Tuesday, May 8, 2007

A Ballpark in Progress

Brian VanderBeek of The Modesto Bee muses about Thurman Field, a ballpark that remains a work in progress ten years after its putative completion:

I've been there for most of the games since the 1997 grand opening, with the number of national anthems and first-pitch ceremonies somewhere near 700. The one constant in those 10 years has not been a constant at all, but the ever-changing face and feel of Thurman Field.

It was erected in a design-and-build fashion, the construction industry's polite way to say "on the fly." New things were proposed each day, then erected, or altered or eliminated completely as the budget would allow.

What the city got was the best ballpark $2.2 million of taxpayer money possibly could build, and a work in progress. I think it was meant to be that way — perpetually.

From how he tells it, it's not necessarily a bad thing. There are several major league venues that would have benefited from such an approach as opposed to the "let's cram all of the charm we can into the place on day one" aesthetic that prevails in today's retro parks.