November and December 2000 was the coldest two-month period in
recorded U.S. history. After that arrived dark, chilly January.
If you seek midsummerlike refuge from this hibernal hell, a place
where mitts, not mittens, are the norm, log on to ballparks.com.
Once on the home page, click on the photo of a baseball field
(it's Fenway Park) and you'll be led to a page whose left-hand
side panel contains links to pages on 93 American and National
League parks of the past, present and future. You'll get aerial
views, field dimensions and histories. Trivia abounds, such as
the fact that the same wrecking ball was used to demolish Ebbets
Field in 1960 and the Polo Grounds in '64. The link for Fenway
points out that while batters routinely clear the towering
leftfield Green Monster, no slugger has hit a ball over the
faraway rightfield roof.
Three notable sublinks under the site's "Facts and Figures" link
are "Domed Stadiums of the World," a listing encompassing the
first (the Astrodome, 1965) to those in the works, such as South
Korea's LG Seoul Dome; "MLB Ballpark Orientations"; and "Map of
Future Ballparks." The ballpark orientations link is a
cartographer's joy that shows, among other intriguing facts, that
none of the existing 30 major league parks--not even any
dome--places its centerfield to the southwest, from which
direction the glow of the setting sun would be in the batters'
"Map of Future Ballparks," though, is our favorite. Fourteen
proposed structures or sites are presented. Our choice among them
is the still unnamed Twins Ballpark, which would seat 42,000 on
the banks of the Mississippi River. Most important, it would have
a retractable roof. Who better than Minnesotans understand cabin
January 29, 2001