This video sparked the stream of conciousness that follows. Please watch before reading.
Historically, aside from all the wins and losses and eliminations and playoffs and naming of a World Series champion this year…going forward the record books and baseball landscape are going to look a bit different as they are about to lose two of their East coast mainstays, Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium. One with simply a new building and one with not only a new building but a new name. Depending on how things go this weekend, as of end of day Sunday, Shea Stadium will cease to exist as the home of the New York Mets. As a kid who grew up on the East Coast, this is where I’ve seen most of the baseball games I’ve gone to. When I went to the game the other night I couldn’t help but feel sad that this place was no longer going to exist. You could tell fans around the ballpark were already thinking about the fact that Shea would no longer be around too. Hard not to with fans taking pictures for their own favorite memory spots inside and outside of the stadium, as well as the organization’s countdown to the final home game.
There’s a certain vibe that can be felt in a ballpark. Some don’t exactly share the same amount of history as others do. Either they haven’t been around as long or haven’t had the same amount of successful, memorable seasons as other teams have had in their ballparks. Wrigley and Fenway will now be the last two remaining stadiums from the OLD days. They are classics…historical landmarks in the fabric of the baseball society. With every new cookie-cutter stadium that is built and named after some stupid cell phone company or bank, the closer we get to losing a large part of what has made baseball what it is today. The venues that the game has been played in. Think about it. Some of you may have moved with your family at some time in your life. Left the house that you grew up in. Left the only home you and your family have ever known. It’s a sad thing to go through. I know because I’ve fought my family on them doing so for a long time now. I’m sure eventually it would be best for my parents to move out of the house that is now a little too big for them and its been a little selfish on my part to request that they stay. People say, “What’s the big deal? It’s just a house. You’ll still be family no matter where your parents live and regardless of whether you’ll be able to go back to the only home you’ve ever known or not, it’s about where your family is that makes a house a home, not the actual house itself”. That may be true, but then why does it matter so much to so many that nothing does change and that you’re able to keep the same house forever? It’s because that’s where all your history lives and breathes. And as baseball fans, our fellow fans become our baseball family and our stadiums our baseball family’s home.
Root for a team long enough and you don’t even need to know the people around you at the ball game. Just the simple fact that you wear the same team colors and have laughed and cried at the same history of the team together is all that matters. When it comes to being a baseball fan, that’s what matters. The memories. And the memories will always be there. It just doesn’t feel the same though when you think about the fact that the tangible place in which those memories took place will be gone forever. And for baseball fans that have had to go through this around the country, it’s a very sad thing. Shea Stadium, Yankee Stadium and every other ballpark that has been shut down over the years because it was simply to old and out of date to invest in and carry on, had fans that went through the same thing New York Yankees and New York Mets fans are going through now. The memories live on but the tangible home of those memories soon to be lost forever. That is a sad thing. One of the biggest necessary evils of the game I suppose. Let’s just hope Wrigley Field is never added to the list and that Cubs fans never have to experience this kind of loss.