Sunday, June 25, 2023

Signature Sundays - June 25

 Hello friends!

It's Sunday. That means another autographed card.

Today is umpire Laz Diaz. I'm not sure any ump is a "fan favorite" but I could be wrong. 
This one is actually up for trade if someone wants this. 

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Stadium Saturdays - Olympic Stadium

 Hello Friends!

It's Saturday, meaning the newest installment of Stadium Saturdays. 

Today is another stadium that's no longer being used, but unlike Candlestick, is still standing. 

Of course, it's the White Elephant known as Olympic Stadium

I drew this as part of an art assignment in High School. Obviously the stickers were a later addition. 

Olympic Stadium, or Stade Olympique, was originally built for the 1976 Olympics then retrofitted for the Expos. 
The want for a covered stadium for Montreal started in the 1960s. Mayor Jean Drapeau believed that a covered stadium was essential to getting a MLB team to the city. The obvious weather problems being the reason. 
Originally the stadium was to be built by 1971. Charles Bronfman, owner of the Expos, was ready to walk if a deal wasn't in place (Seattle, Montreal.. Both had issues with stadiums and ending up playing in substandard facilities it seems) 

The stadium was built to have a retractable roof using a cable system. The cables were to hang from the adjacent tower to the field. 

Originally slated to be opened in 1972, construction was delayed due to strikes. The construction union head was tied to organized crime, and as a result, was causing much of the disorder with the project until the Quebec Premier paid him off. Other issues caused delays as well, such as the winters being generally ugly. 

The stadium and tower were unfinished before the Olympics. Materials for the roof were stored in a warehouse until 1982. The roof and tower weren't finished until 1987. The roof could not be used in winds above 25 mph.. Overall, it opened 88 times. 

Originally slated to cost $130 Million to complete, strikes, delays, and cost overruns caused the cost to balloon to $1.2 Billion dollars. 
A tobacco tax was added in 1976 to recoup the costs of the stadium. Once the stadium was paid, it would become property of the city of Montreal. It took until 2006 to fully pay it off.. The total expenditure: Construction, Strikes, overruns, inflation, etc, was $1.61 Billion. 

At different times, parts of the stadium started crumbling. A couple times the roof failed, causing a new roof to be installed. Better heating and runoff management was installed to keep the roof intact. The roof that was being used was dangerous with heavy rainfall or 3.1 inches of snow. 

The stadium was a multipurpose venue, also housing the CFL Montreal Alouettes. As a result, the lower seats were further away from the field. Part of the reason for this is the different dimensions of the field for the CFL compared to the NFL. The upper deck was so high up that it was generally useless for baseball games. 

The Expos weren't consulted at all about the field. As a result, they used other gimmicks to make it more baseball friendly. An Om-Pah band greeted patrons arriving by the Metro. If an opposing pitcher threw over to first instead of pitching, they would play the sound of a chicken clucking. 
Before the 1992 season, the running track was removed and the infield was moved closer to the stands.
There were other issues with the field though. The turf and the padding under the turf was very thin, as was the padding on the wall. The committee in charge of making any improvements to the stadium balked at the $1 million cost to change the turf and padding. As a result, it was hard to get free agents to come to Montreal. 

In the 1990s and early 2000s, we all know about the struggles of trying to get a new stadium. The Premier at the time, Lucien Bouchard,  balked at talks of a new stadium since The Big O wasn't paid off yet, plus at the time "How can we justify a new stadium when we're closing hospitals?"

The stadium is currently in a permanent football/soccer configuration. The stands can no longer be moved in order to play baseball. 

So.. Who's used this stadium???

Montreal Alouettes (CFL) 1976-1986, 1996-1997, Part time 1998-2013
Montreal Expos (MLB) 1977-2004
Montreal Maniac (NASL) 1981-1983
Montreal Machine (WLAF) 1991-1992
CF Montreal (MLS) 2012-present - select games. 

