Abstract

Since the 1950s, municipalities across the country have built stadiums to attract or retain Major League Baseball (MLB) teams. Because those teams were city-based and team owners have consistently aimed to attract middle- and upper-class white fans to their ballparks, changes in ballparks highlight how the white middle- and upper-classes thought about cities. When ballparks were popular, they provided something middle- and upper-class white fans were looking for; when they were not, something was missing. Using Houston's Astrodome, Baltimore's Camden Yards, and suburban Atlanta's Truist Park, this article traces a cyclical process in the locations of MLB ballparks and how those locations made most white fans feel safe. It shows that cities repelled middle- and upper-class whites in the 1960s and 1970s, that predictable facsimiles of urban life drew them in the 1990s, and that they again found cities unappealing in the 2010s.

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