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The Ballpark Book : A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic Hardcover – March, 2000
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Fenway. Wrigley. Ebbets Field. These are the real fields of dreams. Sporting News senior editor Ron Smith pays tribute to 46 current and former major league ballparks in The Ballpark Book. Smith divides the parks into "Classics" (Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, and Yankee Stadium), the "Middle Ages" (including Anaheim Stadium, Oakland Coliseum, and Jack Murphy Stadium), the "Turf Era" (such as Riverfront Stadium, Three Rivers Stadium, and Busch Stadium), the "Dome Era" (the Metrodome, Olympic Stadium, and the SkyDome), and the "New Wave Era" (including Camden Yards, Coors Field, and New Comiskey Park). The "Gone, but Not Forgotten" fields are described in reverent, nostalgic tones--suitable for Tiger Stadium and the Polo Grounds, though few will miss the Kingdome and the Stick. Each park is profiled in detail, with great photographs of historic moments. Smith points out unique features, such as the swimming pool in the outfield at Bank One Ballpark, or the single red seat, high up in the outfield bleachers, marking the spot where Ted Williams hit the longest homer in Fenway history (502 feet).
Schoolboy Rowe once said, "Ballparks are individuals to me, not just so much stone, concrete, and steel." The Ballpark Book will help you get to know some of these fine individuals. --M. Stein
From Library Journal
Smith (Baseball!s 100 Greatest Players) and Belford present stadiums past, present, and futuristic. They portray colorfully the history, dimensions, stars, and major events of parks from Old Fenway and Yankee Stadium to Pheonix!s new Bank One and Atlanta!s new Turner Field. They also pay tribute to Braves Field, Ebbets Field, and other vanished venues. While three brand-new parks in San Francisco, Detroit, and Houston are omitted, this illustrated work eclipses Philip J. Lowry!s Green Cathedrals and Lawrence S. Ritter!s Lost Ballparks (both LJ 2/1/92). Informative and enjoyable, this evocative book is a hit for reference and popular collections."Morey Berger, St. Joseph!s Hosp. Lib., Tucson, AZ
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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The authors resisted the urge to badmouth any of the stadiums that have been widely criticized, such as the "cookie-cutter" stadiums of the 70s like RiverFront Stadium (now Cinergy Field) in Cincinatti or Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, choosing instead to concentrate on the positives and the experience of being at a particular park. I loved the description they gave of Candlestick (aka 3Com) Park, a stadium that for better or worse became my "home park" when I moved to Northern California.
The illustrations of each park, coupled with famous moments brought back a ton of memories for me. There are also numerous pictures of each ballpark, giving the reader a sense of history for each one. The book is divided into several sections, starting with the classic parks, like Wrigley & Fenway, through the current class of stadiums, to the ones not around anymore. Reading through the last section, I regretted not having had the chance to see games in some of these old parks.
One minor disapointment was that temporary parks (SF's Seals' Stadium, LA's Wrigley Field & Coliseum, Philly's Baker Bowl, Seattle's Sicks' Stadium, for example) were not mentioned. Perhaps a future edition could include them?
But other than that, this book is an excellent and entertaining reference that will keep you intrigued for hours at a time. A related book to buy if you haven't is the Lawrence Ritter book, Lost Ballparks.