This week in vaportecture: Portland baseball, Miami soccer

The renderings for stadiums that may or may not ever be built are coming so fast and furious now that this week they need their own weekly roundup post: Both Inter Miami and Portland’s as-yet-unnamed (and as-yet-nonexistent) MLB team released fresh stadium images the last couple of days, and I am happy to report that they are very much in line with the laws of vaportecture.

Portland first:

This is actually a pretty sedate group of images — not even any daytime fireworks! — and improves on the non-Euclidean geometry of the previous batch. Sure, the shadows in the first image are a bit weird — the sun would appear to be coming directly out of the east, which means it’s sunrise, so you’d think the shadows would be longer, but maybe it’s the summer solstice or something — and the aerial tramway appears to have vanished from the overhead rendering — unless those little specks out past center field are gondolas, suspended in the air by nothing — and for some reason the parking lot has more trees in it than cars. And then there’s this image, which wasn’t included in John Canzano’s above tweet but was in his Oregonian article:

What exactly is that woman doing with her freakishly large hand? Brushing her hair forward to cover where her head has been poorly Photoshopped onto her body? Talking on one of those neck-phones that will be all the rage by the time Portland gets an MLB team? And why are all the fans looking through the glass window ignoring the spectacular play being made by the right fielder, who is contorting his body in impossible ways to make a catch, though probably no more impossible than the ways it will be contorted after he crashes at full speed into the foul pole. At least I’m glad to see that the Portland P’s will offer throwback uniforms hearkening back to the days of no jersey numbers, which is probably why souvenir shirts will just feature an enormous Old English “P” on the back.

On to Miami, where we got our first look at the stadium David Beckham and Jorge Mas’s ownership group may or may not be building at Melreese Park in Miami (not to be confused with the temporary stadium they may or may not be building in Fort Lauderdale). And hey, this one’s a video, which for some reason starts off with an egret? And a drum line?

https://twitter.com/InterMiamiCF/status/1115615132057575424

If I’m interpreting this right, the egret is somehow supposed to relate to the design of the stadium roof, which is vaguely bird-wing shaped, and also pink, unlike the egret, though maybe it’s meant to evoke an egret that pigged out on too many brine shrimp. But at least it shines with an unearthly glow!

And features lots of space for fans (and maybe a wookiee) to mill around bars or conference tables or something, with no pesky railings to keep from the excitement of possibly falling to their deaths:

And as a special bonus, there’s a weirdly cartoonish overhead view that features one goalkeeper fleeing his position because he’s belatedly realized there are one too many players on the pitch (and yes, I’m counting the referee):

I’m honestly not sure what purpose either of these sets of new images is supposed to accomplish, except maybe to get coverage showing that this thing must really be happening, look, here are pictures of what it would look like, no one in human history has ever drawn anything that won’t actually exist. In which case, mission accomplished, I guess. Far be it from me to denigrate the #freedomtodream.

Friday roundup: SF doesn’t want Raiders, Spurs hate Tottenham, Rays outfielder says team has “no fan base” and should maybe move

It was a bit of a slow holiday week, but the news that there was made up for it by being extra-entertaining:

  • The Oakland Raiders played maybe their last game in Oakland, at least until the next time they move back to Oakland. (Hey, it’s happened before.) Still nobody has a clue where the team will play next year, but San Francisco officials are already gearing up to block any Raiders games at the Giants‘ AT&T Park, saying they don’t want to be “scabs” in the city of Oakland’s lawsuit against the Raiders for skipping town that prompted this game of stadium chicken in the first place. This is looking like a better and better option.
  • The New Jersey state legislature is preparing to help out the horse racing industry by providing $100 million over the next five years to goose winnings, which seems like exactly the opposite of how gambling is supposed to work.
  • Tottenham Hotspur still can’t get its new stadium open — the earliest possible date is now in February — but that’s not stopping team officials from griping that the surrounding neighborhood is too dirty to go alongside its fancy new stadium thanks to “litter and fly-tipping.” According to one borough memo, “When the question of all the extra cleaning needed was raised and who would fund it it was made very clear that it would not be paid for by Spurs.” The estimated cost of added street cleaning would be £8,000 per match; the team’s most recent annual profit was £58 million.
  • I love interactive fiction and have even written some myself, so I’m inclined to like this Arizona Republic article presenting the Suns arena showdown as a Choose Your Own Adventure book. But sadly its plot relies on some misconceptions — allowing the Suns owners to break their lease in 2022 doesn’t necessarily mean the team will leave, and if they do leave the city’s estimates of $130-180 million in renovations to keep it “competitive” for concerts may be overblown — so I won’t be voting for it for a XYZZY Award.
  • Some details have been released about plans for a Portland baseball stadium, but none of them involve how the stadium would be paid for or how much rent it would pay to its public landlords or even where a team would be obtained, so feel free to skip reading the full documents unless you’re really interested.
  • Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Tommy Pham was asked what he thought about playing in his new home city after being traded last year from St. Louis, and replied, “It sucks going from playing in front of a great fan base to a team with really no fan base at all.” Pham added, “Do I think something has to happen, whether it be a new ballpark, maybe a new city? I think so.” I am going out on a limb to guess that attendance will probably not be great next year on Tommy Pham Bobblehead Night.
  • The Milwaukee Bucks arena has been open for “several months” now, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, which apparently can’t count to four, and the most important takeaways are that: 1) kids like candy, 2) grownups like cheese-covered sausages, 3) everybody likes taking selfies, 4) Bucks president Peter Feigin also likes candy, and 5) nobody actually wants to sit in that ridiculous Panorama Club. No reports back yet on the status of the magic basketball.

