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The Ballpark of the Future is … kinda trippy

Mar 14, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

In the year 2000

Sports Illustrated and ballpark architect Populous have combined to do something fun: imagine what a ballpark might look like in the year 2030. Go check it out here. There are artist’s renderings and explanations of all of the unique flourishes and how the concepts of ballpark design will evolve over the next 15-20 years. It’s kinda cool. It’s even got monorails and stuff, and nothing says the future like a monorail.

Of course, like almost all speculative stuff like this, it’s rather utopian and thus extremely unlikely to come to fruition. Often times we don’t realize how futurist stuff like this is unrealistic until many years have passed (people really did think there would be moon colonies by the year 2000 at one point). But sometimes you can see the flaws right out of the gate. This one is in the latter camp.

The biggest thing I see is the unworkability of the “sink into the city” design Populous has come up with here. Part of the explanation:

In this case, the building itself is defined by the edges of the city, acting as a window into the building on game days. There’s no need for fanciful facades, as the stadium instead flows with the park and city. You’ll still find a traditional seating bowl tucked below premium glass-enclosed spaces, but with the future of team revenue not as reliant on gate receipts, designers can offer new types of space. A city park overlooks rightfield . . . and an enlarged berm beyond leftfield gives the stadium community-inspired life and public accessibility 365 days a year.

Tell me one time in the history of baseball when team owners were willing to forego a buck in the interests of public accessibility. Maybe gate receipts will continue to diminish in importance, but in a world where baseball owners (a) demand someone else pay for their parks; (b) nonetheless take all revenues from said park; and (c) still gouge the living hell out of fans because, well, they can, I am not too optimistic that people will be gayly frolicking in a public park beyond the right field wall. Heck, even on non game days I’m sure the public will find limited at best access to this wonderfully integrated-into-the-city park.

I do, on the other hand, love what they have to say about integrated data in the park. The technology stuff is where I imagine ballparks will change the most over the next few decades, with the superstructure, facades and access changing far less than is imagined here.

Anyway: fun stuff. If you can’t get excited by this kind of thing you and I don’t have much to talk about.

  1. halladaysbiceps - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    Jesus H. That picture scared me when I first saw it. Is he from Atlantis or something?

    • raysfan1 - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:21 PM

      It’s Conan O’Brien in his dressing room.

      • jm91rs - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:33 PM

        In the year 2000…

      • Ryan - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:55 PM

        I love that you reference both “in the year 2000” AND monorails – one of the classic Simpsons episodes, and one that O’Brien wrote.

  2. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    This stadium design obviously is one large fallacy. No where do I see robot umpires. Or hover boards. Or light-saber bats.

    Park of the future my butt.

    • jm91rs - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      Future? Dude, hover boards are already here….

  3. 18thstreet - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    “I’ve seen the future and it’s much like the present only longer.” – Dan Quisenberry

  4. skerney - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    I curious as to which MLB cities will be candidates for new stadiums in 2030 and have the public and private resources to build something akin to these renderings. Toronto? White sox? Both LA teams?

    • nbjays - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:46 PM

      Won’t be Toronto. Rob Ford’s crack habit takes priority over public spending.

      • happytwinsfan - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:55 PM

        is it true he actually has a realistic chance of being reelected? if so you guys get my vote for a sympathy world series, as long as you can keep him out of the rogers center.

  5. nbjays - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    “Instead of rising out of the city, the stadium sinks into it.”

    I hope they have good drainage, then. Otherwise, this place will make the A’s clubhouse seem like a rose-scented bath.

  6. mikhelb - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    The “sinked park” resembles PetCo in San Diego a bit. There is a delimited park that extends onto the city and the stadium blends quite well with the structures near it.

  7. jkcalhoun - Mar 14, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    If that monorail is as loud as LaGuardia air traffic, Mets fans will feel right at home.

  8. nymets4ever - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Conan is not funny.

    • NatsLady - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:56 PM

      First sensible thing you ever said on this blog.

  9. happytwinsfan - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    i hope that sitting on the ground instead of in a chair isn’t my future

  10. onbucky96 - Mar 14, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    In the year 2000…Bud Selig will be declared Undead, and Commissioner For Eternity.

  11. perryt200 - Mar 14, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    If you look at the artist renditions, it is good to see in the future they still have problems with shadows on the field.

  12. brianjoates - Mar 14, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    New stadiums should lower seating to about 25k, but allow for many standing room only option tickets built around bars in the outfield areas. When it becomes more of a social setting, you can draw in the non fan with a baseball game in the background. Some stadiums already provide a his set up.

  13. moogro - Mar 14, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    I like the taste of transitory surveillance that the trains provide. Just enough to make someone want to come back, but not enough to be satisfied. I like the blurring of public/private space based on the event. There will be more of this, like closing Landsdowne, creating bar/party villages, the Petco design, etc.
    The early right field idea of Target field was supposed to be like the this before they chickened out: a walk-up public space able to look in on the Twins tantalizingly from just out of range, while creating amenities supporting a public gathering space. Especially since municipalities are threatened into underwriting these things, there is room for more interesting ideas to happen. Knotholes good or bad for business?

  14. dcarroll73 - Mar 14, 2014 at 5:07 PM

    So this is the stadium in which Buck Bokai broke all those records. Too bad it couldn’t save the game. The attendance at that last WS game in 2042 was only 300 people.

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