Cheney Stadium Destruction/Construction Photos

The Cheney Stadium renovation began immediately after the Rainiers last home game, and it is in full swing right now. The stadium is a hard-hat and protective-goggles zone, and right now only a few original elements remain: the seating bowl, the party decks, the scoreboards. and the right- and center-field fence.

I was on the road, first in Fresno and then in the PCL playoffs, when the tear-down began. The early photos were sent to me by our food-guy-turned-photographer, Corey.

** NOTE: Click on photos to make them larger**

First, they picked apart the dugouts, and created some space for the roof to come down. I emailed this photo to the former Rainiers managers Dave Myers, Dan Rohn, and Daren Brown – each of whom desperately wanted new dugouts, because the old ones weren’t big enough to fit a baseball team. Replies were universally positive.

Goodbye, dugouts! May your replacements be large enough to hold a baseball team.

As you can see below, the seats that are closest to the field are being rebuilt – the rest of the seating bowl will remain the same.

New seats will be going in around the dugouts.

Tearing down the roof was a big part of the project – removing it without damaging the seats below was a difficult feat, and I was told it was a rather costly part of the renovation. First, however, they had to remove my office from the top.

Celebration time!

They actually lifted that off with the crane, and carried it to the ground and demolished it in the parking lot. I was on the road with the team in Sacramento when this happened – yeah, the playoffs were fun, but I had big plans for this event: Press Box Destruction Tailgate Party! I am fortunate to work with a true tailgate party expert, and I was going to enlist his services. We would set up in the parking lot, fire up the grill, break out some tunes, tap a leftover Gold Club keg, throw the football around – and then celebrate wildly when the press box was destroyed. I was going to invite all my friends. Instead, all I got was this lousy Pacific Coast League championship.

The Cheney Stadium Ticket Office suffered a similar fate:

The ticket office was actually one of the most modern parts of the ballpark - roughly 15 years old.

They used these giant cherry-pickers to take down the roof, piece by piece.

The stadium sure looks strange with no roof.

From the right field corner

Notice that they had to remove the light standard on the third base side. It will be back.

They took out the concrete support columns, and put in these (temporary?) metal supports to hold the seating bowl up. Those concrete columns always gave me the heebie-jeebies, because they tapered down to a tiny circumference at the base.

Missing from this photo, never to be seen again: the old Administrative Office.

A lot of the work being done now is in the concourse area, where they are excavating under the stadium and leveling the entire area. There will be no more slippery hill on the third base side of the concourse, and there will be more than one entrance tunnel for disabled fans – in fact, the stadium will finally be ADA compliant.

End of the third base concourse, at the old entrance to the party decks.

At the foreground is one of those "Group Express" concession stands, which will be moved to a different part of the concourse.

One thing that is not going away? The first-base locker room – although that will now be the visiting team’s home.

Jim Bouton ragged on this clubhouse in 1969's "Ball Four."

I wandered into the outfield and took some shots. The left-field fence is gone, but the legendary center field wall remains, as does the right-field fence. The team never had any intention of changing the deep center field dimensions, and now they are considering just leaving the original Giant Wall in place in center (as opposed to rebuilding it in the same spot). I would applaud this if that’s what they decide – that deep center field fence is a Cheney Stadium landmark, and when you hear the whack of a ball hitting the plywood out there, you know someone hit a rocket.

The scoreboards are state-of-the-art and only two years old - they're not going anywhere.

The left field visitor's clubhouse is about to get bulldozed.

This left field foul pole has seen better days.

I wonder if I could mount this on the roof of my townhouse?

After the final game, home plate was dug up and presented to the Cheney family. An orange cone marks the spot. Looks like our groundskeeper decided to use the home-plate cutout to preserve some turf.

Anyone know how much a new home plate costs?

Speaking of the Cheney family – ol’ Ben’s statue is staying in place – but he’s been boxed up for the winter.

Ben is in the cardboard box - DO NOT LET HIM OUT UNTIL OPENING DAY!

 It’s an amazing project. I’ll post more pictures as the construction progresses through the winter. Special thanks to my two co-workers who showed me around:

Two of the three "lucky" Rainiers staffers who are spending the winter working out of trailers at the construction site. The rest of the staff is over at the Union Street compound.


7 Responses to Cheney Stadium Destruction/Construction Photos

  1. Jim Batcheller says:

    Thanks for the “play by play ” comentary of the stadium renovation. The pics were nice,but understanding what is going on makes the pics make sense.
    Thanks again and I look forward to more “play by play”

    Jim Batcheller

  2. Steve says:

    I am so glad that they are going to leave that center field wall. Thank you for the pictures and comments

  3. camden meyers says:

    wierd to think i was working in alot of the spots that are now just dirt lol i know next year i will look awesome

  4. Lee bales says:

    Thanks for the pictures! I am still having a hard time with all this!! I have been coming to that ballbark since I was six yrs old. I know it has to happen to better our ballpark and will be great, but it is still hard for me. Great pictures tho.

  5. J.G. Preston says:

    Hi Mike–What from Seals Stadium will still be in use after the renovation? Thanks!

    • Mike Curto says:

      The same Seals Stadium remainders from before the renovation will be in the new park: the light towers, and the small cluster of original wooden seats around the Ben Cheney statue.

  6. stan says:

    Thanks Mike. I have looked at the park from the Fred Meyer parking lot and it seems odd not to see the roof over the grandstand. It seems like there will be lots to do before the field is ready for baseball.

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