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A look at the new park in Cleburne, Texas

There are four new ballparks in pro baseball this year. We’ve already looked at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, SunTrust Park and Dunkin’ Donuts Park. The last of the four to open is The Depot at Cleburne Station, home of the Cleburne Railroaders of the independent American Association.

Check out our thoughts on the facility, which was designed by sports-architecture heavyweights Populous. Our article can be found here.

The Attendance Answer Man

Whenever I’m writing an article about a ballpark and I need some analysis on its attendance figures, I always turn to the exemplary statistical work of David Kronheim. He’s never let me down.

His company is called Number Tamer, and that’s their logo on the right. David spends most of this time doing analysis for marketing firms and major retailers, helping them make sense of mountains of data about their customers and advertising. Because of his writing skills, he can provide these companies with smart, relevant summaries of their data and what they can do with it. He’s a unique accountant, in that he knows how to communicate what numbers mean, not just what the numbers are.

Hence the name “number tamer.” He’s extremely talented at taming the statistical data that companies compile — particularly about their advertising — but don’t know what to do with. He’s worked with non-profits, huge retail chains, automobile manufacturers and many more.

And he combines this talent with his passion for baseball in his analysis of baseball attendance results. The result is his annual Major League Baseball Attendance Analysis Report. He’s just released his report for 2016, and as usual, it’s a doozy.

The report on last year’s MLB results weighs in at an impressive 237 pages. There are sections for each of the 30 MLB teams, as well as topics as varied as attendance in new ballparks over the years, teams’ greatest increases and declines in attendance, and a careful look at the post-war year of 1946, when MLB saw the biggest one-year jump in attendance (a stunning 70.9%) in its history.

I bet you think that it would cost you a lot of money to get your hands on this kind of thorough report. Wrong. It’s yours for the asking. You can download it here:

2016 Major League Baseball Attendance Report

And if you think this kind of statistical analysis might be boring, you couldn’t be more wrong. The study of the sports’ attendance history is a study of baseball itself. For instance, in 1954, the last home game played by the Philadelphia A’s before they moved to Kansas City drew only 1,715 in Connie Mack Stadium, while the biggest crowd ever for a relocated team in its new home was 78,672 when the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to the LA Coliseum in 1958 (both of these can be found on page 229 of the report).

Baseball fans owe a debt of gratitude to Kronheim (shown in the photo) for his exhaustive yet fascinating look at the sport. Take a few minutes and browse through the report today. You’ll be a better-informed fan. And then post a comment below thanking Kronheim for his love of the sport and his willingness to apply his number-taming skills to this endeavor.

Going in-depth on Dunkin’ Donuts Park

The Hartford Yard Goats finally have their long-awaited ballpark, and our long-awaited analysis of Dunkin’ Donuts Park is ready, too.

We did a lot of background research on the ballpark — and believe me, with a year of delays and lawsuits, there was a lot to research — as well as attend the first two Yard Goats games there. In so doing, we took hundreds of photos and did countless interviews. The result is our in-depth review of the ballpark. Click here to see it.

The review includes quotes from the team’s owner, a local journalist who covered all of the back and forth of the construction fiasco last year, the park’s food-service manager, its architect and even the President of Minor League Baseball. Helping you visualize all of the park’s interesting features and personalities are four dozen photos that you won’t see anywhere else.

So check out our analysis and conclusions contained in the review (in brief: it’s one of the very best parks in Double-A Baseball), and leave a comment at the end of the second page and tell us what you think. As the park’s massive video board says, It’s Goat Time!

The photo shows the ballpark’s architect, Jonathan Cole of Pendulum on Opening Night, April 13, 2017

SunTrust Park shines brightly

Our review of Atlanta’s fantastic new SunTrust Park is now ready. It’s the longest one we’ve ever done (9,000 words), and it includes more photos (60).

The background story of the ballpark is quite interesting. Spurned by the City of Atlanta in their attempts to purchase land around Turner Field to build a mixed-use development, the Braves took the concept to Cobb County, just northwest of Atlanta. The result is a $672 million state-of-the-art ballpark with a gorgeous retail/residential area adjacent to it.

Whether you’re a Braves fan or not, you’ll find the review interesting. And please post a comment at the bottom of the second page of the article to let us know what you think of SunTrust Park and our review of it.

Click here to go to the review.

Yard Goats: Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

After a year of acrimony and delays, the Eastern League’s Hartford Yard Goats moved into their new home Thursday. Dunkin’ Donuts Park is on the northern edge of the city’s downtown, and should be the catalyst of further development in this blighted neighborhood.

We were there to chronicle the first game (if you follow us on Twitter, you’ll always get to see photos from the games we attend), and we will provide you with an extensive review and dozens of pictures shortly.  Be watching for it.

Minor League President Pat O’Conner was at the debut, and he was kind enough to sit down with me for an interview. While you’ll learn much more of what he had to say in our upcoming review, he made one comment that bears repeating here. “Remember the old adage: Good things come to those who wait. I think Hartford is going to get good things.”

Indeed, there is an enormous amount to like about this ballpark. We’re anxious to tell you the whole story about those “good things.”


Free slide show March 21 in Surprise

by Joe Mock

Are you in Arizona for spring training? Then join me for a free presentation on ballparks in Sun City Grand, near Peoria and Surprise.

Presenting with me will be noted sports architect Jonathan Cole of Pendulum Studio (see photo). We’ll be showing a slide show on the current state of ballpark design. Any baseball fan will enjoy this show!

The event is sponsored by the Sun City Grand Sports Interest Group. It will be held at 10:00 a.m., Tuesday March 21 in the Cimarron Room at 17100 West Clear View Blvd., Surprise, AZ 85387. There is no admission charge, and all are welcome!