Saturday, March 1, 2014

An Intriguing Concept of Pre-Three Rivers Stadium

I am a complete sucker for artistic renderings.  Today's computer-generated ones are a little cold and soulless, as I prefer the hand drawn pencil/pastel sketches of yesteryear gone by.  I want the people in them to have no faces, preferably with just a hint of having feet.

Combine that with my love of baseball stadiums and I give you Stadium Page.  It's a whole website dedicated to drawings of present and past stadiums for different teams.  The best is the Unrealized Concepts section.  I found one in there from 1958 that I have never heard of before and it is super wild.

Apparently some company was presumably paid scads of money to come up with a concept that would never fly in today's bureaucratic, environmentally over-conscious world.  Imagine the Smithfield Street Bridge and then remove that and put in a huge superstructure that would span the Mon River and support:

  • A baseball stadium
  • Two office towers
  • A parking lot 
  • A roadway network for the fans to get to/from the stadium
It's a wild idea, but complete unfeasible and probably not constructable at all.  The look of a stadium, essentially, floating on the Mon River would be iconic, but from an engineering standpoint not doable.

I wonder if part of the reason, aside from the unbelievable cost to build and the aforementioned construction issues, is that what would you do with the space when it was time to demolish it?  This stadium if built in let's say 1960 would be 54 years old this year, making it the 3rd oldest in the league, just ahead of Dodger Stadium.  No one's in a rush to tear down Dodger Stadium or Fenway or Wrigley, but we do live in a disposable society.

Would it just become a giant green space?  That would a great use, even though it wouldn't be a profit driver.  I would be a huge space.  Just by a rough estimation, it would be bigger than Point State Park.  Maybe that could have been the end point for the aerial skyline concept that was floated around town about 15 years ago.  That would have stretched from Mount Washington to Point State Park at the time.

I consider PNC Park to be the finest baseball park in all of MLB.  Its location, view, and amenities can't be beat.  But I do find myself thinking about what this stadium would have been like, too.  

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