The New York Times has an overview of the retro-stadium craze of the past couple of decades, with particular attention paid to some of the parks’ unique particularities:
The quirky signatures at older stadiums — like the Green Monster at Fenway Park in Boston — were adaptations to their narrow confines. But idiosyncrasies like Tal’s Hill are driven by the urge to be original.
“Teams want something that is memorable about the building because it’s broadcast to the fans,” said Earl Santee, a senior principal at Populous, formerly known as HOK Sport, the Kansas City, Mo.-based architect that has designed many of the retro ballparks. “The fans want to say, ‘That’s my building.’ ”
Which kind of describes my biggest complaint with some of the newer places. The character that the old parks were so noted for took decades to develop, and were often happy accidents resulting from form following function. Building a new ballpark with these kinds of anachronistic flourishes is kind of like building a new office building with a mooring station for Zeppelins. Interesting, sure, but kind of silly and unnecessary if you think about it for more than five minutes.