Results tagged ‘ Jacobs Field ’

A record for the fans

Wilson_90.jpgBy Julie Wilson

When the Boston Red Sox open the 2011 season, the team, the city of Boston, and Red Sox Nation will continue to build on a record that they set back in 2008.

03-02-11-Wilson_Fenway.jpgThe record for most consecutive sellouts by a team is one that truly belongs to the fans. Red Sox fans have had plenty of reasons to keep coming back since the streak began in 2003. Two World Series titles and the notoriety of keeping the 600-plus game streak alive should be enough to draw the crowds in spite of their somewhat disappointing 2010 season.

As a kid growing up in Cleveland, I experienced firsthand the joy of being a part of the previously held record of 455 games. From June 12,1995 until April 4th, 2001, I was a junior high schooler and then a high school student who could not get enough of the Indians, and I was far from alone in a city desperate for a championship. There was an incredible aura surrounding the city of Cleveland as each night 40,000 or more fans packed the stands at Jacobs Field.

If you didn’t have tickets before the season started, you needed to know someone, or even know someone who knew someone, if you wanted a shot at getting into a game. In spite of the constant struggle to get tickets, my father made sure that we at least made it to Opening Day each season, and often finagled a way to get tickets to a handful of other games throughout each year.

03-02-11-Wilson_Jacobs.jpgIn total, some 19,324,248 fans passed through the gates during those seven magical seasons. Knowing that my dad and I likely account for about 100 of these individuals gives me an enormous sense of pride. Cleveland fans have not had much to celebrate in recent years and yet we keep coming back. Maybe not at the rate of 40,000 a night, but the love is certainly still there.

Each time I set foot in the renamed Progressive Field, I still get a tingle down my spine from the retired number “455–The Fans” that hangs out above right center field. There is no record that is more meaningful to me as one of the faithful who contributed to that streak.

It’s memories like these that will be brought to life in the Hall of Fame’s new One for the Books exhibit. The exhibit opens Memorial Day Weekend in Cooperstown.

Julie Wilson is the manager of school programming for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

New stadiums, new memories

Horn_90.jpgBy Brad Horn

This week, Major League Baseball and New York will welcome two new shrines, as the Mets christen Citi Field on Monday night and the new Yankee Stadium (everything old is new again) will host its formal inauguration Thursday.

We’ll be documenting both of these openings in Cooperstown with artifacts that capture this moment in time for future generations. Look for updates this week as we share our latest donation items with you.

4-13-09-Horn_Citi Field.jpgWhen future generations of fans look back on this week, it’s likely they’ll say these stadiums represent the last of a new breed. For the last 20 years, baseball stadiums have been constructed at a rate, and a cost, never before seen in our game’s history.

The 1990s unleashed a fury of new ballparks, when the old seemingly was not enough. Toronto (’89), Chicago, Baltimore, Cleveland and Arlington got the ball rolling. Soon, Atlanta, Seattle, Detroit, San Francisco and Houston followed suit, as did an entirely rebuilt Angels Stadium in Anaheim. Expansion clubs Colorado (’95) and Arizona (’98) christened new ballparks, while Tampa Bay and Florida also established new traditions, albeit in fairly older structures. The 21st century welcomed new parks in Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, San Diego, St. Louis and Washington. Just this offseason, Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium underwent a major renovation. Boston’s Fenway Park, long a stalwart, has had multiple facelifts throughout the last 10 years.

In fact, only Wrigley Field (Chicago), Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles), the Metrodome (Minneapolis) and Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (Oakland) are the last major structures not enduring entire overhaul or replacement since the era of the new ballpark began 20 years ago. The Met will join the list of replaced stadiums next year as Minneapolis welcomes a new outdoor home.

What will become of the next phase of ballparks? Which of the “new” will be the first to be deemed “outdated?”

One thing is for sure — no period in baseball history is likely to see as much change as we have witnessed in the last two decades.

Visitors to Cooperstown can celebrate stadiums of past and present in Sacred Ground, an exhibit dedicated to the ballpark experience, only at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Brad Horn is the senior director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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