Research Description

Seth’s research examines the fan experience at Major League Baseball games across the twentieth century. It uses five ballparks as case studies, divided into three eras governed by the prevailing trends in construction style. In the Classic Era, which dates from the construction of Shibe Park in 1909 until the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee for the 1953 season, Seth writes about the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium. The Classic Era was marked by rhetoric of equal access to the stands, but in reality that equal access was a myth. In Multi-Use Era, which dates from 1953 through 1990, Seth examines Dodger Stadium and the Astrodome. The Multi-Use Era was marked by conscious attempts to remove baseball from what many fans saw as the perils and dangers of urban life. Seth also examines the most influential Retro-Chic Era ballpark, Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, which opened in 1992. The Retro-Chic Era continues to the present day and is marked by explicit references, primarily, but not exclusively, architectural, to a fictionalized version of baseball’s past in a manner intended to invoke nostalgia and sentimentality in fans. Food, ballpark location, and ballpark design all played important roles in shaping the fan experience in each era of ballpark construction.

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