Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Rant for the Sake of Nostalgia

Summer time with the kids usually means that I might as well live under a rock when it comes to news and current events. So you can imagine my surprise when I was watching the MLB All Star Home Run Derby last night to learn that they were going to TEAR DOWN Yankee Stadium!!

Shock is an understatement. I was so upset I wanted to cry and throw things all at once. How could anyone possibly think that was a good idea?

I mean there is no love lost between me and the Yanks. I’m a Red Sox fan in honor of Brian, so the assumption that there exists a grave dislike between me and the Yankees is a good one. But Yankee Stadium is hallowed ground and exists outside of any team rivalry, ego or Steinbrenner. Almost all of baseball’s greatest moments have happened in Yankee Stadium, or had some connection with it. It is the pinnacle of baseball history.

And that is what makes me so angry. The absolute disregard of that history, which is in and of itself a grand reflection of our own American history. Discovering a place of hope during war. The people finding a forum where they could put down their racist tendencies and acknowledge greatness in a man regardless of color. Or, last night, a man overcoming three years of heroin addiction to come to the Homerun Derby and hit 28 homeruns in the first round.

Baseball is the great American pastime because it allows us to celebrate and hope and cheer as if time has stood still. Walking into a baseball game gives you permission to make each at bat, each play and each out your number one priority regardless of what the stock market or the politicians are doing.

Ultimately, I can get as mad as I want, but it’s going to happen. They are going to tear it down. So I guess in the end, it’s really the inevitability of it all that makes me so sad. That we can devote a season and an All Star game to remembering the history this stadium has seen and tell ourselves that it’s enough. That because we remembered it all for a few months, that gives us permission to do away with it and build something new and shiny in its place.

I guess I just want to hold onto the comfort that comes in knowing that a place exists that bore witness to so many of America’s best and most hopeful moments. Because I think we all could use a little inspiration right about now.

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