Like it or not, wherever your favorite team plays is an integral part of the game experience. From unique dimensions, playing surfaces and the elements, these things can all add or detract from the overall experience. With the birth of so many new venues over the last 25 years, the fan experience has been dramatically improved. For the most part the previous generation of stadiums lacked ingenuity or any sort of bling and at the bare minimum left something to be desired for the fans. The only fun part of them was the nicknames that were bestowed to several of them such as concrete doughnut and my personal favorite…..the Toilet. There was one stadium that stood out among all of these circular disappointments and stood above all the rest, The Houston Astrodome. Its amenities were well ahead of the times and served the fans of Houston well for several decades. Now there is a book that celebrates the creation of the iconic stadium and shows all the work that went into building the eighth wonder of the world.
I have always looked at the Astrodome as a baseball stadium. Never giving much thought to the other uses for this multi-purpose marvel. First, this book takes a look at the political wrangling that it took for the city of Houston to procure a Major League team as well as some of the promises it was required to make as part of that deal. It shows the tireless efforts of several key figures in Houston and the many failed previous efforts of the town. It paints a vivid picture of how much time and effort goes in to just getting a promise of a team.
The book also goes into great detail about the political obstacles the new stadium faced in Houston as well as all the engineering hurdles that had to be cleared to create something of this magnitude. It goes into great depth to explain how the stadium was physically built to withstand the elements and how it has been able to withstand the test of time. The authors also show the readers all of the unique attributes that were built into the stadium and you can see how forward thinking those involved with its construction truly were.
The book also addresses the many uses the Astrodome had. From concerts, rodeos, football and countless other uses, it really lent itself to being a jack of all trades. Like all stadiums of this era, it was a living, breathing and evolving building and changed with the needs of the times. Finally, it does take a harsh look at the aging of the dome and how it fell victim of the current times. In the end, the once grand palace of baseball became just another decrepit old stadium. A stadium that no one is sure what to do with and probably at some point, like all the one time greats, will meet its demise.
The book is very comprehensive and shows those not living in Texas what the Astrodome was truly about. It also gives a nice glimpse at Texas politics and how that works as well as the way the people of Houston have helped change their self image with the help of the dome.
While this is not a baseball only book, it still has a large chunk of Colt 45’s/Astros information. If you have interest in old stadiums this book covers it from its beginnings to its possible near end. It has lots of information readers will find informative and entertaining, If like me, you were never lucky enough to visit the Astrodome, this book will surely make you wish you had.
You can get this book from the nice folks at the University of Nebraska Press
There are so many available mediums available for the average baseball fan that it is almost mind-blowing at times. Television, Radio, Internet, Cable TV, Social Media, Fantasy Leagues and even Blogs have all taken their place in our society to bring the fan every facet of the game we love. It is hard to believe how these things have impacted the way we look at the game, and amazingly all this has evolved over the last century. It is also hard to comprehend that at one point baseballs only consistent outlet was through radio, and it was a hard sell at that. Today’s book takes a look at the evolution of baseball first medium, Radio.
James R. Walker has written a book that takes the reader through the birth of radio in baseball. It chronicles the struggles that baseball had to overcome to become part of the American fabric. From scheduling conflicts to sponsorship rights and legalities between both the government and the teams, it is all covered in here so you get the full picture of the birth of baseball on the airwaves.
The author walks you through baseball selling the rights to World Series games and how it eventually evolved into regular season games becoming the norm on the radio. This book also gives some very interesting facts about how the radio business operated at the time and how it effected the growth of baseball on the radio. It really was a convoluted system that impeded progress, but in the end the strength of baseball won out.
Finally the book takes you through the unprecedented growth of the game and its parallel growth on the radio. It also shows how radio lent itself to countless generations becoming familiar with the game. I found interesting that it shows the decline of radio once it was challenged by other mediums such as television and how it changed radio broadcasts. Some people feel that radio is the truest medium in which to follow a game, which I think to some degree is true. It forces you to imagine from the announcers story as to what is going on out on the diamond.
This book takes the reader back to a simpler time in society and shows the reader that even though baseball may not have realized it at the time, they were big business. There were some serious arguments over the baseball rights and substantial money was being paid to own those rights. Baseball fans will enjoy this book and the progression baseball follows in getting into american homes.
You can get this book from the nice folks at The University of Nebraska Press