Happy Opening Day everyone! To celebrate the occasion, we chose this new addition to our ‘Midwest Collection’. Enjoy this view of the long gone Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, OH, home to the Reds (MLB) and Bengals (NFL) between 1970-2002.

Stadiafile just received a major haul of postal wonders, including this very informative card showing the Florida Spring Training sites of the 16 Major League Baseball teams who participated in the Grapefruit League c. 1988.

To mark the beginning of the Major League Baseball season, we’re celebrating an era in baseball stadium design often maligned by fans and architects alike. Our celebration of the round ballpark will investigate the unique design features of these misunderstood buildings.

SILVER BULLET OR WHITE ELEPHANT? 

Miller Park roof via Baseball-Fever

A FIVE-PART SERIES ON THE SIX RETRACTABLE ROOF STADIUMS IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THE CLASSICAL

Proponents of retractable roofs would have you believe they are essential to the game of baseball.  They argue that, without these roofs, the frigid early spring in Milwaukee or the prolonged rain in Seattle or the searing heat in Arizona, Texas and Miami would keep baseball from being played and fans from coming out.  Convincing as these arguments may seem, one only has to look to professional baseball being played under open skies in Arlington, TX, or Minneapolis, or Chicago to question the necessity of these expensive, highly-engineered ballpark accessories.

A FIVE-PART SERIES ON THE SIX RETRACTABLE ROOF STADIUMS IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THE CLASSICAL

Safeco Field roof via Cruiznbye Flickr

CHASE FIELD AND SAFECO FIELD

Chase Field in Phoenix and Seattle’s Safeco Field are baseball-only stadiums with roofs regularly used to respond to their respective town’s beautiful – if unpredictable – west coast climates. While both stadiums are located in downtown neighborhoods, here their similarities end – their architecture is as diverging as these two vastly different cities.

A FIVE-PART SERIES ON THE SIX RETRACTABLE ROOF STADIUMS IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THE CLASSICAL

Miller Park fan-type roof in closed position via SSO World Flickr

MILLER PARK AND THE ROGERS CENTRE

Miller Park and the Rogers Centre, home of the Milwaukee Brewers and Toronto Blue Jays respectively are retractable roof stadiums whose primary function is to keep their fans warm during baseball season’s colder months.  As the majority of the season is in the northern summer, unlike Minute Maid Park and Marlins Park, these two facilities keep their roofs open for more than half their teams’ home games.  A close inspection of the two buildings shows few further similarities however.

A FIVE-PART SERIES ON THE SIX RETRACTABLE ROOF STADIUMS IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON THE CLASSICAL

MINUTE MAID AND MARLINS PARK

Aerial view of Minute Maid Park via Bing

Minute Maid and Marlins Park are the real gas-guzzlers among Major League Baseball’s six retractable stadiums.  Located in the US’s heat and humidity belt, they are both usually closed for home games and rely heavily on a massive amount of air conditioning to cool their interiors to a crisp 75°F. Their small size, urban setting and idiosyncratic features, under hulking retractable roofs, make them close cousins and prime examples of the have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too mentality of retractable roof stadiums.