SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The final season of football has been played at Candlestick Park, and the original ballpark by the bay will soon be no more. Maybe you’ve heard of Willie Mays? “The Catch?” Or “The Earthquake World Series?” The Stick holds memories that don’t deserve to fade, but the building itself belongs squarely in the dustbin of history.
But the stick was hardly the only Major League dump in the sporting world. Here are seven other stadiums that should turn out the lights for good:
Sleep Train Arena (you know it as ARCO Arena), Sacramento – Hoops star turned mayor Kevin Johnson (and much of the greater Sacramento area) has been trying to upgrade the Kings’ aging gym for years. It’s the smallest Arena in the league and still sells out a fair amount of the time (it’s good to be the only game in town, literally). But the once raucous arena filled with adoring fans now feels dingy and remote compared to newer downtown courts. The place was a destination when the team was elite in the late ’90’s, but those glory days have fallen away like Vlade Divac trying to draw a charge call.
Joe Louis Arena, Detroit -The Red Wings are known for a tradition of excellence and a legion of vocal, dedicated Red Wings fans. A good arena? Not so much. Small bathrooms, sparse concessions and inadequate entry points are among the reasons this place is panned. It gets particularly low marks for configurations during non-sports events. Fortunately for locals, the city has plans to replace the building (and bring all the banners along).
Qualcom Stadium, San Diego – The home of the Chargers is not so much a terrible place to catch a game as it is a time capsule of the sports architecture of the late ’60’s and early 70’s – You can practically see Ron Burgundy roaming the sideline waiting to report on the kickoff of the AFL season. The place needs updating, but it sits in California, so good luck getting voters to jump on-board with that. Charger fans will continue winding their way through the San Diego suburbs to the old “Murph” for the foreseeable future (or until LA steals the team).
Arthur Ashe Stadium, New York – Good luck getting everyone to comply when you shout out “quiet please” in a 22,547 seat tennis stadium. America’s center court is a massive showcase for the country’s biggest tennis matches, but some complain that it’s simply too big (maybe watch tennis at home like everyone else, folks) and lacks a retractable roof making weather delays the norm. $100 million roof may be on the way, but for now this place makes the list.
Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis – This place won rave reviews when the newly-minted St. Louis Rams moved in 1995 – The turf could be rolled out and retracted in minutes and the owner had a hot tub in her suite, hot dang! But all that excitement fizzled as fast as Lawrence Phillips’ football career. Now the Rams have language in the contract that would allow them to break their lease on the dimly-lit downtown park. Do I hear LA on the phone again?
Tropicana Field, Tampa Bay – You built a stadium with catwalks that could be hit by a ball in play? Yikes. Not sure we need to go on from here, but here goes: Have you seen the turf in this place from above? Dingier than the shag carpet in your parents’ old camper van. It’s also difficult to find a high school game with more sparsely populated stands than a weekday game at “The Trop.” Doesn’t belong in the same division as Yankee Stadium, Fenway and Camden Yards.
O.Co Coliseum – The last football-baseball combo stadium is terrible for both. The baseball team is stuck tarping over thousands of vacant seats that forever marred the stadium when the Raiders returned from LA. As a football stadium, the scoreboard sound system and bathroom access are on par with your local Division II football program’s home field. Add to that the fact that the park has recently made headlines for sewage leaks in the locker rooms, and you have the number one park on our list. While the A’s faithful and Raider fans in the Black Hole are some of the best around, the stadium deserves a black hole all to itself.