The NYT’s Ben Shpigel took a tour of Citi Field, and comes away pretty impressed. This passage is telling, though:

Before and during construction, Wilpon visited several of the newer ballparks around the majors because he wanted to see which elements to incorporate. He said PNC Park was his favorite and considered Citi Field a “super-sized Pittsburgh” (minus the stunning Roberto Clemente Bridge and skyline as a backdrop), though other ballparks came to mind more readily.

The out-of-town scoreboard sits atop the left-field upper deck, just as it does in Atlanta’s Turner Field. The main concourse is open so that fans walking to and from their seats do not miss a pitch, which is a fixture in the stadiums in Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco, to name a few. As in Cincinnati, the concourse in the upper deck is split so fans up there can see the action if they leave their seats, too.

There’s also a Tiger Stadium-style overhang in right field.

Look, I’m sure it’s a nice park, but my inner architecture geek really wishes that at some point in the now 20-year ballpark building boom, someone would have had the guts to commission a design that was sui generis as opposed to all of these retro and retro-pastiche things we’ve received. Yes, on some level function dictates a lot of this sameness, but beyond the diamond, the grass, a scoreboard, and about 40,000 seats, one would think that there was more room for creativity than what we’ve seen. Quick: click through to the article and look at the picture. If you didn’t already know that was Citi Field, would you have been able to pick it out of a lineup?

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  1. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Rufus—very good point.  It would be a very cool park.  That said, I give it about a .01% chance of every happening.  More likely: a retro-style brick job with “Rays Blue” seats.

  2. Mike McClary said...

    No, I wouldn’t be able to ID the park as CitiField. The (rhetorical) question is: Why does the Mets’ new ballpark have a Tiger-Stadium-like overhang but the Tigers’ Comerica Park has nothing even close?

    The best part of this post is that you managed to drop “sui generis” and “pastiche” in the same sentence.


    - Mike

  3. Jason said...

    the idea of building a modern stadium is a good one, but not realistic mainly because trends come and go (and whats modern today is old fashioned tomorrow).  shea, for instance, opened in ‘64 as some futuristic uber modern stadium.  fast forward just ten years and it was already less chic than disco.  compare that to the almost timelessness of camden and jacobs field, and you will understand why all the new ball parks still go for the retro look.

  4. Jimmy P said...

    Why don’t people try something new?  That’s what they did with New Comiskey Park.  It worked out so well that they basically redid the park 10 years later.

  5. Brandon W. said...

    I think the design for the St. Pete stadium looks cool, but how is it different from the plan for Stade Olympique in Montreal?  That roof is also from a tower, and made of Kevlar fabric, but it doesn’t work in moderate winds, and the fabric apparently has torn several times.  Does anyone know if HOK has come up with answers for these problems?

  6. KenDynamo said...

    sad part is the Nationals had $700m and an opportunity for a more modern style too fit into the neighborhood (since the neighborhood was all be constructed from scratch) and utterly failed.  Nationals Park is probably one of the most generic Mallparks I have ever seen.  i mean, it is nice, and the amenities are superb, but it is definitely a missed opportunity architecturally.

  7. MooseinOhio said...

    Is sui generis lawyer speak for ‘take a risk with other folks money’?  Maybe retro is getting overdone but much better to go a more conervative route than risky especially when taking such good care of the taxpayers monies used to fund the ballpark.

  8. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Good point, Moose, and if anything, it’s another argument against public financing.  If I was a gajillionaire, I’d hire some whacked out architect/genius to make me a ballpark that would have people rioting in the streets.  Then, in 50 years, my grandkids would be able to say that ol’ Grandpa Craigy gave the town a landmark.

    (unless it really sucked)

  9. Pete Toms said...

    @ Brandon W.  Ok, I’m not crazy! ( well, I am but I digress )  I thought from the 1st time I saw the drawings for that TB / Al Lang stadium that it was Big O redux.  Glad to see I’m not the only one.

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