To my non-US audience, please bear with me. I wanted to post this at the start of the baseball season, but, the game decided to delay for selfish reasons. Baseball has pushed me away from today’s game, yet its lore still rests in my heart. To my non-baseball fans, pass the link on to a fan.
Click the video above for 2 minutes of background waves while reading.
I like walking on the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.
Today I think about the palaces of the fans known as ballparks to some – baseball stadiums to others.
Ballparks are those places creating a special feeling when hearing the crack of the wooden bat followed by the roar of a cheering crowd rising to their feet. This is not only a remembrance moment linking people but also a bonding moment between people and the game.
Ballparks are the cathedrals of baseball where people gather to worship with faith and allegiance for their team and yell praise to their cleated heroes. Ballparks are a place for creating memories that someone will tell to the next generation, but also a place for reuniting with those memories.
The ballpark is the place for relaxing, eating popcorn, getting excited, holding their breath, hoping, then moaning or screaming – back to relaxing, then something different will probably happen – and if you watch baseball long enough, something new.
The ballpark is the place for popcorn, hotdogs, peanuts, and Cracker Jacks. The place for standing to sing during the seventh-inning stretch.
Ballparks are the home to legendary teams: the Bronx Bombers, the Whiz Kids, the Lords of Flatbush, the Gashouse Gang, and the Big Red Machine. All and more are the Boys of Summer.
I think of places before my time: Palace of the Fans (Cincinnati), Ebbets Field (Brooklyn), Baker Bowl (Philadelphia), League Park (Cleveland), and Griffith Stadium (Washington). Yet, there are more.
Many may not remember Wrigley Field (Los Angeles). Not only did it serve as the first and one-year home of the Los Angeles Angels, but also the location of television’s Home Run Derby.
There are the classic stadiums of my youth – Forbes Field (Pittsburgh), Connie Mack Stadium (Philadelphia) – previously known as Shibe Park – plus Sportsman’s Park (St. Louis), Polo Grounds (New York), Crosley Field (Cincinnati), and others.
All places with their quirks – yet, places of lore. But they are now gone. Places that may or may not have a sign or plaque commemorating its existence. Places may be something else today – a playground, an apartment complex, a shopping area, a group of office buildings, or warehouses.
Let us not forget Braves Field (Boston). After all, much of it stands today. Not for baseball, but as a football field for Boston University known as Nickerson Field. An old ticket booth remains as a tribute to its past. I remember sitting in the stands imagining Spahn and Sain, then praying for rain – or slugger Eddie Mathews and other greats who played there.
A few teams played in temporary facilities while waiting for their newly-constructed home. I remember mosquito-infested Colt 45 Stadium (Houston) and quaint Jarry Park (Montreal). I also remember the Dodgers playing in a make-shift-for-baseball layout within the massive LA Coliseum that included a temporary high left-field fence that made Moon Shots famous.
These ballparks gave way to the circular masses of concrete and steel known as multi-purpose stadiums hosting baseball and football. Fortunately, most of them had shorter life spans than their predecessors. Not only is Atlanta’s multi-purpose stadium gone, but so is its replacement.
The current generation of ballparks tries to emulate the feel of those ballparks of long ago, but with modern conveniences and design. Yes, Yankee Stadium (New York) still exists, but it is not The House that Ruth Built – yet the city and franchise honor the original location.
Baseball history fans are lucky to have Fenway Park (Boston) and Wrigley Field (Chicago) standing as iconic tributes to the past. One has to wonder how long they will last – but for now, there is no end in sight – and for some of us, that’s a good thing.
No matter if baseball is played in the old, new, or bygone, ballparks are places of vivid memories. Ballparks are places where one can close their eyes and recall a past moment, a past hero, a past place like Ebbets or Crosley that stand no more. Ballparks occupy a special place in the minds and hearts of their fans.
The game has changed, but ballparks remain a special place, and so are beaches. After all, I like walking on the beach because it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.
See what other bloggers have posted about Ballparks
- A ballpark moment (a personal essay)
- Longing for Baseball (a poem)
- In the Ballpark (an essay)
- Lessons Learned at Wrigley Field (a personal essay)
- A story about Forbes Field (a short essay)
- Baseball (a beach walk essay)
Next Post: Transportation – Wednesday -25th May @ 1 AM (Eastern US)