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Bob Matthews' Column

Can A Triple-A Stadium Have Too Many Seats?

 
Posted April 14th, 2014 @ 1:18pm

 

CAN A TRIPLE-A STADIUM HAVE TOO MANY SEATS?

 

What is the ideal seating capacity for a Triple-A baseball stadium?

 

All things considered, the 10,840 seats in Rochester’s Frontier Field seems about right.

 

The brand new BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, N.C., has 10,200 seats. For this year, and probably several years, the demand for tickets figurers to exceed the supply. But in the long run, the conservative capacity figures to be prudent.

 

New stadiums always are big draws in the minor leagues. For example, Rochester has led the International League in home attendance a total of 17 times, including 14 out of 15 years from 1962 through 1976, but only once since – 1997 – the year Frontier Field opened. It was shiny and new, the Red Wings were an exciting team, and the public responded.

 

Here are the listed capacities of the IL’s 14 stadiums (largest to smallest):

 

Buffalo (Coca-Cola Field) 18,025…Indianapolis (Victory Field) 14,500…Louisville (Louisville Slugger Field) 13,131…Norfolk (Harbor Park) 12,067…Syracuse (NBT Bank Stadium) 11,071…Rochester (Frontier Field) 10,840…Gwinnett (Coolray Field) 10,427…Toledo (Fifth Third Field) 10,300…Charlotte (BB&T Ballpark) 10,200…Columbus (Huntington Park) 10,100…Pawtucket (McCoy Stadium) 10,031…Durham (Bulls Athletic Park) 10,000…Lehigh Valley (Coca-Cola Park) 10,000.

 

Mike Harrington, the terrific baseball writer for The Buffalo News, reports that the Bisons and the architects who built Coca-Cola Field (opened in 1988) agree that the stadium needs some major upgrades. Harrington suggests that the capacity should be reduced to around 12,000 – to make the atmosphere more cozy and encourage more people to buy tickets in advance. He also suggests more comfortable seats – you know, like Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial needs so badly.

 

There are a handful of times every summer – holidays and special attractions – that Triple-A officials with stadiums in the 10,000 range might wish they had 15,000-plus seats. But for the most part – including Frontier Field – 10,000 works just fine. 15,000 to 20,000 seats would be too many.

 

EDMONTON RUSH FINALLY LOSE...JAMIESON NO. 2 IN SCORING

 

The Edmonton Rush finally lost a game last Friday night, 10-8 to the Colorado Mammoth before 17,109 at Denver’s Pepsi Center. John Grant Jr. had five goals for Colorado…Edmonton bounced back with a 15-11 win in Calgary Saturday night to become the first National Lacrosse League team to win 15 games in a regular season…Buffalo(8-7 record)  lost its fifth straight game Saturday, 10-9 at Minnesota.

 

Rochester’s Cody Jamieson had 1 goal and 6 assists in Saturday night’s 10-7 home win over Vancouver. He is second in the NLL scoring race (96 points; 33 goals and 63 assists), behind only Toronto’s Garrett Billings (101 points; 32 goals and 69 assists)…Not surprisingly, John Grant Jr. leads the NLL in shots on goal (175) and power play goals (14).

 

Edmonton’s Aaron Bold once was Matt Vinc’s backup as Rochester’s goaltender.  Now Bold (8.66) and Vinc (9.64) are 1-2 in the NLL in fewest goals allowed per game…Only three of the NLL’s nine teams have a plus-goal differential: Edmonton +59, Rochester +37 and Calgary +15…One small reason why Edmonton is 15-1 with two games remaining in the regular season: the Rush have only 237 penalty minutes compared to 334 for opponents.

 

CAN THE MILWAUKEE BREWERS POSSIBLY BE FOR REAL?

 

Entering Monday, the Milwaukee Brewers were Major League Baseball’s best team, with a 10-2 record.

 

Are the Brewers a fluke or a threat to win the National League Central?

 

At the very least, Milwaukee is an interesting team, particularly offensively. They have a superstar (Ryan Braun) and three other very good players (Aramis Ramirez, Jonathan Lucroy, and Carlos Gomez, the former Minnesota Twins flop who is playing like a very early MVP candidate; .373 (19-for-51), 3 doubles, 1 triple, 4 HRs, 9 RBI. Scoring runs shouldn’t be a problem.

 

The main reason to think the Brewers are likely to slip soon is their pitching. It has been brilliant so far, with a MLB-best 1.87 earned run average. The starting rotation (Yovani Gallardo, Wily Peralta, Marco Estrada, Matt Garza and Kyle Lohse) has been stellar. Four relief pitchers have a cumulative 0.00 ERA in 24 appearances, including closer Francisco Rodriguez (6 innings, 1 hit allowed, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts).

 

The clear favorite to win the NL Central is St. Louis. Milwaukee gets an early reality check starting Monday night with a three-game series at home against the Cardinals.

 

HERE’S WHY THE SABRES DESRERVE THE NO. 1 OVERALL PICK IN THE DRAFT

 

The Buffalo Sabres have a 100 percent chance to get no worse than the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s NHL entry draft. But only a 25 percent chance to win the lottery for the No. 1 pick. That’s seems unfair because the Sabres proved without a shadow of a doubt that they were the NHL’s worst team this season – by far.

