Category Archives: Sports stadiums

Walking in Wembley

Its funny how things play out, isnt it? Oh, I know I say I’ve never seen an NFL game live, but strictly, thats not quite true. What I should say is that I’ve never seen a regular season game live. Thats because, just over 28 years ago, in those deluded days when I was trying to be a guy, and failing miserably, I went to one of those pre-season games, that neither side takes seriously, at Wembley. I dont actually remember much about the game itself, only that it took forever to get out of the stadium parking afterwards.

But the connection between that, and today, is one team. Then the Los Angeles Raiders, now the Oakland Raiders, and soon (presumably?) to be the Las Vegas Raiders played that day, and today is the first time they’ve been back since. Yes, I know, its a different stadium now, but besides all that…they’ve returned.

Looking back, I have no idea why I went to that game that year, but didnt go and see Buffalo (my team) the following year, but I suspect cost, and probably time were the big issues for that? Regardless, I wouldnt rush to see the current Bills team, for sure!

I wonder if anyone who was there, just over 28 years ago, is there today? Maybe a few, but not many, I’m sure? The funny thing is, I’ve been to their stadium in Oakland, though for a baseball game (now only NFL/MLB cross sports stadium), and I’ve seen the Coliseum in Los Angeles, though never (as yet) been inside it. So maybe, after the move, I really will have to visit Las Vegas, and take in a game? Wouldnt it be funny if my first real NFL game also involved the Raiders, in their new home?

So yes, in terms of NFL, me and the Raiders go back a long way. Further than that, in fact, as before I left home in 1983, one night, I was playing around with my radio, and found US Forces radio station, and they were covering an NFL game. Yes, no prizes for working out who one of the teams were, it was the Oakland Raiders!

Right, video time. Couldnt think of anything really apt, other than ‘Walk of Life’, which I’ve used a couple of times, so not using again. Then I thought of this…

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That’s Entertainment?

I’m pretty sure that a lot of sport nowadays is purely about the money making potential, with providing the general public with value, and entertainment a mere side issue. At least at times it feels that way.

I’m not even going into football, given the crazy sums that they charge people to go to a Premier League match nowadays, and even what some of the lower league sides charge, for an event that lasts about 90 minutes, crazy! But given I cant stand the sport, and have no wish to make it personal, lets leave it at that.

Not that (going up my scale of like) Horse Racing is an awful lot better now, what is charged for some of the major meetings (especially at weekends) sounds crazy to me, especially given that on top of the entry fee, you’re going to end up gambling more money, which may, or may not add to the cost of the day out. Fine, some days it might pay for it, but anyway…

And OK, I’m not going to defend what some of my beloved US sports charge for a seat, especially the better ones, because they can be pretty outrageous too. On top of which, you pay a good sum just to park your car, which given the prevalence of out of town stadiums seems a bit unjust too, if thats the only way you can get there?

But ironically, the sport getting my ire tonight is one of my favourites, cricket. Yesterday saw one game where not only was 126 a good score, it was a winning score, which for leading pro’s sounds crazy. Yes, I gather the wicket was to blame for that, which sounds daft, given that people pay to go and be entertained, not to see batsmen barely able to cope with conditions.

However, that wasnt as low as it got. Sky Sports were covering the game from Cardiff, due to the early end to the test match. It was a wicket that had previously been used, and sort of got back together for another match to be played on it. The commentators described it as an interesting wicket. Well, it was interesting if you want to see bowlers totally dominating, on a wicket where just about anything could happen. But for the people who’d paid a good sum, to see an entertaining cricket match, never mind!

The awful state of the wicket really showed up in the 2nd innings of the match, when both Hampshire batsmen got hit badly, by balls that leapt up from the pitch in a crazy fashion. Another ball in between, barely bounced! Anyway, after the second incident, the umpires declared the game abandoned, due to the unsafe state of the pitch. So not only did the paying public not get to be entertained, they got barely over half the match they’d paid to see.

Fair enough, if you want to pay large sums of money to go to sporting events, then go ahead and do it. I might add, that when on my own, I always go in the cheaper (though not the cheapest) seats at Baseball matches. But sporting teams, please at least provide conditions suitable for the contest, given how much you expect the public to pay to go and watch it.

The video, well its a question about yesterdays cricket, shall we say?

Oh, and fine, for the last time, given its now in its last 3 days, may I just ask that if anyone has a few spare pounds, dollars, euros, or whatever, and would like to help me change my name, the link is https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/e10ypc/ab/c2hJdb

The pleasures of baseball

Though I’m sure many of my European readers will be thinking what pleasure is there in a game of ’rounders’ lol! Dont get me wrong, I dont entirely understand the game (to put it mildly), but love the atmosphere of the games, and hey, its fun! Also the fans dont have to be segregated, unlike our wonderful soccer fans in most of the world!

One of the things I really love are the stadia. No, not the modern iniquities like Philadelphia, or the indoor dome of Minneapolis (no longer used) but the delights of Wrigley Field (Cubs), AT&T Park (Giants) and now I can add Fenway Park (Red Sox) to that list.

AT&T is new, even more so compared to the other 2, but it doesnt have the feel of a modern behemoth. It also has the major advantage (for night games at least) of having the sun setting over the bay while watching the game. Fenway and Wrigley are just the opposite. They may have been greatly modernised, but both stadiums still have that unique feel of having been built a long time ago. And they were, both fast approaching their 100th Anniversaries. Also fairly uniquely for sports stadia nowadays, they are both very much part of their city. Part of their problem actually, is the ability to expand to take modern sized crowds.

But I love these places, there is real soul in these places, not just somewhere for fans to sit and watch a game, as is so often the case nowadays, and I love that. I know, time has to move on, but all the same…But as AT&T has proved, you can build a modern stadium with heart, just wish a few more designers realised that!

And I leave you with the ultimate baseball song, recorded even before Fenway, and Wrigley were built!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4-gsdLSSQ0