This week I watched Ken Burns’ The Tenth Inning documentary for the second time. Seeing the old cookie-cutter ballparks hit home for me.
In today’s age we dump on places like Riverfront, Three Rivers and The Vet. But those were the baseball cathedrals I dreamed of playing in one day. And those were places where some of my fondest baseball memories occurred.
But that doesn’t mean I’d trade the new retro-style ballparks for yesteryear’s cookie-cutters. In a nostalgic way, however, I miss the days of Astro Turf and symmetrical parks!
Baseball relies so heavily on its history, which is why the wave of new ballparks over the last 20 years has advanced the game for generations.
Whereas most of the ballparks of the 1970s lasted for 30 years, today’s diamonds are likely to last for twice as long, if not longer.
And that means more baseball fans will share the experience of a Wrigley Field or the old Yankee Stadium. Places where the greats once shared the same field as today’s players, and where fathers, sons and daughters made wonderful summer memories together.
The stadiums are as much a fabric of the game as is the fastball. And maintaining those deeply rooted emotions that stir within our summer shrines is of great importance.
All baseball fans deserve a Fenway Park, a Jocobs Field, and an AT&T Park. I wouldn’t have it any other way.