THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Thursday, May 28, 1970
Page Four THE MICHIGAN DAILY
a r f _.
A nostalgic look at dying ballparks
By LEE KIRK
Summer Sports co-editor
Growth is good.
This old adage is as American as apple pie, and since
baseball is also as American as apple pie, it is hardly
surprising that baseball club owners firmly believe that
growth is good.
Baseball began to grow when the Giants and the
Dodgers moved to the west coast in the late fifties.
That seemed okay. New York didn't really need three
teams (do they need one?), and besides, LA and Frisco
certainly deserved to have teams. In the early 60's, both
leagues expanded from eight to ten teams. Sure; ex-
pansion thinned the original clubs and the expansion
teams got unproven youngsters and graying veterans,
but the Mets did win the pennant (as if that is any
consolation). And last year, both leagues fielded two
new entries, but at least they broke it into divisions
to add a little suspense.
But baseball did not content itself with adding
franchises. They had to meddle with things more sacred
than the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Kansas City Athle-
tics. Instead of being content with carrying the horse-
hide gospel to the hinterlands, baseball club owners
have set out to destroy the old houses of worship where
so many experienced the dynamics of conversion.
This is all to say that old ball parks are quickly
being replaced by sterile new structures, circular hunks
of steel and cement; pyramids to our age of opulence.
Three new stadiums will be in operation in the
National League by the end of this season, but they can
never substitute for the charm and memories of the
stadia they will replace.
CROSLEY FIELD in Cincinnati will be replaced by
a new riverfront stadium, and you can bet your bippie
-that the new stadium will not have a terrace. Way back
when Crosley Field was built, people didn't place as
much faith in warning tracks as they do today. So in
order to let a scurrying outfielder know he was about
to scamper right into the fence, they put the fence at
the top of a small rise. The terrace not only makes a
player realize that he's nearing the fence, it helps him
slow down. As a fringe benefit, the outfielder can also
stumble and fall upon it, and he can also have the ball
roll down the terrace away from him after he's reached
In Philadelphia, a new circular stadium is going up
in the down-river district, and the Phillies will vacate
Connie Mack Stadium. In the first place, it somehow
doesn't seem right to leave a stadium named after a
man who played and managed for 50 years, even though
Mr. Mack was associated with the old Philadelphia A's
and not the Phils. But there was more than a name
to the charm of Connie Mack Stadium. The walls in the
outfield were modeled after the great wall of China;
they zig and zag with abandon at angles that must
sorely offend modern thinkers. And lo, in right-center,
there is perched a massive scoreboard that pleads for
hitters to belt the ball off it. And they do. And once
the ball hits the scoreboard, there is no guarantee
which way it will bounce down, or whether it will bounce
down at all.
And venerable old Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, a relic
of the last century (oh horror of horrors), will soon
have no tenant. Forbes Fieldi is a place of mammoth
proportions and glorious history. A ball hit between
the outfielders seems to be getting constantly goosed
as it meanders towards the 400-foot sign. And where
else can a batter do his thing against a backdrop of
majestic oaks. And above all, who can ever forget Bill
Mazeroski's home run that won the 1960 Series.
ALL THE NEW stadiums around the league look like
Astrodomes without the dome. They are identical in
all main respects, so alike, in fact, that even the ball-
players themselves may soon find themselves forgetting
where they are. Ours is an age where uniqueness is not
as important as it once was.
Another (dis-) advantage of the new parks will hit
the fan where it counts most; in his derriere. No longer
will the partisans be kept on the edge of their seats
solely because of hard wooden chairs and benches. Now
he will have a chaise fit for royalty, and may indeed get
so comfortable with his brew in the plush comfort that
he will finally go to sleep. Discomfort can be ignored,
but comfort can lull even a fanatic.
Detroit appears to be headed towards a river-front
stadium, too. Admittedly, Tiger Stadium is a lousy place
to watch a football game and the Lions should have
a new den. But let the Tigers stay where they are.
A stadium built for both baseball and football, as all
the new ones are these days, serve neither well. And
everybody (except pitchers) loves Tiger Stadium. Those
who cry fdr the preservation of the good old values
could propably find no better monuments to the past
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OF THE YEAR
W4 L Pct. GS
Nixon turns down offer
to join Daily Sports Staff
I... __ _ . . . - - -- - _ - _ -
A ROSS HUNTER ',o
BURT LANCASTER DEAN MARTIN
JEAN SEBERG JACQUELINE BISSET
GEORGE KENNEDY HELEN HAYES
VAN HEFLIN MAUREEN STAPLETON
BARRY NELSON LLOYD NOLAN
MONDAY THROUGH THURSDAY EVENINGS .... $
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY EVENINGS ...........$
ALL DAY SUNDAY.........................$
MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY MATINEE ......$
Baltimore 32 13 .711
New York 25 21 .546
Detroit 20 21 .489
Washington 20 23 .465
Boston 18 24 .429;
Cleveland 14 25 .350
West Division -
Minnesota 28 12 .700
xCalifornia 28 14 .667
xOakland 22 21 .512
Kansas City 18 25 .419
Chicago 17 27 .386
Milwaukee 13 28 .317
x-late game not included
New York 4, Detroit 2
Washington 7, Boston 5
Kansas City 4, Chicago 3
Baltimore 5, Cleveland 4
Minnesota at Milwaukee, ppd.
Oakland at California, inc.
Oakland at California, night
Milwaukee at Minnesota
Only games scheduled
(ED. NOTE: Earlier this year, President j
Nixon mentioned that as a young boy,
his ambition was to be a sportswriter.
Those of us so loyal to him here at
The Daily Sports Desk greatly empa-
thized with his plight. We are in con-
stant contact with the glamorous fa-
cade of sports and are used to being 7
A few of our writers were so moved
by the President's plight that we sent
a letter to the White House offering
him a position as a Sports Staff traing
ee. In the letter, we informed the
President that although we would be
awed and flattered if he Joined our
illustrious circle, we felt that we could
extend him no special priviliges in
spite of his high office. In other words,
he would have to start out as a train-
ee like everybody else.
It is with a heavy heart that we
come before you with this reply.)
THE WHITE HOUSE
May 20, 1970
Dear Sports Fans:
On behalf of the President, I
wish to thank you for your letter
of April 2. We are delighted to
W L Pet. GB
Chicago 22 18 .550 --.
New York 22 21 .512 114
St. Louis 20 21 .489 214
Pittsburgh 21 24 .466 3%
Phila.delphia 18 25 .419 5%
Montreal 16 26 .381 7
%Cincinnati 32 14 .696 -
xLos Angeles 25 18 .581 514
Atlanta 25 18 .581 5%
xSan Francisco 21 24 .467 10%
Houston 20 26 .435 12
xSan Diego 21 28 .429 12%
x-late game not included
Pittsburgh 4, Chicago 0
New York 3, St. Louis 0
Atlanta 8, Houston 1
Philadelphia 3, Montreal 0
Los Angeles at San Francisco, inc.
Cincinnati at San Diego, inc.
Philadelphia at Montreal, night
St. Louis at New York
Pittsburgh at Chicago
Los Angeles at San Francisco
Only games scheduled
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The Dascola Barbers
know of all the expertise in Ann
I know the President will ap-
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current contract with the Amer-
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With best wishes,
Herbert G. Klein
Director of Communications
for the Executive Branch
P.S. He enjoyed your humor.
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Also, on election of officers
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