POINT TO PONDER
We are not makers of history. We are made by history.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
STORY LINE by David Hightower
A sad but inevitable fact of life is that things change over time. For better or worse, things evolve. This adage is so true that it even applies to America’s greatest pastime, baseball.
On a recent trip to Boston we had the pleasure of touring Fenway Park, home of the world-famous Red Sox (and the Green Mon-stah!). Unfortunately the Sox were out of town so we didn’t get to enjoy a game. But we did learn about the amazing history and tradition of a club like the Red Sox and a stadium like Fenway Park.
While Fenway appears old and battered from the outside, the inside is alive with rich tradition and stories of legends past. Even as someone who doesn’t care for the Red Sox (and their unlimited budget), I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic as I listened to story after story about the history of the park. From the Fisk Foul Pole in left field to the Peski Pole in right, to the only ladder in baseball actually in play (once the source of the only “ground-rule triple” in baseball), Fenway oozed the stuff of legends.
Now it’s true that from a comfort or architectural standpoint Fenway doesn’t even come close to comparing with modern parks like AT&T Park or (the new) Yankee Stadium. The luxuries offered at these parks speak volumes about how the game has evolved over time to place more emphasis on the fans; namely, providing the most modern facilities with the best amenities. I mean, who doesn’t want a hot tub and pool in the middle of the outfield bleachers…. or that amazing ahi tuna wrap with the chipotle aioli during the 7th inning stretch.
On one hand I love the fact that stadiums have evolved into more than just a baseball experience. But the question is, has it come at a price? Have we sacrificed a little of that history in the name of “newer and better”? Neither AT&T Park, nor (the new) Yankee stadium have experienced 100 years of baseball played within the walls, or have legends about the only red seat in a park with all green seats (the longest home run ever hit at Fenway - Ted Williams - 505 feet - 1946). Are these legends simply stories from our yesteryear, or are they a part of the clubs foundation?
And while there is always room for legends to be made at the newer ball parks, it is true that you leave a little piece of your heart in that old stadium that you saw hundreds of games played in.
But hey, I guess that’s just life evolving!
Every seat, every pole, and every place in the park had a story to tell. History isn't something that is just learned, it is something you can feel. Keep your eyes, ears, and minds open and it can still affect your life in the present.