17.8.06

ANOTHER SHAMEFUL ACT OF VANDALISM? USA Today sports columnist Ian O'Connor ranks the replacement of Yankee Stadium up there with the redevelopment of Penn Station.

Why are the Yankees tearing down one of the last great temples of American sport? Why are they leaving a perfectly functional ballpark, only the world's most famous ballpark, for a monument to big-business greed next door?

You don't just level Yankee Stadium, the same way you don't just level Fenway Park or Wrigley Field. You paint them, renovate them, equip them with new bathrooms and modern, fan-friendlier ways of watching the game.

The language Yankee management uses to promote their project echoes claims Pennsylvania Railroad management made in the early 1960s.
On the anniversary of Babe Ruth's death, too many people were too willing to celebrate the scheduled demise of Ruth's 84-year-old house. Steve Swindal, Steinbrenner's eventual successor, said, "We promise to deliver to you, the fan, the finest baseball facility in the world."
Yes, dear reader, that collection of newsagents and greasy spoons on the arrival level of Penn Station was planned that way, with the goal of "finest railroad station" in mind. New Yorkers didn't know what they lost until it was gone. Now they appear to be repeating the error, and with the Chicago White Sox as a recent example of a misguided stadium replacement.

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