Camden Yards

Camden Yards is getting a face lift

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Camden Yards — the flagship of the new era of ballparks — has been undergoing some minor renovations over the past couple of years. The team announced the latest round yesterday:

At the request of the Orioles, the club level and upper deck at Camden Yards will be furnished with wider seats that will be more comfortable for fans. In addition, sightlines for fans on both of those levels will be improved, as new, less intrusive railings will be installed, enhancing the view of those sitting in the first few rows of both levels, as well as fans sitting in and around upper deck equal access and companion seats.

The effect of this — other than just giving O’s fans more butt room — will be to cut seating capacity down by 2,319. Which isn’t a terribly big deal because the O’s rarely if ever draw sellout crowds anymore, and room for 45,971 is likely adequate.

Another effect: making me feel old. I still think of Camden Yards as “new.” In reality, there are only a handful of parks that are older. You got Fenway, Wrigley, Dodger Stadium, Anaheim, Oakland, Kauffman, Rogers Centre, U.S. Cellular, Tropicana Field and whatever the hell they’re calling the Marlins’ stadium this week.  Really, that’s the list of venerable ballparks. One of them will fall off that list in a couple of years. Another two — The Oakland Coliseum and the Trop — will eventually if there’s any justice in the world.  Crazy.

Moises Alou pledges to help Cubs give “closure” to Steve Bartman

CHICAGO - OCTOBER 7:  Moises Alou #18 of the Chicago Cubs hits a two-run home run in the first inning against thye Florida Marlins during game one of the National League Championship Series October 7, 2003 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
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After the Cubs won the World Series last month — their first since 1908 — owner Tom Ricketts said he plans to reach out to Steve Bartman to provide “closure.”

Bartman was the fan who interfered with left fielder Moises Alou’s attempt to catch a foul ball in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS against the Marlins. Alou was particularly irate about Bartman’s presence and it led to the fan becoming persona non grata in Chicago. In the time since, even before the Cubs won the World Series, the club has tried to make amends but Bartman has rejected offers to speak publicly and he has also rejected invitations to Wrigley Field.

Alou pledged to make time to attend any ceremony the Cubs stage for Bartman, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago-Sun Times reports.

Alou said, “Why not? I’d like to meet Bartman.” He continued, “I have nothing against the guy. I said it right after the game. I had the ball, and I got upset, but at the same time it’s not that kid’s fault. Everybody goes to the ballpark, and they bring a glove. Every wants to catch a fly ball.” However, He still maintains that he would have caught the ball if he had not been impeded.

Diamondbacks sign Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million deal

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 14:  Jeff Mathis #6 of the Miami Marlins hits a grand slam during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on June 14, 2016 in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that the club signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million contract.

Mathis, 33, isn’t much with the stick as he owns a career .197/.254/.308 triple-slash line over parts of 12 seasons in the majors. The veteran, though, is well-regarded for his ability to play defense, call games, handle a pitching staff, and get along with his teammates in the clubhouse. As Craig mentioned last year, Mathis is often talked about as a future manager.

The D-Backs non-tendered Welington Castillo on Friday, so Chris Herrmann and Mathis are the team’s two catchers as presently constructed.