Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Monster changes at RAP?

In what continues to be a busy few weeks of Seals news, lets take a look at some of the changes you might see around the old ballyard.  Some of these will happen this season, while others are part of the team's long-term plans.

First off, it must be pointed out that the city is really stepping up to the plate this year. Gone is the cloud of apprehension that plagued the Seals last year (caused partly by Victoria's last failed attempt at pro baseball, the 2005 Capitals, and party because, well, it's Victoria). After a stellar opening campaign by the Seals, the city has taken notice and is allowing some changes to further professionalize the RAP baseball experience...

Thirsty for a tasty malt beverage? Forget the lineups from last year - this year they come to you! Yes, beer (and other beverage) service in the stands, right to your seat.

Want something to eat other than a whole-wheat hot dog? Just mosey down the third base line to visit the BBQ area hosted this year by Podium Sports Grill (and open to every fan in the park) and grab a pulled-pork sandwich. Beer sales here as well, which should further eliminate the lineup issue.

A further expansion of food items is planned, giving the fans a wider selection of culinary (and perhaps even healthy) choices.

And how about some souvenirs? You will be able to outfit the whole family in their very own jerseys this year. The gang at TeamWorks is handling fan apparel for the Seals this year, so you'll start to see some Seals uni's around town.

And speaking of jerseys, watch for the on-field look to be slightly different this year as well. The traditional white home jersey will remain from last year, as likely will the road grey. The blue "third jersey" will be replaced with a new as-yet-undetermined style. Stay tuned to this blog for more info on jerseys as decisions are made...

But some big changes to RAP might be on the way in the next few years. Tentative plans are underway to construct -- you guessed it -- our own version of Fenway Park's Green Monster in left field. The left field fence at RAP last year was 317 ft from home plate, making it a fairly easy shot to clear by big-league standards. The new wall (Blue Monster, anyone?) might be around 20 feet in height and would keep the ball in the park a lot more. Here's my artsy rendition of what could be if RAP meets Fenway...

Math lesson? The current 7 ft fence means that to hit a ball over the fence, on an average home run arc, you need to hit the ball 321 ft. To put it over a 20 ft wall, you would have to hit that same ball 333 ft. Doesn't sound like much, but a lot of balls die in that 12 feet of real estate, and anything on a line would become a double at best. That would make for some exciting plays at second base...

Also in the plans, is better seating down the base lines. Seats with backs on them actually. Planning will be done this year, with a chance that they'll be ready for the 2011 season.

There should be several more improvements visible in the park in the long term. Kudos to the city for stepping up, and to the Seals ownership for putting money back into RAP to give us a better baseball experience. It will all add up to more fun at the park!

[Editor's Note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly implied that certain changes would happen in time for the 2010 season.  We apologize for any misunderstandings this may have caused.]