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MLB Renovation Watch

Wrigley Field 2019

In order to keep their facilities competitive, many Major League Baseball teams have pursued ballpark renovations in recent years. With several high-profile improvement projects either in progress or in the works, the MLB Renovation Watch page will keep track of the latest developments when it comes to ballpark upgrades.

Ballparks are divided into four categories. In Progress is reserved for ballparks where renovations are currently unfolding, while Up for Discussion is for facilities where teams have taken tangible steps to begin renovations in the coming years. Rounding out the categories are Keep an Eye On—where discussions of renovations have taken place, but where several steps remain in the process—and Toss Up, reserved for teams that will likely choose between a renovation or new ballpark in the coming years to resolve their facilities issues.

This page will be continually updated as new projects are announced. Images and renderings will also be added once they are made available.

In Progress

Oracle Park Cloud Club

Oracle Park—The San Francisco Giants completed several major upgrades ahead of the 2019 season, including the installation of a new videoboard, the creation of the Cloud Club, and the addition of several gathering spaces. These improvements marked the beginning of a five-year capital improvement plan for Oracle Park, which the Giants are aiming to wrap up by the ballpark’s 25th season in 2024. Specifics on upgrades for 2020 and beyond have not been announced by the team but expect more changes to Oracle Park over the coming years.

Wrigley Field—Upgrades introduced by the Chicago Cubs in 2019 included several club areas, an expanded visitors’ clubhouse, and new gathering spaces. These upgrades came at the tail end of the Cubs’ multi-year, $550-million 1060 Project renovation, but more changes are expected to be unveiled during the 2019 season and at the beginning of the 2020 campaign.

Up for Discussion

Fenway Park–The Boston Red Sox are looking to complete another round of changes to MLB’s oldest ballpark. Bleacher upgrades and a new function room would be part of the project, while a new 5,000-seat theater in collaboration with Live Nation would be built at Lansdowne and Ipswich streets. The timeline for the upgrades remains uncertain at this point, however, as the Red Sox will have to work the concept through a review process in order for it to receive city approval.

Minute Maid Park—Minute Maid Park could in line for major upgrades, as the Houston Astros have inked a lease extension through 2050 that will lead to ballpark renovations. How the renovations take shape remains to be seen, but the new lease was a significant step in the process of beginning major alterations in the coming years. The Astros have made some other changes to Minute Maid Park in the recent past, highlighted by the addition of a new center-field area to replace Tal’s Hill in 2017.

T-Mobile Park—In May 2018, it was revealed that the Seattle Mariners and Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District (PFD) had agreed to terms on a 25-year lease extension that included future ballpark improvements. Debate over whether to contribute public lodging tax revenues toward future ballpark upkeep stalled the lease’s completion, but King County eventually approved those funds at a lower amount ($135 million compared to the originally requested $180 million), allowing the Mariners and PFD to move forward with the lease. No firm plans for upgrades have been announced to date, but approval of the lease extension should trigger renovations down the road.

Keep an Eye On

Comerica Park—Future renovations to Comerica Park were hinted at by Detroit Tigers president Chris Ilitch in comments last June. It is unclear at this point how those renovations would take shape, though the Ilitches could seemingly tie renovations into their larger downtown Detroit development initiatives—including 2017’s opening of Little Caesars Arena, and ongoing development of the mixed-use District Detroit. Comerica Park opened in 2000 and some facilities that debuted around that same period, including T-Mobile Park (formerly Safeco Field) and Minute Maid Park, are being eyed for renovations, so it makes sense that the Tigers would look to make their own ballpark upgrades.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards—Back in 2015, the Baltimore Orioles publicly suggested that a future Oriole Park at Camden Yards renovation could lead to the removal of seats in favor of more party decks and open spaces. There has been little in the way of tangible renovation discussions since, but with the club’s original lease expiring in 2021 and the ballpark’s 30th anniversary set for 2022, a series of future upgrades would seem to be in order. From the right-field flag court original to Camden Yards to the center-field roof deck added in 2012, the Orioles have been successful at implementing social spaces over the years, and they could build on that strength in future improvements.

Rogers Centre—When it opened in 1989 as the SkyDome, the retractable-roof venue was a marvel, but it now is now widely regarded as dated by MLB standards. The Toronto Blue Jays have openly acknowledged that future renovations are needed but have not committed to a firm plan yet. Funding is a major sticking point, but given the Rogers Centre’s prime location and potential, upgrading the ballpark rather than outright replacing it would seem to be the most logical path. Future improvements could lead to new social spaces, while making the facility more baseball friendly. Rogers Centre was originally designed for baseball and football, but football has not been played there regularly since the CFL’s Argonauts moved to BMO Field in 2016.

Toss Up

Angel Stadium—Now the fourth-oldest ballpark in baseball, Angel Stadium underwent a major renovation in the late 1990s, but it has not necessarily aged well. The Los Angeles Angels opted out of their Angel Stadium lease in October before agreeing to a one-year lease extension in January that covers 2020, a move that could give them and the City of Anaheim more time to discuss the ballpark’s future. It will likely take time for a final facility plan to come together, but at this point it appears that a new ballpark—either in Anaheim or elsewhere in Greater Los Angeles—or a renovation are the most plausible options, as the status quo won’t hold.

Chase Field—The Arizona Diamondbacks had been quite vocal in recent years about their dissatisfaction with Chase Field’s condition and reached a settlement with Maricopa County in 2018 that allowed them to begin searching for a replacement immediately. That leaves the team with plenty of options, including a future Chase Field renovation, a new ballpark in Phoenix or elsewhere in the Valley, or perhaps a less likely move out of Arizona. On one hand, pursuing a new ballpark in East Valley might be a desirable option for the team, given the availability of open land and the potential for a partnership with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. However, Chase Field does have a strong location in downtown Phoenix that could make it an intriguing renovation candidate, and the club’s ownership has yet to rule out making major upgrades to the ballpark.