My colleague Dolores recently pointed me towards a springtime blog rant by long-time preservationist – and baseball fan – Clem Labine. Entitled Hey Nick – Get REAL, the blog goes after New York Times architectural critic Nicolai Ouroussoff for panning the two new baseball stadiums in New York City by saying that “American stadium design has been stuck in a nostalgic funk, with sports franchises recycling the same old images year after year.” Read it for the writing, if nothing else. (Clem was the founder of The Old House Journal eons ago and you’ll see his way with the written word.)
Camden Yards in Baltimore (photo at the top of the post) began the trend toward throwback stadiums. Having attended many a ballgame there (and in other similarly inspired parks), I agree with Clem that these ballparks work AND give the fans what they want.
But my recent trip to Kansas City gave me the chance to visit one of the first of the good modernist sports venues – Kauffman Stadium. The architects here show how Modernism can be lovely and beloved as a baseball park.
The bottom line…give us baseball fans good architecture, whatever the style, that works as a ballpark!
More to come…