Website Review: Stadium Journey

Parking at Rome’s Colosseum was notoriously horrid.

I’m quoting myself when I say that an underrepresented concern in the field of baseballing analysis is the question of what exactly makes watching and following the sport pleasant.

To this charge, at least one voice will raise the point that “measuring” happiness and its attendant causes is difficult, that there are too many variables to consider.

To those voices, I say: “Shut your little faces.”

I also say: “Maybe that’s the case. But the fact remains that people, by and large, don’t know what makes them happy. As proof, I offer the fact that anyone, at all, lives in the city of Dallas.”

QED, amirite?

Whether to address the dearth of happiness-related research in sport, or for other reasons entirely, a cadre of enterprising gentlemen have giveneth to the world Stadium Journey, a site dedicated to better understanding and analyzing the fan experience.

Pay no attention, please, to the fact that Stadium Journey has existed since the summer of 2009. It’s well known that, until a site is linked-to, and commented upon, by NotGraphs, that site has not officially existed.

Whatever its origins, Stadium Journey seeks to provides readers and potential stadium-goers with a complete understanding of a stadium’s experience. This is done through a typical prose-type review and, perhaps of greater interest to NotGraphs’ bespectacled readers, a metric called FANFARE that attempts to rate stadium experience using seven variables (food & beverage, atmosphere, neighborhood, fans, access, return on investment, and extras).

Of course, FANFARE has its limits. If, for example, one values Atmosphere very strongly and Food and Beverage not at all, then the FANFARE score might not be particularly helpful. Furthermore, some inputs — like Atmosphere and Fans, for example — seem to overlap considerably in a way that might skew the output. Finally, while it might exist in some form that I’m simply unable to locate, a FANFARE “leaderboard” of sorts would be an excellent addition, allowing readers to sort — and argue about — the results.

Of particular interest to this author are the analyses of the surrounding neighborhood and real-live advice on getting to and from the ballpark. A recent post on Petco Park, for example, offers commendably thorough — but never redundant — notes on both, with a decidedly human angle lacking from those that might appear on a team’s official site.

Finally, that the Local Media section contains links to Gaslamp Ball and Chicken Friars — as opposed to just the generic Padres section of whatever the San Diego paper is — ought to inspire confidence in the discerning reader.

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Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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Paul Swaney

Thanks for the mention Carson- it’s true the FANFARE scale has its weaknesses, but hopefully it does allow fans to compare the merits of a minor league baseball stadium against an NHL arena, etc.

We should have some ranking pages in the new year to incite some of the debate that you’re longing for, so be sure to come back in January…