From poor financing and irresponsible loan agreements to ugly designs and unrealistic expectations, dozens of hopes and dreams for crafting the supposedly perfect sports venue have been slaughtered.
It’s impossible to know the exact number of ballpark proposals that have failed along numerous stages of the development phases over the last century, but we do know that a lot of people invested loads of cash and time into these high-priced plans that ultimately failed.
As a few current teams continue to push for new homes, let’s look at 10 MLB ballparks and stadiums that were unable to successfully navigate the brutally unforgiving gauntlet of development.
New Fenway Park – Boston, MA
Tenant: Boston Red Sox
Former Red Sox CEO John Harrington made a bold proposal in 1999 to build a new ballpark on the other side of Yawkey Way, or just a few hundred yards from Fenway Park. Their new home would have the same dimensions, look and feel of the current Fenway Park but with updated amenities. Financing issues and widespread public disdain for leaving the then-88-year-old ballpark ultimately blocked this proposal.
San Jose Ballpark – San Jose, CA
Tenant: San Francisco Giants
There appeared to be two location options for the Giants in 1992 and neither of which included San Francisco. The team and city of San Jose agreed in principle to move the franchise about 60 miles southeast to a new 45,000-seat ballpark, but the plans quickly fell through and led them to strongly consider relocating to Tampa Bay. Those plans were also squashed and they stayed put in the Bay Area.
Meadowlands Ballpark – East Rutherford, NJ
Tenant: New York Yankees
Yes, rumors actually existed in the late 1980’s that the Yankees could move to New Jersey. The new ballpark would sit in the Meadowlands Sports Complex and appeared to be attractive enough for many to report that the Yanks could move from the Bronx. The rumors didn’t last long after the plans were unveiled in 1989 and nothing came of the proposed ballpark.
Cisco Field – Fremont, CA
Tenant: Oakland Athletics
Technically, hopes for Cisco Field are still alive as the team continues to secure funding and other resources for a baseball-only ballpark in the Bay Area. However, the team abandoned moving to Frisco in 2009 and these specific plans were rumored to be dismissed long ago.
Minneapolis Ballpark – Minneapolis, MN
Tenant: Minnesota Twins
This late 1990’s ballpark plan was presented during a very dicey time for the Twins, as they were struggling mightily on the field and were constantly fighting off relocation and contraction rumors, with many believing a new ballpark was the only thing that could keep the team in Minnesota. The plan died around 1997 and led those contraction rumors to reach terrifying levels.
Minnesota Dome – Minneapolis, MN
Tenant: Minnesota Twins (and Minnesota Vikings)
25 years before that gorgeous riverfront stadium was proposed, the team and city concocted plans for a gigantic 70,000-seat, $51 million dome in downtown Minneapolis. The design was rejected on numerous occasions before finally being scrapped in favor of the now-defunct Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, which opened in 1982. And yes, roads actually led into the dome, with the outer ring being a massive parking garage.
Labatt Park – Montreal, Quebec
Tenant: Montreal Expos
Not many people remember the plans for Labatt Park in 1997 and 1998, but the proposed 35,000-seat downtown Montreal stadium was a beauty. It featured natural grass, gorgeous skyline views and rumors of a retractable roof, all of which failed to come to fruition when the new Jerry Loria-led ownership group took over in 1999.
Baltimore Stadium – Baltimore, MD
Tenant: Baltimore Orioles (and Baltimore Colts)
This 70,000-seat multipurpose stadium was proposed for the current Camden Yards site in 1973 and we must thank the Baseball Gods every single day that the hideously bizarre facility was never approved.
Las Vegas National Sports Center – Las Vegas, NV
Developers proposed a glitzy $1.6 billion stadium trifecta in Las Vegas in 2011, one that featured an arena, ballpark and football stadium. Luring an MLB team always appeared to be a long shot for the baseball venue but it remained an outside possibility. The original plan fell through a couple years ago but similar proposals are still being tossed around the Vegas circles.
Rays Ballpark – St. Petersburg, FL
Tenant: Tampa Bay Rays
We’ve seen many different renderings kicked around for a new Rays park, two of which feature a beautiful village-like setting and a sailboat design, as seen below. The initial proposal began gaining steam around 2008 with hopes of boosting a depressing level of fan interest and ultimately keeping the team in St. Pete’s. It has fallen apart and been revived on numerous occasions and it appears that no one really knows what the future holds for the Rays.