Turner Field, Oriole Park at Camden Yards and Comiskey Park
Putting the past into the present
For awhile, open-air baseball stadiums, often doing time shares with football teams, took on a generic appearance that brought to mind Rome's Coliseum, without the magnificence of that stadium's Roman structure: Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium, Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium, Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium -- all perfectly functional, multi-use facilities, with a noted lack of ... well, charm.
That's all changing, and it's returning to the old. Atlanta has already opened Turner Field, virtually a baseball amusement park that brings to mind the ballparks of old. With intimate seating -- even the upper decks seem close to the playing field -- it's baseball experienced as it was when the Babe and Lou Gehrig and Walter Johnson took the field.
Fans enter Atlanta's brand new Turner Field beneath an enormous photograph of a baseball -- the very ball that Hank Aaron launched into the stands at Atlanta's older stadium to break the Babe's all-time home run record. The ball itself, along with the bat Hammerin' Hank used to hit it, are on display at the Braves Museum and Hall of Fame in the stadium.
Outside, in Monument Grove, Turner Field celebrates Aaron and other Braves greats -- Warren Spahn, Eddie Mathews, Phil Niekro and Dale Murphy.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which opened for play in Baltimore, is a monument all itself. It has already seen history -- in 1995, Orioles' shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive-game record.
This park, too, has connections to Babe Ruth -- don't they all? Two blocks from the red brick stadium is Ruth's birthplace. The Babe's father operated a cafe in what is now center field.
There's even a statue of Ruth outside the stadium in Eutaw Park -- but there's an anomaly here: the left-handed Ruth is wearing a right-handed glove.
The Orioles offices are housed in the Baltimore & Ohio Warehouse -- the East Coast's longest building at 1,016 feet -- which also forms the backdrop for the right field seats.
A year before the Orioles took to their new grass, Chicago's White Sox did the same at a park named after their old one. Comiskey Park was built next to the older park, and the infield dirt was transferred from across the street to bring a little of the old into the new.
Wrigley Field |
Fenway Park & Yankee Stadium |
SkyDome & Le Stade Olympique
Crosley Field & Forbes Field |
Stadium Food |
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