May 23, 2013
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Monday, March 16, 2009
Reviews of Yankee Stadium and Citi Field from The New Yorker. The reviews themselves wind around in typical New Yorkery style, but end up here:
A stadium is a stage set as sure as anything on Broadway, and it determines the tone of the dramas within. Citi Field suggests a team that wants to be liked, even to the point of claiming some history that isn’t its own. Yankee Stadium, however, reflects an organization that is in the business of being admired, and is built to serve as a backdrop for the image of the Yankees, at once connected to the city and rising grandly above it.
Best line of the review, however, comes in describing the scale of Yankee Stadium compared to the surrounding neighborhood:
The stadium is bigger and more imposing than everything around it, of course, but it seems to grow out of its surroundings, and this somehow rescues the building from its own pomposity.
I don't pretend to know a thing about architecture, but I could read architecture reviews all damn day.
Given that the Astros' catching situation was described as "dire" last week, this makes a lot of sense:
Catcher Ivan Rodriguez has agree to a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Houston Astros, a source told ESPN's Steve Phillips on Monday. Rodriguez can make an additional $1.5 million in performances bonuses. At the World Baseball Classic this spring, Rodriguez, a 14-time major league All-Star, is hitting .600 (9-for-15) in four games for Puerto Rico . . .
With only Humberto Quintero and J.R. Towles standing in the way, I don't think it's too bold a prediction to say that Fisk's record is going to fall before the All Star break.
The Yankees, unlike every other business in the world, are not having trouble securing credit:
The New York Yankees earlier this month borrowed $105 million from a group of banks led by Goldman Sachs to cover final cost overruns at the new Yankee Stadium, sources said.
They used to say that rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for U.S. Steel. I'd like to see U.S. Steel get $105 million at 5.8% right now.
Many of you couldn't give a hoot about the plight of newspapers and the future of media. If you're one of the hootless, please move along.
If you do hoot, then you have some must-reading today, in the form of Clay Shirky's devestatingly insightful post about the death of newspapers and how, for all of our squawking about it, most of us still don't believe it's happening at all:
That is what real revolutions are like. The old stuff gets broken faster than the new stuff is put in its place. The importance of any given experiment isn’t apparent at the moment it appears; big changes stall, small changes spread. Even the revolutionaries can’t predict what will happen. Agreements on all sides that core institutions must be protected are rendered meaningless by the very people doing the agreeing. (Luther and the Church both insisted, for years, that whatever else happened, no one was talking about a schism.) Ancient social bargains, once disrupted, can neither be mended nor quickly replaced, since any such bargain takes decades to solidify.
UPDATE: a couple of people have sent me snarky emails about not wanting to read another "newspapers are dead, man" article. Let me clarify: this is not one of those. I mean, it goes with that a bit, but the real meat here is Shirky's explanation about how anything anyone says about what to do about it is rather meaningless at the moment. In so doing he makes what I feel to be a rather illuminating comparison of our current situation and Europe in the time of Gutenberg. He also makes the point that many others have sort of made, but none too concisely:
Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism. For a century, the imperatives to strengthen journalism and to strengthen newspapers have been so tightly wound as to be indistinguishable. That’s been a fine accident to have, but when that accident stops, as it is stopping before our eyes, we’re going to need lots of other ways to strengthen journalism instead.
I know many are tired of this subject, but really, if you want to speak intelligently about the media, what it is and where it's going, you're going to have to engage with the points in Shirky's post.
Willie Mays is helping Aaron Rowand:
When Aaron Rowand took a seat at Mays’ table in the Giants’ clubhouse last week, something important was happening. For all the talk of Rowand’s prolonged hitting slump during his first season with the Giants, his fielding troubles might have been more crucial.
I've always been suspicious of immortals like Mays giving tips like this. It's kind of like Superman telling someone "you just have to sort of will yourself up and you'll be jumping tall buildings in a single bound in no time." I'm not saying Mays doesn't have anything to offer Rowand -- indeed, I'm sure he's forgotten more about pickin' it in center than Rowand will ever know -- but I can't help but think that there are about 15 levels of talent, knowledge, skill, and work Rowand would have to advance through before really being able to make use of what he's being told.
