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Question 1 Who's Got the Best New Ballpark? Each of these rookie stadiums has its charms--but you just can't beat waterfront property

March 27, 2000
March 27, 2000

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March 27, 2000

Baseball Preview 2000

Question 1 Who's Got the Best New Ballpark? Each of these rookie stadiums has its charms--but you just can't beat waterfront property

Comerica Park in Detroit

This is an article from the March 27, 2000 issue Original Layout

In the heart of the entertainment district, the Motor City's airy
40,000-seat park has some of Tiger Stadium's intimacy but none of
its obstructed views--and adds doodads (cupholders), gizmos
(dancing liquid fireworks in center) and amusements for all ages.

THE BIG BOARD
Baseball's largest scoreboard (10 stories high, 202 feet wide)
features sculpted tigers that growl when a Detroit player homers.

RIDE THE TIGERS
A first-base-side carousel and third-base-side Ferris wheel will
amuse kids.

CATCH THIS
A dinger clearing the stands could land in the glove on the Al
Kaline statue.

BENGAL BONANZA
The team symbol is ubiquitous, from the entrance to the light
fixtures to the Big Cat food court.

OLD GLORY
Just like Tiger Stadium: The flagpole will be in the field of
play.

Enron Field in Houston

The Astros turned back the clock, moving from the once futuristic
but antiseptic Astrodome to a 42,180-seat park blending the charm
of the old (railroad icons in a site incorporating Union Station)
with 21st-century necessities (a retractable roof to beat the
heat).

BELLS AND WHISTLES
A replica of an 1860s locomotive will tootle above left center to
open each game and after each Astros homer.

SMOKIN'
Along with their 63 luxury suites, tony Texans can savor the
Diamond Club, with its 262 seats behind the plate--and a cigar
room below.

SHELTER FROM SWELTER
The 242-foot-high roof closes in 12 to 20 minutes. (Have no fear,
it's hurricane-tested!)

LOOK OUT!
Centerfield features a "Duffy's Cliff" with its 30-degree incline
and a flagpole, both in the field of play.

MORE BAGS FOR BAGS
The leftfield line (315 feet) is built for Astros slugger Jeff
Bagwell; outfield nooks and crannies invite triples.

Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco

By land (walking, biking, blading, driving, riding the train) or
by sea (taking the ferry or piloting your own craft), fans will
converge on the bayside site of the Giants' jewel of a stadium,
designed, like this year's other two new parks, by HOK Sport of
Kansas City, Mo. At Pac Bell, two and a half miles from
Fisherman's Wharf, fans can enjoy relative balminess (unlike the
late Candlestick) and baseball's most magnificent scenery--if,
that is, they can get tickets. By mid-March, 70 of the team's 81
home games at the 40,800-seat park were sold out.

GOES DOWN EASY
Inside the 80-foot Coke bottle are four slides for kids, open
year-round.

BASH 'N' SPLASH
Shots that clear the 25-foot-high wall can land in the Bay,
triggering a water-cannon barrage.

BUILT FOR BONDS
The rightfield line, only 307 feet and the shortest in the
league, will beckon to Barry.

SAY HEY-LO
Charter seat license holders get their names etched into bricks
that are placed on Willie Mays Plaza.

ALL'S FAIR (ALMOST)
Minimal foul territory means the first row of seats behind the
plate is closer to home than the pitcher is.

OH, SAY CAN YOU SEE?
Upper-deck seats, aptly labeled View Level, provide the most
stunning vista in the major leagues.

GLOVELY
Handcrafted by Berkeley artists of fiberglass and steel,
the 26-foot-high, 32-foot-wide mitt can field 518-foot homers.

BLOCK THAT BREEZE
Facing the bay minimizes the wind, which usually is more nasty
from the closed, or city, side.

WATER GATE
Fans arriving in their own boats can dock at the nearby marina
and cruise on in to the stadium.

THREE COLOR ILLUSTRATIONS: ARCHITECTURAL RENDERINGS BY HOK SPORT GATEFOLDCOLOR PHOTO: MARK HICKS (TIGER)COLOR ILLUSTRATION: ILLUSTRATION BY UNI-SYSTEMS (TRAIN) COLOR PHOTO: DARREN CARROLL (FLAGPOLE)COLOR PHOTO: PETER READ MILLER (GLOVE)

Star-studded Stadia
Based on preseason visits to the new parks, here are SI's ratings
in five categories important to fans. (A five-star rating is
tops.)

Category Detroit Houston S.F.

Access [4 stars] [4 stars] [4 stars]
Aesthetics [4 stars] [2 stars] [5 stars]
Conveniences [4 stars] [4 stars] [4 stars]
Enchantments [3 stars] [4 stars] [5 stars]
Family-Friendliness [5 stars] [4 stars] [4 stars]
Overall [4 stars] [4 stars] [5 stars]