 

Here is how the Sabres finished in the 34 0-team NHL in assorted categories, with the NHL leader in parentheses:

 

Wins – Sabres 21 (30th)…(Boston 54)

 

Points in the standings – 52 (30th)…(Boston 117)

 

Goals per game – 1.83 (30th)…(Anaheim 3.21)

 

Fewest goals allowed per game – 2.96 (25th)…(Los Angeles 2.05)

 

Power-play percentage – 14.1 (29th)…(Pittsburgh 23.4)

 

Penalty-killing percentage --  81.4 (20th)…(New Jersey 86.4)

 

Most shots per game – 26.3 (30th)…(San Jose 34.8)

 

Fewest shots allowed per game – 34.3 (28th)…(New Jersey 25.5)

 

Winning percentage when scoring first -- .290 (30th)…(Pittsburgh .860)

 

Winning percentage when lead after 1st period -- .333 (30th)…(Pittsburgh ,893)

 

Winning percentage when lead after 2nd period -- .667 (29th)…(Colorado .946)

 

Winning percentage when outshoot opponent -- .214 (30th)…(San Jose .636)

 

Winning percentage when outshot -- .231 (30th)…(Colorado .778)

 

Faceoff percentage – 46.8 (29th)…(Nashville 52.9).

 

THOUGHTS ON THE NBA

 

Can you see Carmelo Anthony opting out from the struggling New York Knicks to join the Chicago Bulls? The Bulls are a good team now but would be a title contender with a healthy Derrick Rose and the addition of Anthony. Joakim Noah and Anthony would be an interesting duo. Noah could do the little things Carmelo doesn’t always do – such as play consistent defense and set up teammates – and take the shots Noah doesn’t need to take and doesn’t particularly want to take.

 

I still think the Los Angeles Clippers can win the NBA championship this season if they’re completely healthy. I like their energy, athleticism and depth. My biggest concern is center DeAndre Jordan at the foul line. He’s an exceptional athlete and leads the NBA in rebounding (13.7 per game) and  field-goal percentage (.675). but he shoots only .434 from the free-throws line (159-fort-366). The Clippers need him on the court late to win close playoff games, but opponents will be sending him to the foul line at every opportunity.

 

The Atlanta Hawks have clinched a playoff spot in the NBA’s Eastern Conference with a 37-43 record. I don’t imagine Western Conference non-playoff teams Memphis (47-32) or Phoenix (47-33) and Minnesota (40-39) feel real good about that…The West is 283-166 versus the East this season.

 

One of the best things about the end of the regular season Wednesday night is that we’ll have seen the last of the overexposed 2013-14 Los Angeles Lakers in prime time.

 

SHORT SHOTS

 

San Francisco 49ers defensive star Aldon Smith is a very fortunate young man. He is an exceptional pass rusher at a point in time that he’s a precious commodity in nation’s workplace. Smith is in trouble with the law again, this time for an alleged bomb threat in an airport. Does Smith realize that his scrapes with the law would render him unemployed from most high-paying jobs. I assume he’ll continue to sack QBs in the NFL for many more years. I’m less convinced that he’l  be a law-abiding citizen.

 

Another old horse track will be gone soon. Beulah Park, Ohio’s first thoroughbred track (opened in 1923), will close for good on Kentucky Derby Day, May 3. Beulah Park is in Grove City, outside Columbus. The track’s racing license will switch to Mahoning Valley. A new track in Austintown, Ohio. The plan is for Mahoning Valley and ThistleDown, outside Cleveland, to combine for a year-round circuit, with 100 racing days each.

 

An autographed baseball that supposedly is the first “home run” Babe Ruth hit at Yankee Stadium will be up for auction soon. The ball was signed by Ruth and dated Feb. 14, 1923. On that date, Ruth agreed to take some swings, in street clothes and in four inches of snow, to help showcase the new stadium. He supposedly hit several “home runs” over the fences. ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell writes that collector Joel Platt got the ball from the family of a person who worked on the field at the stadium that day. Ruth’s autograph has been verified by two authentication companies.

 

Former pro wrestler and Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura isn’t a big fan of Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder. On his online show “Off The Grid”, Ventura last week said Snyder “is trying to buy the right to be racist by giving money and clothing to Native American tribes as a distraction from the real issue:  the majority of Native Americans find the NFL team name (Redskins) racist and offensive. You couldn’t do this to any other race. Would the NFL ever allow the Alabama Slaves or the Chinese Launderers.”

 

Sports Illustrated notes that Carmelo Anthony’s $3 million to Syracuse University now is tied for second with pro wrestler/actor Dwayne Johnson (Miami) as the richest one-time donation to his college. New York Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson recently donated $5 million to the University of Chicago’s new baseball facility

 

This will be a popular Buffalo Sabres trivia question: Who were the nine goalies to suit up for the Buffalo Sabres this season? Answer: Jhonas Enroth, Matt Hackett,  Jaroslav Halak, Connor Knapp, Nathan Lieuwen, Andrey Makarov, Ryan Miller, Michal Neuvirth and Ryan Vinz. Unfortunately, they couldn’t all play at the same time. It was a verrrrrrrrry long season.

 

Best wishes to Mike Robitaille, the former Buffalo Sabres defenseman and long-time Sabres TV analyst, on his retirement. His commentary, including the many times when he was brutally honest, was much appreciated. The broadcasts won’t be the same without him.

 

So far, so good for the Rochester Red Wings: 6-3 record; leading the 14-team International League in batting average (.315) and thir5d with a 3.12 earned run average.

 

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