Friday roundup: Cincy stadiums still gobbling tax money, XFL to use old Rangers stadium, Crew stadium to require $50m+ in public cash

So very very much more stadium and arena news from this week:

Portland MLB boosters have no team or stadium funds, but they do have ballpark drawings with an outfield tram, so there

In the world of vaportecture, renderings for a proposed stadium for a proposed expansion team for an expansion that isn’t even happening yet are the vaporiest tecture of all. So it’s perhaps not surprising that the Portland Diamond Project — the group that wants to bring MLB to Portland, Oregon, if MLB ever gets around to expanding — accompanied the announcement of its purchase agreement for Port of Portland land along the Willamette River with a bunch of images that are attention-grabbing to say the least:

Yes, that is a stadium with a gondola running right up into the right-field corner. Why? Why not! Kids love the gondolas! Look, here are some young adults — who given how long it’ll take to get this thing built if it ever is, are probably about eight years old right now — taking selfies on the gondola platform. That’s totally a thing that Kids Today of the future will do!

But more important, what’s up with that double-decker transparent roof that covers maybe 10% of the seating from the rain, but not the sun, even though baseball is a sport that stops play during rain but not during sun? Here’s another angle:

Okay, so you can have shade at the Portland ballgame, but only if you sit at one of the center-field umbrella-tables by the bicycle racks. Everybody loves maneuvering past people eating brunch while ignoring a nearby baseball game in order to park their bikes!

Finally, here’s another angle of the roof, in which it appears to have been designed for an entirely different rendering:

The sun reflecting off the roof is a nice touch, though — lens flare, everybody take a drink! — even if given the positioning of the stadium this means that the sun is actually in the north.

Still to be determined, according to the Oregonian’s report: “the terms of the agreement between the Portland of Portland [sic — outsourcing its copy editing to people who live in another state is clearly working out great for the Oregonian] and the Portland Diamond Project for the property, what stadium backers would pay to use Terminal 2 and who’s agreed to foot the multibillion-dollar costs of building a stadium and bringing a team to Portland.” So maybe planning for this stadium to become a reality the minute the earth spins off its axis is a fair assessment.

Friday roundup: Skip right past the first four items and go directly to the hidden-camera video on the Austin soccer-vs.-soccer beef, you know you wanna

This was feeling like a long week even before Americans with guns decided to make a late rush to break last year’s record for most people killed in major mass shootings. Fortunately, we have news in the field of whether to devote scarce public resources to boosting the profits of professional sports team owners to amuse us! Ha ha! Are we amused yet?

