By Drew Markol, TSN Contributor - Archive - Email
Nobody asked me, but...
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - What do you do when your retro, state-of- art stadium starts to get a little grey at the temples?

What got me to thinking about this subject is iconic Camden Yards in Baltimore turns 20 this year, only a year away from being able to drink legally.

Talk about having time go by in an instant. Camden Yards is 20? Man, we're all getting old.

The problem for the stadium, and many others that went up not longer after it, is that the newness has worn off as has the novelty.

By now, anyone who wanted to see it, has seen it.

The same can be said for Coors Field (Colorado Rockies), Turner Field (Atlanta Braves), The Ballpark in Arlington (Texas Rangers), Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks), Safeco Field (Seattle Mariners), Progressive Field (Cleveland Indians), U.S. Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox) and Tropicana Field (Tampa Bay Rays).

All of the above stadiums were built in the 1990s as part of remarkable "can you top this" craze that gave us one palace after another.

But, today, another slew of new stadiums built in the 2000s, 13 of them, have stolen the luster from their older brethren.

And look at the newest stadium, Marlins Park (Miami Marlins), which opened last week. My Lord, the place has an aquarium behind home plate. It's also the 14th to open in the last 12 years, which accounts for nearly half of the teams in baseball.

The next one looks like it will be built in Oakland, for the Athletics, for the 2015 season. And, with a little luck, the Rays will finally get a new home to replace dreary and kooky Tropicana Field and its goofy catwalk.

So, where does that leave the stadiums of the '90s, which aren't really old by any standard except baseball standards?

Quite frankly, and this comes as no surprise, what those teams need to do is win. Winning covers up any blemishes all the time.

In this economy, the last thing many cities can think about doing is helping their baseball team build a new park.

There's nothing wrong with the stadiums of the '90s; it's just that most of them have been outdone by newer models. That's just the way things go. New technologies and ideas come along.

Still, that doesn't mean we should weep for the Camden Yards' of the world. It would be silly to knock them down or renovate them. That's not needed.

When built, one would have to think the idea was that they'd be in use for 30 to 40 years, making Camden Yards just middle-aged along with the rest of group from the '90s. It's not yet time to say goodbye.

On the flip side, the classic stadiums have nothing at all to worry about. They are ingrained in our culture and we want to make a pilgrimage to them and then do it again whether their teams win or lose.

They are, of course, Dodger Stadium, Wrigley Field and Fenway Park.

No, I didn't forget about Angel Stadium of Anaheim, opened in 1966, or Kauffman Stadium, the home of the Kansas City Royals, opened in 1973. They were both renovated, Angel Stadium in the late 1990s and Kauffman just a few years ago.

Kauffman, by the way, will also host the All-Star Game this season, marking the first time in nearly 30 years that most of America will even see the park. I hate to be that harsh, but not much worthwhile has happened at Kauffman since the 1985 World Series. If it did, I can't recall it. Hopefully, with a young group of talent, the Royals will quickly change my thinking. We'll see.

A new Dodger Stadium might go up one day, a new Yankee Stadium did, but could you imagine Wrigley or Fenway being creamed by a wrecking ball? Not going to happen.

They, Fenway and Wrigley, are a combined 198 years old and never looked better. Sounds funny, but it's true.

Drew Markol has been a sportswriter and columnist for several newspapers in the Philadelphia area for more than 25 years.

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