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#1 2018-12-06 07:18:21

Always Here
Registered: 2010-10-12
Posts: 216

For the last few years

around one in 10 college football bowl games has been played in an MLB stadium. So have a few regular season games over the years, including a big one in Week 12 of 2018: No. 13 Syracuse against No. 3 Notre Dame. Most  Womens Ricardo Allen Jersey major stadiums are multi-purposed in some fashion or another, but football games in baseball parks is a weird match. It requires fitting a 120-yard-long rectangular peg into a diamond-shaped hole. It doesn't always look natural. And yet, it works. The four recent and current ballpark bowls — the now-moved Miami Beach, Arizona's Cheez-It (formerly the Cactus), New York's Pinstripe, and St. Petersburg's Gasparilla — come off fine every year, even though the St. Pete's artificial turf looks like a scene out of a dystopian fanfic. There was a time when baseball stadiums were massive concrete donuts, big circles that could be purposed however they needed to be. Think the old Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, RFK Stadium in Washington, or the Kingdome in Seattle. The newer generation that hosts football games doesn't look like those. With the exception of Tropicana Field, which hosts the St. Pete, football-hosting ballparks were all built in 1998 or later. They were built, to a large degree, with these specific accommodations in mind. It's a far cry from Wrigley Field, whose dimensions demanded in 2010 that Illinois and Northwestern only use one end zone.Neither offense used this end zone in the 2010 Illinois-Northwestern game at WrigleyPhoto by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images"In fairness to Wrigley, they're a very old venue that didn't have the luxury we did of going into this with a business model in mind," Doug Behar, the stadium operations vice president for the New York Yankees, told SB Nation in 2016. "We worked very closely with our architects to make sure we were able to do these types of events and do them in a manner that meets the Yankees' standard, that it feels Yankee, that it feels Yankee Stadium. We were fortunate to be able to do a lot of the homework on the front end." It's not a happy accident that a football field at Yankee Stadium runs fairly symmetrically from home plate to dead center field. The configuration was different at Marlins Park, which hosted the Miami Beach Bowl, but it worked there, too. Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports"There hasn't been a time that anybody's looked at it and said, 'Boy, this doesn't fit right Youth Deion Jones Jersey ,'" said Scott Draper, who'd been the executive director of that game before it relocated to Frisco, Texas. (It got little attendance in Miami.) "A football field fits like it should in a baseball park."A lot goes into making a baseball stadium a football stadium.The operations team at the Fiesta Bowl (which also runs the Cheez-It) brings in 3,800 seats and lays them in the Chase Field outfield, enclosing the field and making for a significantly more intimate gathering.How it looked a few years ago, when it was called the Cactus: Chase Field, dressed up for the Cactus Bowl.Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports"I just say that it provides a much different feel and atmosphere," said Justin Balich, who worked as Fiesta and Cactus operations director. "It's much tighter than a normal open-air stadium. They both have their perks, obviously, or their positives and negatives. But I would say with last year's game, it was definitely more intimate."The Cheez-It is the only one of the ballpark bowl games that's wheeled seats out onto the field. But it works, because it improves sight lines and looks better than leaving the Diamondbacks' right field wide open beyond one sideline. Converting Chase Field from baseball to football takes 10 days of 12-to-16-hour work from a team of laborers, Balich said. That's compared to a three- or four-day process of converting the University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the NFL's Cardinals, to host the Fiesta or a national title game. The Yankee Stadium setup comes together gradually over two or three weeks. The playing field is only part of the work.If you're putting a football field down, you'll have to dig up a pitcher's mound. The Cheez-It dumps 90,000 square feet of fresh sod atop the diamond, while the the Yankees put it over their stadium's dirt infield and work with a supplier to make sure the new grass is consistent with the old. The Gasparilla is played on artificial carpeting, so the equation's different. At the St. Pete Bowl Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY SportsBut the conversions go beyond the field. Baseball locker rooms are designed for teams of 25 players, plus some September call-ups. Football teams travel with about 100 players. The Yankees bring extra lockers into their clubhouse, while the Cheez-It Bowl puts players in batting tunnels and improvises. "Each team has a unique configuration as opposed to what they would see in normal circumstances," Balich said. "The comments we've heard back from the teams that have participated and seen the facility is that in some cases they have a better setup than they do when they're on the road at other institutions."A Chase Field hospitality lounge becomes a digital media room for the bowl game. At the Pinstripe, part of the work is converting some luxury suites into coaches' booths, with all the partitioning and cabling that's associated. Plus you've got other aesthetics going up all around the stadium."Obviously there's a lot of painting, a lot of signage," Yankee Stadium's Behar said.The goal is to find a balance. The football field needs to be regulation. It needs to be