainment areas into the park? I am confused as to what defines a retro ballpark. To me the new Nationals ballpark definitely seems boring and to include the same gap in center field as every new park, understandably because of the weak vantage point. But, by looking at the small rendering, how does that make it retro?

9:06 PM  
Blogger amusing said...

There are only so many investment dollars floating around any given city -- but, I'm asking any cityplanner minds out there -- if the Philly stadium has been plopped down in a dead zone, is it too late to build around it? Chicken/egg -- which needs to come first? What if a Dave&Busters moved nearby? What if there were the equivalent of the Chelsea Pier complex in NYC? Could it still become a "neighborhood" where people would want to go despite the team's ranking in the league? I think we'd all say thank god they didn't tear down Chinatown to put it there. That seemed sheer insanity.

11:22 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

A retro ballpark in DC is even sillier than one in Philly - these people have Camden Yards right in their backyard. Before CBP was build I felt that teams should begin building modernistic parks. If everyone is going retro then it no longer remains part of the reason people will go to games. It's all about giving them something different to see.

Of course, putting a good team on the field fills seats faster than anything else.

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Bored by new-old! said...

Please oh, please, remove the postings from whomever is using this blog to blab about making extra money! Thank you. By the way, new-old is getting really, really old, and uninspired. For example, look at the stretch of South Street between 13th and Broad. A lot of the new construction is faux old, but the really interesting construction is on the side street, between 13th & Broad, with the modern construction. I happen to think it's a really nice juxtaposition of old-old and new. Come on people, use some imagination and creativity, don't just give us tired old retreads!

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i disagree that the Philadelphia Stadium wouldn't have been better in Chinatown. or the original site, at 15th and Spring garden.
but the main reason the stadiums get put where they are, is because of cars!!
suburbanites who really don't care about area revitalization, and want a cozy parking lot wasteland
so that's what they get.
meanwhile in one of the countries most heavily populated downtowns, you would have thought we could have gotten it done. but we got stuck catering to the same old characters
Fumo, clarke, etc.

what's being built in Chinatown now?

as for the architecture, maybe they're trying to fool people into thinking something is better then it is??

11:04 AM  
Anonymous MetsFan said...

The Mets just released plans for their new ballpark and my first thought was wow, that looks like CBP. And then I saw HOK designed that it as well. To make matters worse, they're now marketing the fact that they've designed the last 6 parks to open.

In 20 years fans will look back at these cookie-cutter retro parks and talk about them the same way they talked about The Vet/Shea.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inga... you compare the new D.C. park to CBP, and say both are boring Camden Yards clones. Did you take the time to really read the Post article you linked in your comment? The whole point of that article is that they think the D.C. design SHOULD be more like Camden Yards, SHOULD be MORE retro. The article criticizes the D.C. design for being too modern and boring, comparing it to an airport terminal. The point, in my opinion, isn't whether it is retro or modern, it's whether the Park is a great design. Either modern or retro can work if the design team is excellent. Unfortunately, I think neither D.C. nor CBP display excellent design. Camden Yards is not exactly excellent either, but it is the best of the three.

11:55 AM  
Blogger amusing said...

So, folks, what makes for great design in a ballpark? Let's list what it needs. It would nice to NOT see it float in acres of asphalt....

what else?

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fumo single handedly killed the ballpark at 15th + Spring Garden which would have had amazing skyline views and given Philadelphia its cozy ballpark.

Penn put the kibosh on Daniel Keating's proposal at 30th + Walnut which would have had amazing skyline views and put Philadephia in a whole new light. Keating was going to include 3 high rise towers as part of the development.

Heres a study on the proposal with a couple of old renderings.

8:36 PM  
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3:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the stadium is great. It fits the needs of the fans and not the high and mighty needs of some who fail to recognize the most of the fan base does indeed live in the "dreaded" 'burbs.

The Phillies did what was best for their fans. Fans want parking and not having to fight to get in and out. They picked land where they wouldn't be at the whim of every little community group that would complain about everything from traffic to when they could run stadium lights.

I really think most of you fail to identify the negative impact of a professional sports stadium. Placing such a venue would bring thousands of vehicles, unruly fans, surface litter, light pollution, and all the other associated negatives (scalpers, vendors, etc)

The City was able to place a venue in a seciton of the city designed to handle that volume of traffic, still have Septa service, and have light impact on the local residents.

We are already seeing the signs of commercial activity near the stadiums with establishments like Chickie's, the bar in the ballpark, and the Turf Club. There's a good deal of land available for development and nothing will have to be removed to allow growth. (Something that would have needed to happed to the already damaged Chinatown)

We are not these other cities. We are Philadelphia and native Philadelphians are quite pleased with the location and constuction of our very warmly received ballpark.

I can't beleive that you would really want to see more of Philadelphia removed so we can "be like another city"....and I would rather not copy Baltimore...a town with "just" a ballpark and little else.

1:58 PM  

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