Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Little Bandbox that Could

("The Lyric Little Bandbox Turns 100"). There is something almost mythical in the vivid detail of Mr. Margolick's tribute to Fenway Park. The stadium is a living, breathing being capable of the broadest range of emotion. The Wall is physically assaulted by offending baseballs, yet I see it as majestic and defiant. Mr. Margolick captures, in glorious detail, what it means to be a fan, to not only attend a game, but to become part of something much larger and more meaningful.

As I sit in my apartment, I stare at a sign, literal and figurative, of something that is no more. It reads "Be Alert Foul Balls" and was taken, surreptitiously from Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2008, as the last out ever recorded there was made. Given the stern and constant reminders that we, as fans, were not entitled to walk away with a piece of history, this lasting memory was hidden on my back, under my sweater as I made my final exit from the place I had viewed as a second home for half a century.

Downstairs, there is an $80 clump of dead grass, purportedly removed from the House that Ruth built, as it was being unbuilt. It is, for me, as much statement as is it defective merchandise.

I envy Mr. Margolick and the treasures that he finds to this day. In my eyes, the new Yankee Stadium is an antiseptic fraud. It does not tell me tales of Ruth and Gehrig, Dimaggio, Mantle, Berra, and all the others whose blood, sweat and tears was taken away with the demolition of the old brick and mortar.

I understand that age and economics wait for no man, and that Wrigley and Fenway are the remaining vestiges of an era long since passed.  I know ultimately that the team I have rooted for all these years is not really housed in any place but my heart. But, at least for a brief moment after reading of the Little Bandbox that could, I am envious of a Red Sox fan. And in all my 60 years, that is a first.

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