Posts Tagged ‘multipurpose stadium’

The Stars No Longer Shine At Huntsville’s Joe W. Davis Stadium

August 30th, 2014

Joe W. Davis Municipal Stadium is located at 3125 Leeman Ferry Road in Huntsville, Alabama.

Joe W. Davis Stadium Marquee at Memorial Parkway and Don Mincher Drive

The ballpark is named after a former Mayor of Huntsville who spearheaded the effort to bring professional baseball to Huntsville.

Entrance to Joe W. Davis Stadium, Huntsville, Alabama

Constructed in 1985, it has been the home of the Southern League Huntsville Stars for the team’s entire existence.

Entrance to Joe W. Davis Stadium Circa 2003

The team’s name and logo is a nod to the city’s connection to space exploration. Both NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the United States Army Aviation and Missile Command at the Redstone Arsenal are located in the Huntsville area.

View of Joe W. Davis Stadium From Behind Outfield Wall

The ballpark was designed and built prior to the rebirth movement that swept professional baseball parks with the introduction of Camden Yards in 1992.

View of Joe W. Davis Field From Behind Outfield Wall Circa 2003

Thus, both the exterior and interior of Joe Davis Stadium are plain and functional, with little in the way of architectural flourishes.

Turnstiles at Front Entrance to Joe W. Davis

Because the ballpark lacks any real je ne sais quoi, it truly harkens back to an earlier era when only the game on the field mattered.

Beer Stand and Beer Man, Joe W. Davis Stadium

The stadium’s dated structure also helps explain why the Stars wanted to relocate to a new facility.

Joe W. Davis Stadium Concourse Behind Third Base

Given the ballpark’s location in Rocket City, there certainly was ample inspiration for a space-themed baseball ballpark. Unfortunately, other than the Stars logo and Jet’s Pizza, there is very little in the way of space-themed concourse or ballpark offerings.

Jet’s Pizza – Gotta Love the Pun

When the stadium opened in 1985, the Stars were an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics.

Day’s Lineup Posted on Stadium Concourse

In 1999, their affiliation switched to the Milwaukee Brewers, who have remained with the Stars ever since.

Entrance to First Base Seating Bowl, Joe W. Davis Stadium

The ballpark faces northeast, providing an inspiring view of Monte Sano State Park.

The View Behind Home Plate, Joe W. Davis Stadium, Huntsville, Alabama
Joe W. Davis Stadium with Monte Sano State Park Visible Beyond Outfield

Although intended primarily for baseball, the City of Huntsville designed Joe Davis stadium as a multi-purpose venue.

Joe W. Davis Left Field Seating Bowl

This accounts for the exceptionally long grandstand that runs along the third base foul line and wraps around to left field, while the first base grandstand stops opposite first base.

View of Joe W. Davis from Behind Outfield Fence

The ballpark can hold over 10,000 spectators, a size much larger than necessary for those who come to watch the Stars come out.

Entrance to Section 201 Joe W. Davis Stadium

Built to include 15 sky suites long before such luxury boxes were the norm for minor league baseball, even that portion of the structure looks very much outdated.

Who On Earth Designed this Entrance to the Joe W. Davis Luxury Boxes?

The majority of the seats are uncovered, with shade provided only for those sitting in the grandstand running along first base.

Huntsville Stars Warm Up Pregame

Perhaps it is Joe Davis Stadium’s dated feel that makes me lament the departure of the Stars.

Wahoos Manager Delino DeShields and Stars Manager Carlos Subero Exchange Lineup Cards

It remains a good place to watch baseball, with plenty of room to spread out.

Huntsville Stars take on the Pensacola Blue Wahoos

For several years now the Stars have been looking for another venue in which to shine.

Scoreboard, Joe W. Davis Stadium, Huntsville

Perhaps knowing that the end was near, the City did not invest much in the stadium in the way of extras. Even the stadium scoreboard is perfunctory at best.

Joe W. Davis Entrance to Team Store

In January 2014, the Stars announced they were moving to a brand new ballpark being constructed in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Slim Pickings in the Huntsville Team Store’s Final Season

Alas, 2014 was to be the last season of the Stars in Huntsville. However, construction shortfalls at the Biloxi site have delayed the team’s move to that ballpark  for the start of the 2015 season.

Huntsville’s Parting Banner, Joe W. Davis Stadium

It is unclear where the team will play to start the season, but apparently it will not be in Huntsville.

Huntsville Stars Logo

There are no current plans to demolish Joe Davis Stadium. Presumably the City could still use the facility for high school football games and the occasional monster truck rally. There is also talk of perhaps a new Southern League franchise locating to Huntsville in the next few years, should the city agree to construct a new, downtown ballpark. What does seem certain, however, is that come September 1, 2014, the days of professional baseball at Joe Davis Stadium will come to an end. And after that, it will be just a matter of time before the stadium becomes yet another lost ballpark.

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Shea Stadium’s Ghost in the Shadow of Citi Field

October 17th, 2011

Shea Stadium was home to the New York Mets from 1964 to 2008.

Approaching Shea Stadium from the No. 7 Train

Located in Flushing, New York, adjacent to the former grounds of the 1964 Worlds Fair, Shea was the second of the so-called “cookie cutter,” multi purpose stadiums, following RFK stadium (formerly D.C. Stadium), which opened in 1961.

Shea Stadium Gate E Located Near Right Field

Stadium access by subway was behind the stadium via stairs to the Willets Point subway stop.

Shea Stadium Beyond Stairs To Willets Point Subway Station

The stadium facade was for the most part a series of walking ramps from the ground floor to the upper reaches of the stadium.

Shea Stadium Exterior

Out beyond center field was a large parking lot which, thankfully, was not visible from lower seating bowl.

Shea Stadium on a Beautiful Summer's Afternoon

Prior to construction beginning on Citi Field, the area beyond center field seemed almost bucolic.

Shea Stadium Outfield Pre Citi Field Construction

Shea Stadium’s home run apple, which rose out of an upside down top hat, sat just beyond right-center field.

Shea Stadium's Home Run Apple

The right-field scoreboard included a lighted-neon panoramic outline of the New York City skyline.

Shea Stadium Right Field Scoreboard

On a clear, summer afternoon, Shea Stadium was a great place to watch a ballgame.

Shea Stadium With Pedro Martinez on the Mound

The distance from home plate to dead center field was 410 feet, one of the longest in the majors.

Shea Stadium - the View from Center Field

The view from inside the stadium seating area changed dramatically when construction began on Citi Field.

Shea Stadium Right Field Scoreboard with Citi Field In Background

The juxtaposition of the two stadiums provided plenty of interesting camera angles for capturing the past and the future of baseball in Flushing, NY.

View of Citi Field from Shea Stadium Section 27

From 2006 until its closing in 2008, every visit to Shea Stadium was a reminder that the ballpark’s days were numbered.

Looking Through Shea Stadium Ramp toward Citi Field

It seemed a shame that the team couldn’t have found a way to incorporate part of the old stadium structure in the new ballpark.

Can't We Both Just Get Along? Shea and Citi Field Side by Side

Still, Citi Field does pay homage to its predecessor in several ways.  The former site of Shea Stadium is marked in parking lot B of Citi Field.

Shea Stadium Home Plate Marker

Arrive several hours before game time and you should have no problem running the bases of old Shea Stadium.

Shea Stadium Home Plate Marker Looking Toward PItchers Mound

In addition to home plate and the pitcher’s mound, each base is denoted with a bronze marker.  The figurine etched into the marker denotes the neon ballplayers that once graced the gate entrances of Shea Stadium.

Shea Stadium First Base Marker

The home run apple was moved from its former location beyond Shea Stadium’s right-center field to Citi Field’s front entrance just beyond the Willets Point subway stop.

Shea Stadium Home Run Apple Adorns Citi Field Parking Lot

The NYC Neon skyline was removed from the top of Shea Stadium’s right-field scoreboard and placed atop Citi Field’s Shake Shack located beyond center field.

NYC Skyline Removed From Shea's Old Right Field Scoreboard

Also located beyond the outfield is the Shea bridge, a pedestrian walkway honoring William Shea.

Shea Bridge Relocated to Citi Field

A plaque on the side of the bridge pays homage to Mr. Shea, the namesake of the Mets’ former ballpark.

Plaque Attached to Shea Bridge at Citi Field

Although Shea Stadium has joined the ever-growing list of lost ballparks, its memory lives on at the Mets’ new home, Citi Field.  It’s ghost now sits in Citi Field’s shadow, more specifically, parking lot B.

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