safe, without players hurting themselves on bad grass or falling into dugouts on the third-base line. It needs to accommodate players and coaches as normally as possible. But what's the fun in using a baseball stadium if you're forgetting all about baseball? Especially at Yankee Stadium Youth Grady Jarrett Jersey , maintaining some sense of history is key."When you get the marching bands out there and you see the teams come in and do the walkthroughs for the first time, and they're in awe of where they are, and it's very cool," Behar said. "On one hand, it is Yankee Stadium, and it looks and feels like Yankee Stadium. But it has the excitement of a football venue and it's very transparent and obvious. "We've seen that even with our high school games, high school championship games. When you're in the seats or on the sidelines, it takes a minute. You've gotta remember, 'Oh, this actually is Yankee Stadium.'"2018 sums up exactly what it means to cheer for the Atlanta Falcons Welcome back to where you've been, where you are and where you're going. Welcome to the joys and frustrations of snowballing agony and agape (the Greek word for love, not the adjective for something that's really open). Welcome to what it means to cheer for the Atlanta Falcons. What was once a 2018 Super Bowl swell looks to be downgrading to something far less potent. Though, ponder with me for a moment. What really happens if the Falcons don't win it all this year?For the long-term Dirty Birds in our flock, gruff mumbles fill the air. "Well, at least it'd be familiar." For the others around the campfire, that glorious visage of 28-3 rectified in a home game and a Peachtree Street parade grows foggier in the rearview.For those that are just too numb to care much about this team past being somewhat happy if they won, games like Sunday register as another blip in a series of "coulda, woulda, shouldas," the banner slogan for the history of a franchise that gave up 31 unanswered points in a quarter-and-a-half of championship football (and overtime). This Sunday, Same as the Last SundayThe sad part is there's nothing more representative of where this team historically stands than when your arch-rival takes them down at home in overtime after a rushing TD by the rival's 39-year-old quarterback ties the game. This is also on the day your franchise legend throws for five touchdowns for the first time in his career, mind you.The overtime was made possible in part by a blocked punt that gave the league's most dangerous red zone quarterback prime positioning to get points, which he assuredly did. Also, on that overtime drive, your starting free safety and lead defensive communicator probably goes down for the year with an Achilles injury.Then again, your rookie wide receiver has an arrival like few have in team history and scored three touchdowns. Your offensive coordinator is figuring it out, too. He's scored 30-plus points in two-straight weeks. He only scored 30-plus points four times in general before this season and only once against a divisional foe (the lowly Bucs). Then again, your once-anticipated defense looks like the injured bench in Space Jam. Losing so many stars just doesn't happen this often. The loom of a season infested with injury bugs hasn't draped over Flowery Branch since that notorious 2013 season Womens Matt Bryant Jersey , but boy howdy, it's happened now. It's only Week 3, too. Is the team handling this properly? What's keeping them from just getting Eric Reid in here? Can this defense survive not being bullied late into games once their energy goes out? Why on Earth can't they tackle? The Falcons are 1-2. They could still probably make the playoffs if the offense keeps this up. This defense also is still, somehow, good enough to get stops here and there, though losing Ricardo Allen would be a nightmarish development. You now might not have enough now to contend with the NFC's best teams in crunch time. All at once, you somehow have something to hold onto and something to pull you deeper into the quick sand. Welcome to being a fan of the Atlanta Falcons. This team can't even make you feel sad properly because somehow there's always a silver lining, gleaming just out of reach. The Falcons will always rain on your pity party.As It Stands, So It GoesFor 2018, such is the case. No one can be outright downtrodden with the outcome of things. Atlanta's offense looks strong, and they're surviving life without Andy Levitre. After nearly getting the fandom pink slip two weeks ago, OC Steve Sarkisian is maturing right in front of us. Whatever they did in the offseason is starting to work. The defense also looks to be built to last on paper, outside of some quibbles on the defensive line. The Falcons, for once, might've finally done everything to put themselves in the position to maybe win the big one for real this time. Except not get injured. It's a cruel, cruel, cruel twist of irony to think that it could be the Baron of Bangs and Bruises that dooms the team this season. That's not a sure thing, though. There are a lot of questions right now without a lot of answers. There are a lot of outcomes without a lot of warning. There is a lot of acceptance without any balm. There is a lot of optimism without any takers. This is the Atlanta Falcons in a nutshell, for 2018 and in general. One day, scientifically, that won't be the case. They will eventually win a Super Bowl. Will any of us be alive for that? Who's to say? But this is why we do this every week. We come for the highs and lows, voluntarily, because it's all we know, and we won't do it any other way. After February 5, 2017, you can be assured we're ready for it. If anything, 2018 does show something eternally promising about this team. At least they're consistent.


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