Vintage Scan #21: Astrodome - 8th Wonder of the World
I've been watching baseball since the mid seventies (although, I'm sad to report I've watched very little the past few years). So, I knew the Astrodome was a big deal. I knew it was the first of its kind and mega expensive for its time. However, I recently acquired a 1966 booklet entitled Astrodome: 8th Wonder of the World, and, holy crap, I had no idea the level of orgasmic enthusiasm over this thing. When they say its the 8th wonder of the world they actually mean it!
"Comparisons between the Rome Colosseum and Houston's AStrodome are inevitable. Each in its time and place is something very special.... The Astrodome is bigger, brighter and has a multiplicity of conveniences and appointments far beyond the Colosseum..."
I must admit, looking at this spread on the various themes of sky boxes, I am very impressed - these are some badass rooms. I mean, Nebuchadnezzar had some nice hanging gardens, but did it have coffee tables shaped like dice? Did it have a "Skydome Club"? I didn't think so.
Imagine watching Nolan Ryan or Joe Morgan from the comfort of your "Egyptian Autumn" skybox, or "The French Hunt". I'm curious what "The Laverne" looked like..... we can only hope they are referring to Ms. De Fazio.
I'm impressed with their parking capacity considering most stadiums today still don't have 30,000 parking spaces. The "computer" system that controlled the Astrodome was also a source of amazement in '66:
"The sports fan who comes to the Astrodome steps right into the Age of Automation. His comfort is insured by a space-age Control Center nicknamed 'The Brain' by stadium personnel. The Stadium Control Center, a 17 ft. console, combines the most modern system of electronic and mechanical gauges, scanners, testers and instruments of control ever put together in one operation. The Brain replaces 280 men who would be working continuously to keep the air conditioning working"
The scoreboard they are so proud of seems laughable by today's standards. Compare this to what's hanging above the Dallas Cowboys and you can see how far technology has come.
Wow. I know there's been decades of inflation, but I'm still amazed at these prices - especially considering the state-of-the-art nature of this much heralded stadium. You could never afford to pay A-Rod $185,000 per game with those kind of prices.