Thursday, April 17, 2014

I'm all for the Yankees celebrating Nelson Mandela, but he never once set foot in the giant concrete dog dish where they now play

Our team once played in the greatest cathedral of American sports. Unfortunately, they tore it down.

Sorry, but you can't have it both ways.

Nelson Mandela never visited this Yankee Stadium. He never ate in the Yankee Steakhouse, never perused the Grand Concourse, never frooged in the disco. He once visited the Bronx, donned a Yankee cap and told the world, "Today, I am a Yankee," and he walked in an area that is now a parking lot.

I'm good with the Yankees remembering that historical moment. But when they do, they should also be held accountable for tearing down that historical marker. If Nelson Mandela's visit was so important to them, why did they knock it down and try to sell off every single blade of grass?

Well, whenever they hold a historical ceremony, I feel compelled to note the reality of what the Yankees traded, in the name of progress and tax breaks. They once had a stadium that possessed the history of Fenway Park, of Wrigley Field, and any sports facility in America. Growing up, I never imagined anyone - not the Nazis, not the Commies, not even the aliens - could ever tear down Yankee Stadium. The last thing I thought would be that the Yankees would do it.

The British didn't tear down Westminster Abbey to build a brand new one, featuring a Hard Rock Cafe. The French don't seem inclined to knock down the Louvre and put up a modern museum, rewired for improved WiFi access. Hate to be a downer here, but New York City preferred to have a parking lot mark the historical location where Ruth and Gehrig once played, and where Mandela walked.  

We tore it down.

4 comments:

John M said...

Amen. I can't say I hate the new stadium, it has its comforts. But leaving the old stadium was bad juju on the order of not signing Tino and going with Juicin Giambi. Not a good idea.

KD said...

I had a love/hate relationship with the old stadium and have the same for the new one too, for that matter. The Yankees really let the old stadium get run-down the last few years. The final season I don't think they spent a dime on upkeep. Biker bars had cleaner bathrooms. The concourses were so narrow it was hard to maneuver around people standing in line for expensive beer and chicken fingers. Rain delays were a nightmare with all the reeking fans crammed into any dry space they could find.

The new one is more fan-friendly but the cost of attending games has sky-rocketed.

Just to be fair to the Yanks, the land where the old stadium stood is now a park, not a parking lot.

Local Bargain Jerk said...


I have been to the parks in all 30 major league cities. Before they tore down the old YS, my favorites were Wrigley Field, Yankee Stadium, and Camden Yards, in that order.

The first time I walked into the new Stadium, my first reaction was: "Now our stadium is like everyone else's." We are now somewhere above Texas, but below Cleveland. And we did this to ourselves.

Tearing down the old Yankee Stadium was an act of civic vandalism on the size and scale of tearing down the old Penn Station and replacing it with the rat- and Zabar's-infested grotto we have today. If you don't believe me, just look at the pictures:

http://cdn.theatlanticcities.com/img/upload/2013/10/27/old%20penn-6.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/ba/Penn_Station3.jpg

http://cdn.theatlanticcities.com/img/upload/2013/10/27/old%20penn-6.jpg

Shame on every vandal involved.

Local Bargain Jerk said...

Sorry, that third link should have been:

http://cdn.theatlanticcities.com/img/upload/2013/10/27/old%20penn-8.jpg