Miles Davis didn't give trumpet lessons to kids in his parlor. Picasso didn't teach art class at the community college. There's a reason for that.
(link via BTF)
In law school they tought us that fans more or less assume the risk of balls and bats and stuff flying into the stands at ballgames. Not so in Iowa, at least when you're a kid:
The lawsuit stems from a June 2003 Quad City River Bandits game in Davenport that Tara Sweeney, 8, attended as part of a field trip organized by the Bettendorf parks and recreation department. Sweeney sat in the third or fourth row of bleachers about 30 feet past third base, beyond the area where a net protects spectators, according to court records.
I've never known how to feel about the law in this area. I used to just laugh off the concept of stadium/team liability, but then a few years ago a young girl was killed by a puck at a Columbus Blue Jackets hockey game. Intellectually I can appreciate that that was a freak occurrence, but as a father I don't think that would make me feel better if it were my daughter who was killed or, in the case of the flying bat here, injured.
I think I still lean in the direction of "you buys your ticket, you takes your chances," but I don't presume to know the right answer here.
I always liked Ron Silver. Even if his daughter didn't know that her boyfriend's father WAS THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY!!!
Lew Wolff has given what seems like the final kiss-off to Oakland:
The Oakland A's have "exhausted" their time and resources with the city of Oakland in a search for a new home, and have "no interest in covering old ground again," A's owner Lew Wolff said in a statement released Friday . . .
I'd still like to blame Al Davis for this. True, the Athletics have never drawn stellar crowds in that ballpark, but one can't help but wonder what would have happened if the A's could have cozyfied their formerly mixed-use facility the way the Angels did a few years ago. After all, before the addition of those hideous outfield seats to accommodate football, the Coliseum was actually a pretty pleasant place to play. Would some additional upgrades during the original dotcom boom have rendered the A's the hot ticket they never became? We'll never know.
In other news, baseball officials may be flirting with Vegas again. Or, at the very least, wanting people to think that they are:
The Oakland A's are reportedly looking at Las Vegas as a bargaining chip.
We've been over this before, but I'm going to continue to beat this horse until people stop trotting it out: Vegas is a non-option. All together now:
There too many home games in baseball for Vegas to be able to hype it up like it does boxing and other one-off events. Casino interests would not be supportive, because, given that the profits to be had on slot machine pulls > the profits to be had on hot dogs, they are not going to empty their floors of 30-40,000 potential customers 81 nights a year. Also, a disproportionate number of Las Vegas' population works nights, so locals aren't going to form a big part of the paying and viewing fan base. Finally, given the sheer size of its housing bubble, its subsequent deflation, and the economic carnage currently afoot, the Las Vegas economy is in no position to be courting, let alone supporting baseball teams.
Sin City is fun to talk about, but it's simply not going to work as a baseball town any time in the foreseeable future.
I continue to not get excited about the WBC, but that doesn't mean that the off-the-field stuff isn't interesting. For example, there's all kinds of fun stuff in Jack Curry's WBC notes piece. Like the fact that Bernie Williams was either (a) wrongfully accused of striking that woman or (b) is really getting the wagons circled for him in the subsequent investigation. Things like the United States maybe making roster changes a little too late in the game. Things like Chipper Jones getting his annual cascade of never-quite-healing injuries started early this year. And finally, things like Hugo Chavez really not helping matters for Magglio Ordonez all that much.
On a more serious note, Jeff Passan lets the USA have it for making a mockery of the WBC. I can't say I disagree with a word of it.
You've seen him on YouTube. Now learn more about him at the NYT:
[Gar] Ryness has a singular talent: an ability to perform comically dead-on impressions of major league baseball hitters upon request. Little Leaguers have been known to try to imitate their favorite ballplayers. Ryness, 35, a married father of two, can do the starting lineups of all 30 teams.
In addition to enjoying his work, I'm happy he's around for one other reason: he makes one more 35 year-old married father of two spending way too much of his free time on baseball stuff. His wife and my wife could probably have quite a conversation about how truly disappointed they are in each of us.