Martin Morse Wooster, Silver Spring MD
Many thanks for Challenger 29. I was very happy to read all the articles about the great game of baseball. Anyone who wants to read my thoughts about my team, the Baltimore Orioles, can log on to National Review Online -- put down that barf bag, Guy, this isn't political! -- and find a fine symposium where fans of every team said "Why I Love the (My Team)". Being the Orioles fan I got to go first!
I think I've been to even more dead stadiums than Rich Lynch has, and can tie in many of those trips to fandom. I went to Exhibition Stadium in Toronto and the Kingdome with Alan Rosenthal, who moved from Toronto to Seattle and changed his nationality in the process. (I also took him to RFK Stadium before the Nationals moved.) Like Rich, I saw Candlestick Park at the 1993 worldcon.
But my favorite dead stadium story concerns former Midwest fan Ed Zdrojewski, who asked me to be his best man at his first marriage in 1991. (It was a pagan wedding. The bride was a witch -- and the groom was too.) Ed said he needed a bachelor party, so we went to County Stadium and ended up in the fantasy broadcasting booth in the 4th inning of a Brewers-Angels game. We decided the game would be better with some special effects, so we threw in an earthquake, a tidal wave, and plenty of gratuitous cheese eating. The Brewers scored two or three runs, and the Angels had five or six, so we had 45 minutes to rant. Dave Parker was an Angel then, so in his honor when the Angels had batted a round, we sang a horrifically off-key falsetto version of "We Are Family" in honor of Parker's appearance for the '79 Pirates. It was a great day.
Gary Robe's piece about Kingsport was really fun to read, and gave a lot of insight into minor league baseball. But Lastings Milledge's name is spelled that way (not "Millage"). I saw him play a doubleheader in Denver during the worldcon. He hit a couple of home runs and made some great plays in center field. Coors Field is a very nice stadium, by the way; they have a mountain landscape in center field, and whenever the Rockies hit a home run, the waterfall erupts. Plus there's a brewpub inside the stadium -- which makes some very good beer.
Mike Resnick's worldcon report was, as always, entertaining. I don't think the lack of hotels was a problem; I ended up staying at a Knights Inn a couple of miles away that was dilapidated (the shower didn't work, and the "continental breakfast" was stale pastry) but was only $48 a night. My guess is that the economy was partially responsible, but it's also true that Denver is an expensive flight from either coast -- particularly in high season.
We stayed at a Motel 6 a few miles from the convention center -- also for economy -- and had early problems parking, which was also expensive.