Having lived through the long, drawn out death of the Montreal Expos, I'm seeing a lot of parallels with the Oakland Athletics. Owner who wants to cash in elsewhere, years of being told the stadium sucks.. (and to be fair... Both stadiums have their issues) and lack of government cooperation. Obviously the constant firesales as well. It's hard to be a fan of a glorified Triple A team..

So what say you? Any memories of the Big Owe?. 

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Signature Sundays - June 18

 Hello Friends!

Today is Sunday. Another installment of  Signature Sundays!

Today is a Canadian ballplayer who was enshrined in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2022, though his induction year was 2020.. (Yay Covid....) 

Justin Morneau!

Now a number of people will gripe at the sticker auto, but to me it's better than no auto at all..

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Stadium Saturdays - Candlestick Park

 Hello Friends!

This week I'm hopping the San Francisco Bay over to Candlestick Park for my Stadium Saturdays series. 

Candlestick was the home of the Giants from 1960-1999. 

The Giants moved from New York in 1958. Candlestick wasn't finished so the team spent two seasons at Seals Stadium. When Candlestick opened, it originally was for baseball only. In 1971 the 49ers moved into the Stadium, causing an expansion and recongifuration of the stadium and field. 

Interestingly enough, the Oakland Raiders played in the Stick in 1960 and 1961. 

Originally, the park was open in the outfield. The roof was supposed to extend along past left field and into the outfield, but was scrapped for cost purposes. There's no saying whether or not the roof would have cut down the wind and cold, but it may have. (Though when the stadium was fully enclosed, all it ended up doing was creating a negative pressure cell over the field) 
There was heating installed to the seating but it was ineffective. So much so that an attourney in 1960 sued the Giants and won the cost of his season tickets because the heating didn't work as advertised. It should be noted that he showed up in court wearing a parka to prove his point. 
From 1970-1978 the field was Astroturf, mainly to stop dust storms from the swirling winds. 

One incident everyone hears about is the 1961 All Star Game, when Stu Miller was blown off the mound and charged with a balk. A couple years later, a gust of wind picked up the batting cage and dropped it on the mound. 

The cold resulted in some humourous things though. Any fan who stayed an entire night game that went into extra innings got a pin called the Croix de Candlestick. It had the phrase "Veni, Vidi, vixi" on it. In English: I came, I saw. I survived. It also got many nicknames like Windlestick, the North Pole, Cave of the Winds, and The Ashtray By the Bay.

There were some name changes along the way, as usual. 3Com Park, then San Francisco Park at Candlestick Point, then Monster Park. Monster is for a Cable company, not the energy drink or the job website. 
A writer in the Bay area called the place Candle3MonsterStick as a result of the name changes. 

Over the course of its history, Candlestick hosted two All Star Games, three NLCS (1971, 1987, 1989) two World Series (1962, 1989) and one NLDS (1997)
On the football side, the 49ers hosted eight NFC Championship games. 

In 1997, plans were being made to replace Candlestick Park on Candlestick Point. In 2006, The 49ers stated they were abandoning any future search for a site in San Francisco, and looked to Santa Clara. 

With no tenants, Candlestick was demolished over 2015. 

The card above was from the Earthquake in the 89 Series, but it's kind of fitting for a place that was demolished. There was a lot of praise on the build of the stadium after the quake because of how it withstood the activity. Had the stadium given way, there would have been thousands injured or killed at the one site alone. 

Tenants.. Who used this place while it was standing?

San Francisco Giants (MLB) 1960-1999
San Francisco 49ers (NFL) 1971-2013
Oakland Raiders (AFL) 1961-1961
San Francisco Golden Gate Gales (USA) 1967

That last one, as well as being a mouthful to say, was part of the United Soccer Association. 

There were plans in place to build residential and commercial property on the site, but nothing has come of it as of yet. 

What are your memories of the place? Did anyone do the Croix de Candlestick??

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Signature Sundays - June 11

 Hello Friends!

I'm marginally better than yesterday, though a long way from "good" 

However, I'm here.. 

And speaking of good... Today's auto is from arguably one of the best pitchers in Blue Jays history

Dave Stieb. 

