Tourtellotte: Seats still available: trends in ballpark capacity

From SABR member Shane Tourtellotte at The Hardball Times on April 27, 2018:

Ballparks are different today. The architectural revolution in baseball that began with the opening of Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 1992 has run almost a full course through the game. Camden Yards is now the eighth-oldest ballpark in the majors; Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida opened two years earlier, but was not used by a major league team until 1998. Only one of the older parks, Oakland’s Coliseum, looks like it could be replaced anytime soon. The face of baseball ballparks is a thoroughly modern one now.

That revolution changed more than the look of ballparks. It carried a new perspective on how many fans a ballpark should accommodate, and that new philosophy appears to be that less is more. A decline in average ballpark capacity, a quarter-century in duration, began almost at the very time Camden Yards was opened.

But why? Why did a trend that had persisted since the dawn of professional baseball reverse itself?

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Originally published: April 27, 2018. Last Updated: April 27, 2018.