August 17, 2006
"Say it ain't so!" On the 58th anniversary of the death of Babe Ruth, a ceremony was held to begin the process of replacing the stadium that was built for him. (Some preliminary tree-cutting and clearing away of Macombs Dam Park, where the new stadium will be built, had already begun a few days earlier.) Gov. Pataki, Mayor Bloomberg, Mr. Steinbrenner, Commisioner Selig, and the others made the obligatory reverential praises for Yankee Stadium, and then cheerily urged everyone to move on to the Brave New World of fan amusements, comforts, and luxury suites. The new "Yankee Stadium" is scheduled to open in 2009. According to MLB.com,
The new Yankee Stadium will seat fewer than the current stadium, but it will have 60 luxury suites, including three outdoor suites and eight party suites. It will have many restaurants, larger concourses and entertainment areas.
But the Yankees will also carry over some of the time-honored traditions of their current stadium. The field dimensions will be the same, and Monument Park will be transferred to the new park.
The design will even go further back to recreate some of the original park's features. It will have the tall cathedral windows, auxiliary outfield scoreboards, a right-field Yankees bullpen and a frieze on the roof, which is commonly known as the façade and was a feature of the original stadium.
Well, at least they're trying. I just hope the architects know what a slim margin for error they have when trying to recreate historical features. New Yorkers are a very demanding audience, and will have no patience for cheap imitations. Some purists argue that this travesty doesn't really matter because the "real" Yankee Stadium was dismantled thirty years ago, and they have a point. The post-1976 rebuilt version of Yankee Stadium may be only a pale imitation of the original, but I'll tell you what: It's a lot closer to the original than the next Yankee Stadium will ever be. I resigned myself to the unstoppable steamroller of "Progress" many months ago.
Perhaps this occasion was a bad omen for the team: They dropped the last two games of their home series against the Orioles, including an embarrassing 12-2 loss today. Now they begin another high-stakes series in Boston against the Red Sox, five games altogether, making up for rain-outs.
I figured the Nationals had to win at least two of their games in their home series with Braves to maintain a modicum of competitive spirit, and that is exactly what they managed to do. Young Billy Traber won his third game last night, an exciting back-and-forth 9-6 slugfest, beating John Smoltz of all people. This afternoon's game -- a dull 5-0 loss -- was broadcast by TBS nationwide, except in the Orioles/Nationals territory, where it was blacked out. Boo-oo-oo!