Our ads will blot out the sun

I’m 37 and all I knew was the ’70s iteration of Yankee Stadium. So it was with a mix of nostalgia and depression that I read the recent post at Fear and Faith in Flushing looking back at old (or medium-old, as the case may be) Yankee Stadium.

My last game there was in July 2001 when, as I’ve mentioned before, I proposed to my wife in Monument Park next to what I’m certain were the grounds crew’s tomato plants. Not sure if those plants made it across the street to that Bombastic Monument to Excess that is New Yankee Stadium — like Xerxes’ arrows in 300, I wonder if the giant overhanging ad blots out their sun.

(Apropos of nothing: does anyone other than me think it’s funny that the Associated Press Stylebook uses “Xerxes’ armies” as one of the examples in the entry for “possessives” showing when to use only an apostrophe, rather than an apostrophe and “s.” Not sure what the Greek-lore-loving Stylebook editor thought of both the Zach Snyder flick and Frank Miller graphic novel, but I digress).

While I may still hold a soft spot for the Yankee Past, I flatly reject the Yankee Present. I derived no joy from the Yankees winning last year’s World Series, and I largely ignored this week’s ring-presentation ceremony, though I was pleased to see  Hideki Matsui received his ring wearing an Anaheim (I won’t call them the “Los Angeles/of Anaheim”) Angels uniform.

Apart from the obvious reasons of their announcers, even with the sound on “mute,” I can’t even watch a game played in the New Stadium. I look at the background behind the fielders and look for “The Black” (and Christ, is there anything the Yankees won’t sell? This product comes with a “an authentic game-used piece of Yankee Stadium black bleacher.”) I look for the frieze beyond those now-vanished bleacher seats (yes, I know that was there only for the ’70s version of the old Stadium, and not the original construction).

I look at the New Stadium, and all I see are more monuments to excess: billboards viewable from space, Hal and Hank Steinbrenner’s giant screen TV. I look at the New Stadium, and all I can think of is this:

New York Times photo

and this:

NY Daily News photo

Meanwhile, the more I become re-immersed in Mets’ lore, the more I understand the desire (and, date I say, need) to change the outfield wall to blue at CitiField, rather than that black color it is now. While one team finds a way to sell every memory (were the old urinals up for bid at Steiner Sports?), another team often seems to forget it’s proud and fun-loving past (though at least they’re trying harder this year).


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