By Christopher Smith
Special to The Times
June 27, 2008
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego (last Padres game Sept. 28, 2003): No matter how small the crowd, evenings were always boisterous at the Murph, with fans optimistically trying to rally other fans and running around the walkway that ringed much of the park. Foul grounds around first and third bases seemed to stretch to Fallbrook.
Candlestick Park, San Francisco (last Giants game Sept. 30, 1999): In descending order of unpleasantness--fog, cold, wet, Giants fans. Who could ask for anything less? Admittedly, though, a unique and unforgettable site to watch a game.
The Kingdome, Seattle (last game: June 27, 1999): The cavernous blimp hangar was shaded the same dull gray as the weather outside that the lifeless stadium was built to defy. A strong rival to Tampa Bay's current-day hold on the dubious honor of having the modern game's most miserable home.
Milwaukee County Stadium (last game: Sept. 28, 2000): A bland symmetric bowl and a bastion of '50s sensibilities. But, hey, the brats and beers always went down easy.
Comiskey Park, (south side of) Chicago (last game: Sept. 30, 1990): Set in a rough neighborhood--was that bad, bad Leroy Brown eyeing my car as I pulled up to park? Cubs fans jeered it as a drafty dump, and Comiskey's imposing whitewashed outer walls and cramped grandstands seemed to reference the 19th century more than the 20th. Great independent food vendors inside, though--the best grilled sausage I've ever eaten at a game.
Tiger Stadium, Detroit (last game: Sept. 27, 1999): Forget the Fenway-Wrigley hype. This ramshackle palace at Trumbull and Michigan avenues was baseball's unsung shrine to the best and worst of ballpark architecture. Best: incredible sightlines in the lower upper decking; worst: seats directly behind posts--ticket holders couldn't see a thing. A fascinating relic to prowl; I feel very fortunate to have seen several games there. It still sits in the middle of town, moldering away, a sad reflection of its urban setting.
Yankees Stadium, New York (closing after this season): An imperious mausoleum for eight decades' worth of other teams' hopes and dreams. The House That Ruth Built is being replaced, right next door, with the House That George (Steinbrenner)--and New York City taxpayers--are nearly done building. Surely the new Yankees home can lead to only better times for American League foes, right?
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