"The Ghost of the Bambino~The Spirit of 69" Yankee Stadium & Shea
Ever since the bogus baseball strike of 1981 I never set foot inside a baseball stadium again, well maybe just once. There have been a total of eight work stoppages in baseball history to include the cancellation of the 1994 World Series which was the first since 1904.
Today baseball faces it's greatest threat. The spot at home plate where Babe Ruth stood, as well as Lou Gehrig, Joe D'Maggio, and Mickey Mantel will soon be gone..all bases stolen by the corporate thugs and corrupt politicians for the sake of spending unnecessary money at the expense of the tax payer.
The field where Willie Mays and Tom Seaver played to be removed by a foreign bank. During the wild west days it was the outlaw robbing the bank, as was the case with the gangsters of the 1930's, now the banks are doing the robbing in more ways than one..they rob our history, our landmarks, and our identity.
The destruction of Yankee Stadium & Shea Stadium is the death of the native New Yorker..nothing much remains of historical value in New York City whether it was taken down by terrorists or capitalists most of these structures have been razed to the ground..from now on it doesn't matter where it goes to from here.
Though the New York Mets will never be in the same league as the New York Yankees and are perhaps considered the biggest losers in baseball history, winning only two baseball World Series by accident, they did symbolize the underdog..a combination of them "bums" the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants..SHEA STADIUM was their home only to be done in by Corporate American..Did you ever watch the original movie "Rollerball"? Was Karl Marx the sociologist right? Does one still have a right to question their government? Are Thomas Jefferson's ideas obsolete like the two dollar bill?
YANKEE STADIUM..sure, I never liked the Yankees..I was a Met fan. I saw the Yankees as Golden Boys..except for the Bambino of course but then men like him come around once in a while and no matter how much you hate or love the Yankees you cannot take away the history that occurred there. In 1936 & 1938 Joe Louis fought Max Schemling at Yankee Stadium. Even Ingemar Johansson who on June 26, 1959 become the 5th heavyweight champion born outside the USA and the 2nd Swede to earn The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Years in 1959 by knocking out Floyd Patterson in the third round fought there. Johansson had floored Paterson seven times before referee Ruby Goldstein stopped the fight 2:03 into the round.
The scene from the movie "Knute Rockne All American", "Win One for the Gipper" was also filmed there.
This year Shea Stadium will be the first to go. The spot where the Beatles performed in August 1965 will never see another band perform again. The Beatles will never reunite, neither will The Clash. The death of Joe Strummer in 2002 will see to that. Joe was wrong when he stated that "The Future is Unwritten". The future has already been written by the multinationals and their puppet politicians. I don't believe that The Who played at Shea Stadium that same night as The Clash in October 1982. The Who without John Bonham is not The Who. Billy Joel will be the last artist to play Shea Stadium on July 16, 2008. Billy was also the last artist to play at Madison Square Garden in the 20th century.
Just for the record there have been a total of four arenas called Madison Square Garden in NYC. The first two where located at the northeast corner of Madison Avenue & 26th street. Madison Square Garden One was located at the site formerly occupied by the passenger depot of the New York and Harlem Railroad before it was moved to the Grand Central Terminal in 1871. The old depot was sold to P.T. Barnum who made it into "Barnum's Monster Classical and Geological Hippodrome". It was then converted into "Gilmore's Garden" named in honor of Patrick Gilmore, the bandmaster who wrote "When Johnny Comes Marching Home". Guess what? Johnny ain't coming home. Never. The 2nd Madison Square Garden was designed by the great Stanford White topped with a garden with a statue of Diana by another great known as Augustus Saint-Gaudens. It was the city's 2nd tallest building at the time. It was torn down to make room for the New York Life Insurance Building. The 3rd which opened in 1925 was located at 50th street & 8th avenue and housed some of boxing's greatest fights to include the greatest boxer of all time, Rocky Marciano.
Ironically Madison Square Garden IV was built on the site of the Pennsylvania Station Beaux-Arts structure which caused a public outcry and led to the creation of the worthless New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
The Old Ebbets Field which housed the Brooklyn Dodgers was torn down in 1958 and the Dodgers moved west. Today the site is a housing project.
The Old Polo Grounds consisted of a total of four different stadiums first built in 1880 which stood at the corner of 110th street between 5th & 6th avenue now called Lenox Avenue was first used by The Metropolitans which later on became the New York Gothams soon to be called the Giants. All later Polo Grounds were located at 155th street & 8th Avenue now Frederick Douglas Boulevard used by the New York Giants till they headed west as well in 1957. The field was then used by the New York Mets (short for Metropolitans) until Shea Stadium was completed in 1964. The same wrecking ball which was used on Ebbets Field was used on the Polo Grounds. Today another housing project stands in it's place.
Although today's Yankee Stadium is not the original structure which was built in 1923, the 1974-75 renovation kept the field in it's original location. The new stadium is presently being built on another location, the former site of the Macombs Dam Park. A total of 400 trees were torn down to build the new stadium.
Ebbets Field, the Polo Grounds, Shea Stadium, Yankee Stadium..all going, gone forever...like the past, they will just be a memory. From an overpass Edgar Allan Poe once frequented you can watch "The House That Ruth Built" collapse as The Ghost of the Bambino strikes out and stumbles...
In the end what is baseball anyway? It just turned out to be a silly game played by over-paid, over-grown children..There are no Ty Cobbs or "Shoeless" Joe Jackson on any of these teams nowadays. They died some time ago, so did baseball when Joe D'Maggio walked off center field in a dress worn by Marilyn Monroe.
[After this article was written Ingemar Johansson died at his nursing home in Kungbacka, Sweden sometime on January 31, 2009].