Via Jonah Keri, we've spent most of the morning gawking at a series of illustrations of baseball stadiums that were never built. Given that there are now only six Major League Baseball stadiums older than 24 years (!), the turn-of-the-century glut of new stadium proposals is, with a couple of exceptions, behind us, and it can be easy to forget some of the fascinating, ill-advised, and just plain weird ideas we came up with. A few examples:
The Brooklyn Dome. Anyone who's read any baseball history is already familiar with this project, which presumably would have kept the Dodgers from moving to Los Angeles. If built, this would have been the first domed sports stadium, although "indoors" is believed to have existed for at least twenty years prior.
The Red Sox' retractable dome. This, I believe, would have been the first stadium with a retractable dome. There is surely a line of demarcation between "inside" and "outside." Where is this line? If you open the dome just half an inch, are you outside? Or does it still count if 50 percent of the sky is obscured? Can you simultaneously be both inside and outside? Authorities were worried that the continued pursuit of these questions would lead them through the jaws of Satan and into his belly, and so the project was abandoned.
The Rays' outdoor park. A friend of mine, who is responsible for a terrific photo tour of the dumpy Tropicana Field, on this dead proposal: "I believe in Rays Ballpark like Linus believes in the Great Pumpkin :("
A 1965 Phillies stadium concept. By the look of it, this was a multi-purpose stadium. In addition to serving as a home for the Phillies, it was designed to produce soldiers, serve as garrison for villagers, and claim territory near mining camps. Oh, stop looking at me like that. I refuse to believe that I am the only Age of Empires nerd to reach adulthood.
A proposed Cisco Field for the Athletics. The transparent awnings are pretty neat. Meanwhile, in Taiwan, they're building stadiums with awnings made of solar panels that provide electricity to the building and surrounding neighborhood. Still, though, glass. Neat.
A proposed downtown Kansas City home for the Royals. I'm a huge fan of downtown stadiums, because I hate the idea of stadiums locked in by interstates or shoved all the way out to the airport. I make an exception here, though. If the Royals abandon Kauffman Stadium, I will retire from baseball (I am a baseball player).