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The Twi-Nighter: Who's next for a new ballpark?

Big League Stew

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The Mets held another walkthrough of their new Citi Field today. They'll leave Shea Stadium and move into the park next Opening Day, which got me around to thinking that there aren't many more teams slated to ditch their old digs for a new and updated home.

Yes, believe it or not, Major League Baseball has almost gone through a full rotation of the new ballpark renaissance, started by the White Sox and The Cell in 1991 and then the Orioles and Camden Yards in '92.

Think about it. Almost every team that needed a new ballpark is having one built for them or is at least exploring the possibilities. The Mets and Yankees will have new homes in 2009, the Twins are moving out of the Metrodome in 2010 and the A's hope they'll be packing for Fremont soon after. Meanwhile, down in Florida, the Marlins and their dozens of fans will be headed to Miami in 2011. Also, if the voters approve it this fall, the Rays will have a cool, new sailboat stadium instead of Tropicana Field, possibly as early as 2012.

That new stadium schedule raises an interesting question: Which team will be the next to claim they need a new park and then try to get voters to build them one? If you look at the list of the remaining older stadiums, nothing really stands out.

The three oldest parks that aren't facing danger (Fenway, Wrigley, Dodger) have tradition on their side as well as millions of dollars spent in recent renovations.

The next three (Angel, Kauffman and U.S. Cellular) have also gone (or are undergoing) through several costly improvements and have the support of their fanbases.

So are we looking at a 20-30 year run with the stadiums we have? Or will things like architectural problems at Fenway/Wrigley or a desire by the White Sox to move closer to Lake Michigan/the Chicago skyline bring us a new park before that? Perhaps one of the teams with a new "retro" stadium will decide in 10-20 years that they could relocate for a better deal?

I'm interested to hear any theories or conspiracies, so leave your thoughts in the comments below or email me at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com.

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