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Stadium Saturdays - June 10

 Hello Friends.

Sorry to say this week there won't be a Stadium post..  I've been dealing with mental and physical health all week and used up all my energy in 20 minutes at a BBQ today...

Signature Sunday is still a go.. 

I apologize for the inconvenience.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Signature Sundays - June 4

 Hello Friends!

Today is Sunday. That means I show another autographed card from my collection.  

Today it's Rowdy Tellez from the Topps Total Reboot debacle they made online exclusive. 

It's a sticker auto, which in a way makes sense due to the nature of the product. 
Rowdy was drafted and signed by the Jays. He was traded in 2021 to the Brewers for Bowden Francis and Trevor Richards

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Stadium Saturdays - Oakland Coliseum

 Hello Friends!

It's Saturday, so that means another stadium on the tour. Now. I'm going to try not to dunk on the place too much given the recent events, but some of the things have been an issue throughout. 

I'm of course, talking about Oakland-Alameda Network Associates McAfee Ring Central Coliseum in Oakland, California. 

So some of the things we know.. It's part of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Complex, which also has Oakland Arena. 

In the 50s and 60s, Oakland, as well as pretty much every other city on the west coast, was fighting for expansion consideration from the major sports. Of course, by the start of the 60s, you had both the Dodgers and Giants in the area, but other cities wanted a piece of the pie. 

In 1960 a non-profit group was started in Oakland to oversee the financing and development of a stadium. Local devleoper Robert T Nahas had the idea to have the facility privately financed with ownership transferring to the city.

In some respects, Nahas was the only reason the place even got built. He also had the unenviable task of dealing with Al Davis and Charlie O Finley. Oakland was on the radar for an expansion by the American League in 1961. 

In 1965, The Cleveland Indians were rumoured to be moving to Oakland, but they stayed put. Instead, Charlie Finley was able to move to Oakland in 1968.

This photo was from the 1980s and people could see outside the stadium. This view was lost in 1995. 

For Raiders games, two congifurations were used for football.. It all depended on whether the Athletics were still in season or not. During baseball season, Raider games were configured to set up from Home to Centre Field. After the baseball season ended, it was From Left Field to Right Field. 
After 1996, the latter configuration was the one used for Football. 

Another photo of the stadium in the early years. 

The Coliseum after Mt. Davis was built. 
So there have been attempts to replace the Coliseum since 2005. First site suggested by the team was across from the current site but was rejected when land owners refused to sell. Through 2006, the team looked for areas within their territory. They were looking in Fremont for a site, but stopped after public opposition. They tried taking the stadium idea to San Jose, but was stopped by the Giants exercising their territory rights to San Jose.
The city suggested sites at Jack London Square and a project called Coliseum City, which would be built on the current property. Both were rejected.
In 2016, the team was in talks with Laney College to build on their site. The proposal would include the movement and construction of an administrative building to a place of the school's choosing. However, that was abruptly shot down. 
2018 the team was looking at the Howard Terminal site for the park. The plans would have included purchasing the coliseum lands and making a technology and housing hub, preserving Oracle Arena, and turning the Coliseum into a low-rise sports park. 
We all know where things stand right now, so I'm not going to go any further.. 

In the late 70s, the Coliseum was poorly maintained, and attendance suffered. Twice the attendance was under 1000 for a game. During this period, people called the place The Mausoleum. 
There is also the issue of sewage backups. Now, the construction of the stadium was done in such a way that the field is 21 feet below sea level.
I may be talking out a random orifice, but to me, that seems like it would put strain on the sewage system, especially if the stadium was busy. 

Anyway.. Who has used this place over the years??

Oakland Athletics 1968-now
Oakland Raiders (NFL) 1966-1981, 1995-2019
Oakland Clippers (NPSL/NASL) 1967-1968
Oakland Stompers (NASL) 1978
Oakland Invaders (USFL) 1983-1985
San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) 2008-2009

So there we have it.. The Oakland Coliseum.. The Milk Bowl.. The Black Hole..