  • Los Angeles has been selected as the host of next year’s inaugural World Urban Games, a thing that is like the Olympics only it involves sports no one cares about, like three-on-three basketball. (Though admittedly, the Olympics also involves plenty of sports no one cares about.) L.A. had to offer no actual money to be the host, just use of its sports venues, so if anyone actually travels to L.A. to see these things, there’s an actual chance this might work out to the city’s economic benefit! Crazy talk!
  • The group that wants to bring an MLB team to Portland has pulled its offer to buy the city’s school headquarters to build a stadium on the site, saying it would be better used for affordable housing. (Read: The community hated the stadium idea, and they didn’t want to fight about it.) The group will reportedly announce a new site by the end of the month, but it’s not worth holding your breath over because MLB isn’t giving Portland a team in the immediate future, if ever.
  • Saskatoon city officials are looking into building a new downtown arena for about $175 million because … they didn’t actually say why. The old one is old? Mark Rosentraub sold them on a new one? Not that a new downtown Saskatoon arena is necessarily a terrible idea, especially if the city can collect rent and other revenues from it, but an even less terrible idea would be focusing on “Do we need a new arena?” before jumping straight to “How can we build one?”
  • There’s a new pro-ticket tax group in Columbus calling itself Protect Art 4 Columbus that describes itself as “a group of art enthusiasts, sports fans and other community members,” and if this isn’t an Astroturf group, they really needed to come up with a name that made themselves sound less like one.
  • I do not have the energy to explain the beef between the wannabe Austin MLS team owner and the wannabe Austin USL team owner and how they’re both building stadiums and supporters of one stadium are accusing supporters of another stadium of lying about their ballot petitions by saying “we’re trying to build a soccer stadium” when it’s really to stop the other guys from building a soccer stadium, so just watch the video, it’s blurry and confusing and shot in portrait mode, just like the kids today all like!

Don’t hold your breath waiting for MLB’s 20-year expansion drought to end anytime soon

In the midst of yesterday’s Election Day excitement, Deadspin ran my latest article for them, on what’s up with MLB’s much-rumored expansion plans. And though, as I tried to make clear in the article, where baseball expands and when will likely have less to do with what cities are “deserving” and more to do with the sport’s internal finances — in particular how much of an expansion fee they can demand, how adding new small-market teams will affect revenue sharing, and how adding new teams would affect existing team owners’ leverage to extract stadium subsidies — the comments section quickly filled up with debates over which cities should get new teams, and even how MLB divisions should be realigned once this happens.

All of which is still way more constructive and less pathetic than the Cincinnati Enquirer’s response to a throwaway line of mine about how small cities like Cincinnati probably wouldn’t be at the top of the expansion list if they didn’t already have teams:

As FoS correspondent David Dyte immediately pointed out, good thing I didn’t insult their chili.

Friday roundup: Rays set stadium deadlinish thing, D.C. United can’t find the sun in the sky, Inglewood mayor flees lawsuit filing on Clippers arena

Farewell, Koko and Argentina:

Russell Wilson gets in helicopter with wannabe Portland MLB owner, struggling newspaper devotes precious staff time to covering it

I’m not honestly sure exactly what has sparked this sudden flurry of interest in applying for MLB expansion franchises that MLB isn’t even offering yet — I guess MLB commissioner Rob Manfred keeps vaguely talking about how expansion would be nice, but that seems a bit much to be basing entire development plans around — but if you want a summary of where the madness is leading in a nutshell, you could do worse than this photo caption from the Oregonian:

Russell Wilson and Ciara take a selfie Saturday after holding a news conference in Northwest Portland to discuss their investments into the Portland Diamond Project’s effort to land a Major League Baseball team.

Yes, this is where journalism is right now: The quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks and the singer of “Goodies” took a helicopter tour of potential stadium sites with potential MLB owner Craig Cheek, were “whisked in a Mercedes SUV to Saturday’s news conference” (per the Oregonian), then posed for some photos in front of an “MLB PDX” backdrop. And then some poor college football writer who is one of the few people left in the newsroom had to write the whole thing up for the Oregonian, probably with occasional breaks to check Indeed.com for alternative career opportunities.

If you were hoping for any word on what an actual Portland baseball plan would look like, or what MLB would demand for an expansion franchise (either in terms of a franchise fee or stadium amenities or whatever), or really any details at all, needless to say this was not the article for you. Art Thiel at SportspressNW made a slightly better attempt, but even he was forced to rely on speculation and a few hints dropped by Manfred over the years, because really there is no solid information at this point at all. When a news vacuum exists, it will apparently now be filled with selfies, which is as good an epitaph for our age as any.

Friday roundup: Panthers’ record sale price goosed by public money, Beckham stadium delayed yet again, Rams stadium really will cost $4B-plus

Google looks to have broken all of its RSS feeds, so if I missed anything important this week, drop me an email and I’ll play catchup next week:

Friday roundup: Graceland seeks arena money, Marlins and Cards seek spring-training stadium money, guy in Raleigh seeks MLS stadium money

In no particular order, or as we call it in New York, Mets style: