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New and Old Stadia

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Apologies for the light blogging; as part of a tour of America’s most vibrant urban areas, I saw the Flames play in the new arena at Newark and then in Detroit. The latter was my girlfriend’s first game, which I suppose makes it additionally lucky that it was easily one of the five most exciting regular season games I’ve ever seen, granting that it was fairly enough marred by NHL quirks like the shootout and less-than-amateurish officiating:

To turn this into a point of marginally broader interest, the contrast between what is (I think) the second oldest rink in the league and (one of the?) newest presents an interesting questions. In hockey (and I assume hoops), amenities vs. tradition is a fairly easy call. The more comfortable seats and (especially) the easier navigation provided by wider concourses made the Prudential Center a much better experience, with the only caveat that as in the new baseball stadia the bad seats at new rinks tend to be a lot worse than the other ones. It is true that the Joe Louis was the more enjoyable atmosphere, but that had to do with a knowledgeable sellout crowd that already had a significant number of people standing up to watch the warmups vs. a small one that much of which wasn’t in its seats when the puck dropped than the atmosphere of the older building.

In baseball, this question is more complicated. I guess I would say that I’d rather see a single game at Fenway than at a nice new park than Safeco, but if I was seeing more than a couple games a year I’d (unless I was in its very worst seats) have to go with the mallpark. (Wrigley I’m not sure; I thought it was a lot more comfortable than Fenway.) This year, I’ll get to see what should be an easier call — new mallpark replacing decrepit, ugly multi-purpose Robert Moses monstrosity — except that I could actually afford decent seats at Shea…

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