New Major League Baseball Parks In 2000
A comparison of the new baseball parks built for the Houston Astros, Detroit Tigers and San Fransisco Giants for the 2000 season.
After the strike of 1994, the only professional sports strike ever to cause the cancellation of the championship series of a sport, Major League Baseball had an incredible amount of work to do to get its fans back. The strike, combined with rising player salaries, had driven many fans away from the ballpark. MLB did all it could to get fans back with promotions and marketing campaigns, but owners were still too far in the red to be satisfied. They needed a new source of revenue, and they found what they were looking for: new stadiums. The undeniable success of Camden Yards in Baltimore showed that a new ballpark could bring fans back to the game, and fans in the seats mean money in the owners' pockets.
This season, the Houston Astros, San Fransisco Giants and Detroit Tigers all opened up new stadiums to try and bring fans and their money back to baseball.
-Enron Field (Houston, Texas)
After playing in the Astrodome since the mid-1960's, the Astros opened up Enron field for the 2000 season to much fanfare. The Eight Wonder of the World, as the Dome was called, was one of the most pitcher friendly ballparks in the majors. The power alleys in the Dome were graveyards for fly balls. Not so at Enron. At only 316 feet down the left field line and in the 360's to both alleys, the new park will become a haven for right-handed hitters, and a nightmare for all pitchers. All three new parks have certain quirks that distinguish them, and Enron is no exception. Just in front of the center field fence (which at 436 feet away is now the deepest in the majors) there is a steep hill leading up to the fence. If a heavy hitter puts a charge into a ball to straightaway center, centerfielder will have to negotiate the hill, as well as the flagpole that stands in play on the hill.
-Comerica Park (Detroit, Michigan)
Like Enron to the Astrodome, Comerica Park will offer a stark contrast to the Tigers' old stomping grounds at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull, Tiger Stadium, where they played from 1912-1999. Despite a center field fence 440 feet from home plate, Tiger stadium was known as a very hitter friendly place to play. The closest fence in the new park is in right, 330 feet away. It will be no picnic for hitters that like to go to center: it's 422 to dead center. The only consolation hitters can take is that there is very little foul ground. But that probably means just another chance to hit a long fly ball out. The most interesting part of the stadium is a huge white Tiger (a statue, of course) that will greet fans upon entering.
-Pacific Bell Park (San Fransisco, California)
From all reports, the Giants' new digs look to be the most aesthetically pleasing of the three new stadiums this season. But forget about the beautiful view of the bay and the huge sculpture of a glove sitting just beyond the left field seats, it's Pac Bell's right field fence that will be catching the eye. At only 309 feet down the line, many a lefty will be hitting bombs over the wall in that direction. And if the hitter really puts the wood to it (as Barry Bonds no doubt will do several times this year), the ball will splash down in the bay.