Battle of the baseball parks

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Griffith Stadium, in Washington, D.C.

Here’s an engaging romp through the history of baseball stadia in a piece by Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne. “Battle of the ballparks: Cubs vs. Dodgers and the lost history of L.A.’s own Wrigley Field.”

About that, let me just say this: I don’t follow baseball much these days. Last time I saw the Boston Red Sox play at Fenway was 1984, during my trip to Providence for my first interview for a job with the Journal. In those days I lived in Washington, where the Senators had played in one of history’s worst ballparks, RFK Stadium, home also, until recently, to the hapless Washington Redskins. The baseball Senators were equally hapless, but still beloved. It is often assumed that Richard Nixon is the most hated man in Washington history. No, it is Bob Short, who moved his Senators to Texas in 1971. That was the second theft of the Washington team, the first being Calvin Griffith’s relocation of the team to Minnesota in 1960. A new franchise was created, again the Senators, and they played in (Clark) Griffith Stadium for one year before moving to D.C. Stadium, which was renamed RFK Stadium.

I am straying far afield, and hope readers will enjoy Hawthorne’s description of the architectural one-upmanship between Chicago and L.A., who are in a playoff bout for the National League pennant. I was born in Chicago so I am rooting for the Cubs and for Wrigley Field. The Sox are out of it, and so am I as far as baseball is concerned. I did go see the Washington Nationals play a few years ago in old RFK, before they moved to a new stadium (of traditional design, in an actual city neighborhood, near the Navy Yard in Southeast), but I haven’t rooted for a team with my heart since the Senators’ ignominious absquatulation. (Look it up!) Years ago, I saw a guy sitting at a table in Union Station Brewery (here in Providence) wearing a No. 44 Senators baseball jersey. “Hey, hey!” I said. “Frank Howard!” The guy looked at me like I had two heads. Hey! Frank Howard, man! I’m outta here.*

(Tip o’ the baseball cap to Kristen Richards and her indispensable (and free) ArchNewsNow.com for putting Hawthorne’s article on her site.)

* Can it be that I’ve had Howard’s number wrong in my head for decades? I thought he wore the No. 44 jersey for the Senators. Now, doublechecking, I find that it was 33. Did I trade 33 for 44 because he twice hit 44 homers in a season. No wonder that guy looked at me like I had two heads. I’ve been telling that story for years. Good grief!

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About David Brussat

For a living, I edit the writing of some of the nation's leading architects, urbanists and design theorists. This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to invest your prose with even more style and clarity, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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2 Responses to Battle of the baseball parks

  1. Thank you, Real Maven. I try to mix it up a bit, now and then, such as this post on stadiums, which is not really about stadiums but about the history of my relationship with baseball, which as you can see is somewhat vexatious. I really appreciate your kind words. It means more to me that my writing be liked than agreed with.

    Like

  2. realmaven18 says:

    I love your writing!

    Like

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