Here's my Outpost take on the new baseball park. I've seen three games since writing that, and my updated take is bit harsher.
Perhaps harsh is the wrong word. I understand fully what the ballpark supporters were up against, and I realize that we were damn lucky to get a new park at all -- which was badly needed. Still, I don't think I will ever like the new park as much as I did Cobb Field.
The reasons are small, but they add up. The seating is really cramped. Nobody can get in or out of the middle of a row unless everybody stands up. Sitting next to a stranger can be a considerably more intimate experience than you really might want.
The lack of a roof has made a fairly big difference twice: on opening night, when it rained for six innings, and yesterday afternoon, when the scoreboard thermometer got as high as 108 degrees. I'm still enough of a Texan to be fairly heat tolerant, but I think a lot of older fans just won't go in hot weather. My mother-in-law is a baseball fan, and a Texan for longer than I was, but we couldn't have gotten her to a game at all last year if not for a promise that she could sit in the shade.
The biggest downside, in my opinion, is that it just isn't possible to sit up as high as I often like to. Sitting close to the action has its pluses, but I often like to sit as far from the diamond as possible, with the game laid out before me like a chessboard, watching the geometry of the game unfold. Can't really do that here.
I don't really mean to complain. I voted for the park, and I'm not asking for my money back. It's as much as, and perhaps a bit more, than we could reasonably have hoped for. But I wish it were easier to persuade taxpayers that, when you are going to build something that has to last for 50 years or so, it's worth spending a bit more up front to get it right.