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thrice all american: Play Ball! (On the Water?)
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Play Ball! (On the Water?)

· Posted Thursday April 3, 2008 by jamie

It’s here! Opening Day for your Tacoma Rainiers! We’ve got our 7 game series tickets and I’m excited for game one tonight at Cheney Stadium.

Speaking of Cheney, there has been some interesting discussion lately on the topic of the stadium. It seems that the City of Tacoma, Pierce County, Metro Parks, and the Tacoma School District are tossing around some ideas involving redevelopment of the complex that includes Cheney Stadium into a “recreational village” with condos, shopping, etc. (much to the consternation of many neighborhood activists, mind you). But regardless of its merits, the topic did reignite some of the “what if” scenarios that have come up in the past regarding the ideal location for baseball in Tacoma.

In the past, several creative ideas have been suggested. One of my favorites proposed a new waterfront stadium at the former Asarco site. Another interesting suggestion that came up was to tear down the struggling Tacoma Dome and rebuild there (but would that make us too much like Seattle?).

In a recent Tacoma Daily Index article, Justin Carleton (aka Frinklin) of No Rhubarb offered his thoughts on the ideal “home of the Rainiers”:

...my best-case scenario would be to tear down Cheney Stadium, not rebuild on that site, and find a place where they could go back downtown or back down to the Hilltop. Be closer to where people are. Baseball is meant to be downtown. For all of baseball’s romanticizing itself as the sport being born on the plains — this ‘Field of Dreams’ kind of stuff — baseball was built in downtown New York. It was built in Manhattan. It moved out of Manhattan when it moved to Queens.

...which lead to this thread of conversation on FeedTacoma, wherein I tossed out a few ideas of my own.

Historically, the home of baseball in Tacoma was the Athletic Park (below) at 15th and Sprague, now the site of Peck Field.

I appreciate the historical significance of this site quite a bit, and it would be neat to see that recognized by the organization. It doesn’t hurt that I could walk there quite easily, too. But unfortunately I don’t think there is enough space for both a stadium and the supporting parking on the site…

Besides, I like the appeal of a site that is downtown, maybe even on the water, so I took a look at the aerial views to see what might be possible. Not seeing a lot on the west side of the Foss Waterway, I peeked into the Tideflats, where my attention was immediately grabbed by the site of the Supervalu warehouse, circled in the below image (near Johnny’s Dock restaurant).

Now, granted I don’t even know if Supervalu would be interested in forfeiting this location, but let’s just dream for a sec. Plop in a cut-and-paste image of Portland’s much-touted PGE Park, home of the minor-league Beavers, and voilĂ !

Killer! A stadium right on the water. Lots of room for parking. We could even add some additional mixed-use stuff on the site: condos, retail, what have you…create the “recreational village” here.

So maybe it’s not right in the downtown core… But as long as we’re dreaming, if we toss in a foot ferry that runs from the promenade by the Museum of Glass and Thea’s Landing across to a dock in front of the Stadium, we’ve effectively connected it to downtown. (If we want to be really fancy, add additional foot ferry stops at other waterfront locations: base of the Murray Morgan Bridge, Thea’s Park, the upcoming Urban Waters, even out in Old Town. Fun commute option for people who live in Old Town or work at Urban Waters. Anyone checked out the ones in Vancouver, B.C.?)

One more assist from PGE Park in the cut-and-paste department…let’s imagine the view of downtown from my proto-stadium:

Ahhh…with views like that, I might buy season tickets just for the right to go take it in all summer long.

Update: David Boe revealed his location idea in the comments below, and sent some sketches along. See here for his killer idea…

Update: More discussion here.


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Comments:

  1. Wow, great visualizations! I’m definitely for finding a spot on the tideflats for a new stadium. That could be an incredible addition to downtown.

    KevinFreitas    Apr 3, 10:30 AM    #
  2. Wow.. very nice work. Now we just need to figure how much and how we can get going.

    frinklin    Apr 3, 10:35 AM    #
  3. A baseball fan dear to my heart. By why not go all the way to the end of the penninsula? Work with Port to relocate the tank farm to a site that is more condusive to their truck hauling requirements – and put Cheney Stadium at the end – arrive by boat, ferry taxi from the west-side, walk-across the Murray Morgan, park in the empty parking lots/garages in evening/weekend – a ball park to rival the Giants stadium. Just Imagine Tacoma. I feel another sketch coming – ack!

    — David Boe    Apr 3, 11:26 AM    #
  4. Yes, yes, David! Bring on another sketch!

    jamie    Apr 3, 11:34 AM    #
  5. Looks great. I am fully in support of these efforts. We need to keep getting these ideas in front of the right people. If we want more people downtown, this is the best idea I have heard to bring them down here.

    — Chris    Apr 4, 08:11 AM    #