Yankee Stadium’s final game, or Field of Dreams?

Anyone who read my last post knows how I feel about Yankee Stadium. So there’s no need to repeat myself. There’s no need to repeat myself at all. No, repeating myself would be counterproductive. So I decided not to repeat myself.

I was in attendance at the last game at Yankee Stadium and, in addition to the sadness of knowing I’ll never enjoy that great ballpark again, something’s been nagging at me, but I haven’t been able to figure out what it was until now.

Yankee Stadium, old and new

Yankee Stadium, old and new

One of the first parts of the pregame ceremony featured an introduction of the lineup from the very first game played at the original Yankee Stadium, in 1923. In what I thought was the one idiotic moment in an otherwise decent ceremony, the Yankees had actors in throwback jerseys portraying the players who were in the first game’s starting lineup. Seriously, why?

I kept waiting for Ray Kinsella, Kevin Costner’s lead character in Field of Dreams, to walk up to a patch of corn stalks planted in center field and wait for his dad to emerge so they could have a catch.

And just today, it hit me: The entire process of abandoning a beautiful building to move into an expensive (but more than likely gorgeous) new Yankee Stadium has been a remake of Field of Dreams.

Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams

If you’ve seen Field of Dreams, you’ll remember the three phrases uttered by the mysterious voice. And if you haven’t seen Field of Dreams, what the fuck is wrong with you?

• “If you build it … he will come.” In the movie, “he” is Ray Kinsella’s father. In the sequel, “he” actually represents the Wall Street firms, banks and large corporations that are expected to buy all of the new luxury boxes in the new Yankee Stadium. After all, the main reason for building the new ballpark was to add far more suites than the old one could ever possibly accommodate. The Yankees can peddle all of the bullshit they want about the new building being “for the fans.” It’s for the fans, indeed: The fans who can shell out thousands of dollars per game to sit in a suite. Now, the question is, with Wall Street in general and the finance industry in particular going down the toilet, are companies going to be able to justify spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on baseball? A stockholder or two may raise an eye and have a serious (and justified) beef.

• “Go the distance.” If you’re going to use taxpayer money that should be earmarked toward far more worthy causes than a ballpark, you might as well “go the distance.” When the dollar total contributed by the city keeps skyrocketing, while funds are taken away from such unimportant causes as education and health care, why worry?

• “Ease his pain.” In this case, the “he” is George Steinbrenner. He’s wanted a new ballpark since about 28 minutes after the remodeled Yankee Stadium opened in 1976. For someone who hated the Bronx so much that he spent many years threatening to move the New York Yankees to New Jersey, he’s putting up a hell of a building in the Bronx. The sad thing is, it seems like his health is so far gone that even if he makes it to the opening of the new Yankee Stadium, will he really have a clue what’s going on? I’m not trying to poke fun at Steinbrenner here. I feel bad about this. I truly do. Unfortunately, it’s a part of aging. He lived a great life (albeit not without a good share of faults), and it’s a shame that he won’t be able to truly soak in the magnitude of the new Yankee Stadium.

One final question remains: Can the Yankees sign Moonlight Graham and get rid of Alex Rodriguez?

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