Thursday, September 18, 2008

Farewell to a staple of Americana

Let me first begin by saying that I am NOT a Yankees fan. I abhor and despise them, their owner, their fans (even the ones I like) and all the wannabes out there who are on the Yankees bandwagon. Having said that, let me say that it will be a sad day this Sunday when Yankees Stadium will be closed forever.

This is the same field which featured such greats as the Babe, sluggers as Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and so on. Just the other day, Derek Jeter broke Lou Gehrig's seventy year old record of most hits in Yankees Stadium--a great feat to be sure and one that will never be surpassed. This was more than just the home of America's pasttime. Three popes held masses here for the faithful, it has been the sight of Billy Grahm's revivals and it was the place where the nation centered their attention to remember the horrible events of September 11. Yankees Stadium is part and parcel of who we are. It may not have the charm or nostalgia of Wrigley Field, the beauty of Kaufman, the (excessive) modernity of Bank One Ballpark, the green monster of Fenway, but it was home for the Yankees since 1923. Most people call this move progress. Progress is making something better. What can be better than something that represents the United States at its best and even its worst? What can be better than removing something that represents our very essence? The answer is nothing. Unfortunately, since we, as a nation, are so terrible at dispensing the lessons of history to our children and grandchildren and also because most of them have no respect for it anyway, I think the agony over the loss of this icon of Americana will only be with this generation until we die off in the next 30 or 40 years. Maybe it will take the loss of Fenway, Wrigley and others to really make us appreciate those symbols which we rally around.

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