Rites of Spring
New York City’s brand new stadiums open today and are extensively covered in the New York Times. The Times’ architecture critic, Nicolai Ouroussoff provides an overview:
each stadium subtly reflects the character of the franchises that built them. Yankee Stadium is the kind of stoic, self-conscious monument to history that befits the most successful franchise in American sports. The new home of the Mets, meanwhile, is scrappier and more lighthearted. It plays with history fast and loose, as if it were just another form of entertainment.
One of their top sports writers, George Vecsey, weighs in with this:
Were these new places really necessary? Yankee Stadium was cramped and outmoded but quite awesome. Shea Stadium was a horror, but it was the Mets fans’ beloved horror. Knowing what we know now about the economy, we surely could have lived with them indefinitely.
The main goal became turning ballparks into resorts, land cruises designed for A.I.G.-bonus-recipient wallets, the games lasting long enough to wring more twenties and hundreds out of the faithful.
Bread and circuses. Shrimp and pennant races. Luxury boxes and follies. Laugh and cry.
And yet, like salmon swimming upstream or birds migrating on ancient flyways, real fans will find a way to the ballparks, pulled by the life-affirming force of baseball coming around again in the spring.
Despite my Bronx-loyalties and Mantle-era Yankee nostalgia, on paper I like the looks of (pardon the expression) “Citi Field” better.
Now will it be President Obama or Archbishop Dolan tossing out the first ball?