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Friday five: Dead stadiums

Maybe the Weekend Predictions will wind up a failed four-year endeavor, like the presidency of Jimmy Carter or George H.W. Bush. Maybe, like Bruce Bochte in 1983, they're just taking a year off and will return next year.

Maybe, like Season Eight of "Dallas," they were all just a dream.

In any case, I felt like it was time to change things up during the regular season. So we're going to have the "Friday five," which will give us the leeway to produce a list of whatever seems right that particular week: Five recollections, five news tips, five questions for a baseball person and so on.

We'll see how it works out, but I still like the idea of offering something a little different on Fridays. Hat tip to a friend of the blog for suggesting this.

With the Mets opening their season against the Marlins at Sun Life Stadium, which is thankfully entering its final season as a ballpark, I figured I'd list my favorite ballparks that are no longer opreating. I'm confident that Sun Life Stadium - which is extremely drab and located in a no-man's land at the periphery of Miami - will not make the cut.

Here we go:

1. Tiger Stadium. My goodness, did this place have character. From the flagpole in play (in centerfield) to the rightfiefld overhang to the radio booth being just a few feet above home plate, I never would've tired of going to games at this place. I went to a bunch during my days as a University of Michigan student.

Once I became a reporter, I grew more aware of the place's flaws, like its tiny clubhouses and the press box located up in the heavens. But I would've tolerated those just to keep the old place around. 

Comerica Park is perfectly fine, yet it'll never come close to its predecessor, IMO.

2. Yankee Stadium. What wasn't to like? The history. The decor. The acoustics. Bob Sheppard. 

I'm starting to dislike its successor less; it's growing on me like George grew on Heather in this "Seinfeld" episode. However, the new Stadium has a long, long way to go before it can be regarded as fondly as the old Stadium.

3. Memorial Stadium. I went there just once, to see this game, but I have very fond memories. I loved how it was located in the middle of the city, so you could walk to it. If I recall correctly, the place had great crabcakes. And this is where fans originated the tradition of shouting, "Ohhhh!" (to honor the "O's," as Baltimoreans call them) during the "Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave" of the national anthem.

4. Metrodome. I'm all for playing in the elements, but after sitting through yesterday's brutal experience at Yankee Stadium, I'm reminded how nice it was to have environmental certainty in Minneapolis. Plus, the Metrodome was so different, from the white roof to the rightfield "Baggie," that you had to be a real sourpuss not to appreciate it on a kitsch level.

Throw in the work of public-address announcer Bob Casey, who couldn't pronounce any opponent's name, and the Metrodome was really a fun place.

5. Shea Stadium. Ah, what the hell. As Mets fans often say, it was a dump, but it was their dump. The Home Run Apple. The blue and orange seats. The "Meet the Mets" song. There were some fun times there.

The other dead stadiums to which I've been: The Kingdome, Veterans Stadium, Olympic Stadium, old Busch Stadium, County Stadium and Jack Murphy (Qualcomm) Stadium.

--Here's my column on Curtis Granderson

--Neil Best examines the increased parking prices at Yankee Stadium and wonders whether 2011 will be Suzyn Waldman's last year as a Yankees broadcaster.

--Jim Baumbach wrote about Derek Jeter, who made his 16th straight Opening Day start.

--The Mets hope that Jason Bay can return from the disabled list shortly.

--Ronny Paulino, with anemia, could return by the end of April, Sandy Alderson said.

--All right, I'm off to Miami and will check in later.

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