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There was some big news on the ballpark front in 2001. But which story was the biggest?


By Joe Mock

BASEBALLPARKS.COM, my Web site devoted to the facilities in which pro baseball is played, conducted a poll recently. It asked visitors to the site to select the biggest ballpark news story of 2001. I provided nine choices, ranging from the opening of new parks to the closing of all parks for a week following the September 11 tragedies. There was also the option for visitors to "write in" another story, although none did.

Two of the options ran neck-and-neck throughout the polling period: the possible vacating of two Major League parks due to "contraction" (it finished with 26% of all respondents voting for this option) and the opening of PNC Park in Pittsburgh (25%).

The visitors to my site must have been very impressed with the Pirates' new home, much more than the other Major League stadium which debuted in 2001, Milwaukee's Miller Park. The opening of the Brewers' new home attracted only 12%.

The aftermath of the events of September 11 made an impact on a number of our voters, as 19% of them voted for the closing of all pro ballparks for the seven days after the attack.

Here are the full results:

1. The possible vacating of two Major League parks due to "contraction" - 26%
2. The opening of PNC Park in Pittsburgh - 25%
3. The closing of all ballparks following the tragedies of Sept. 11 - 19%
4. The opening of Miller Park in Milwaukee - 12%
5. The arrival of the World Series to Bank One Ballpark in only its fourth year - 6%
6. The failure to firm up plans for new/renovated park for the Red Sox - 4%
7. (tie) Announcement of new park for the Cardinals - 2%
7. (tie) The stalling of construction of the Padres' new park - 2%
9. The announcement of firm plans for a new park for the Phillies - 0%

By no means is this a perfectly scientific cross sampling of all baseball fans (in fact, I would place the error rate of this survey at plus-or-minus 100%!), but it does give you an indication of which ballpark stores are considered most important by fans. Fans could only vote for one story, and they were not allowed to vote more than once (so no "stuffing of the ballot box" could occur). I also need to point out that the poll had already started before the announcement on December 28th regarding new stadiums for the Mets and Yankees. Undoubtedly, that would have pulled in some votes had it been included.

I've launched a new poll on BASEBALLPARKS.COM asking visitors to select the "ballpark event" they are most looking forward to in 2002. Why not visit the site and cast your vote?!

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