Round as circus tents or shaped like amoebas, America's newest palaces of sport boast symmetrical baseball fields, mighty candlepower and cantilevered upper decks that remove the need for view-blocking pillars. Still, there are fans who dislike these architectural wonders. They love the old peculiarities: the short left field in Fenway Park, the center-field monuments in Yankee Stadium. But the newcomers have personalities, too. Candlestick Park in San Francisco has a chilly wind that makes ball and ballplayer do funny things. L.A.'s Dodger Stadium is called the "brickyard" because of its hard infield. The scoreboard screen in the enclosed Astrodome leads cheers and infuriates visiting managers. Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets and Jets, is engulfed in the roar of jets taking off from nearby LaGuardia Airport. And each of the structures of the '60s on the following pages is already rich with memories of great catches, key hits and gobbled hot dogs.
Sitting in the middle of what used to be an orange grove, Anaheim Stadium has brought major league baseball (and the All-Star Game this year) to the home town of Disneyland.
Most meticulously situated of the new ball parks is D.C. Stadium (above). Home plate, the mound and second base are on the famous line that extends due east through the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and the Capitol. The New York skyline is eight miles west of Shea Stadium (left), which lies between LaGuardia Airport and the site of the 1964 New York World's Fair. Dodger Stadium (right) squats like a huge spider in a vast web of parked cars just north of the tangle of freeways and large buildings that denotes the center of downtown Los Angeles.
Eero Saarinen's stainless-steel Gateway Arch, the broad Mississippi River and sun-splashed Illinois provide a spectacular backdrop for Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis, hard by the business district.
The Astrodome in Houston (left, reflected futuristically in a highly polished mirror) costumes its parking attendants in spacemen's garb. Atlanta Stadium (right), a 50¢ cab ride from "Five Points," the heart of the city, was built in 51 rapid weeks expressly to attract a big-league ball club—which, of course, it succeeded in doing. The oldest of the new stadiums, Candlestick Park (below), is exposed to wind and fog on its narrow shelf between a raw hillside and San Francisco Bay.