The history of American ballparks.
We hear the stories from our grandparents, their sweet reminiscence of the "good ol' days" always intrigued us and brought upon a smile on our young face. Back when a ticket to the ballpark was less than a dollar and snacks didn't cost an arm and a leg. Of course it is only natural that after hearing these stories, the curiosity of the human mind has made us want to experience a ball game the same way they did 50 years ago.
Unfortunately, if you don't live within the friendly confines of Wrigley Field or beneath the Green Monster that is Fenway Park you are certainly out of luck. The sprawl in the expansion of project housing and industrialization caused many ball parks to close for good and leave the tenants to rebuild their home field in a better, more modernized area. These areas that the Major League teams move to are more equipped to handle the growth of MLB fanatics that arose exponentially in the mid 20th century.
Such parks that have met their demise include...
Ebbets Field (1913-1960)
The home of the infamous Brooklyn Dodgers organization from 1913 to 1960 became a staple to the city of Brooklyn, it was a landmark that was a modern marvel from the day it opened to the day it closed it's doors for good. It was the place where Jackie Robinson took his first and last at-bats and where Pee-Wee Reese stunned spectators with his shortstop magic. The glory and infamy only lasted for so long however, the park was later demolished and replaced with project housing.
Old Yankee Stadium (1923-2008)
Another beloved New York ballpark that was taken too soon. Unfortunately for Old Yankee Stadium, the damages were beyond repair and the stadium was replaced by a much similar looking stadium named New Yankee Stadium in 2008. The memories from Old Yankee Stadium can never be replaced however. Legends who've carved their names in baseball history have ties to this landmark. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, and most recently Derek Jeter have stepped foot into this great palace of greatness and with that in mind, it was ruthlessly demolished in 2008.
Not to completely destroy the history of the Yankees, the city of New York built a minor league baseball field that mirrored the exact infield of Old Yankee Stadium. Certainly a delight for many children who have wished to have stepped on the same field as many Yankee and baseball legends.
The rise and fall of these ballparks can reflect on much of the history of the city, they represent the great times and the not-so-great times from those times where you could catch a game at the ballpark. A time most people like to call the simple times. With the complex baseball stadiums being today, it becomes easy for one to forget about the past, and forgetting about one's past is the ultimate downfall of humanity.
Who knows? Maybe 70 years from now we'll be looking at Sun Trust Park the same way we look at Wrigley Field today. With the same mystique and character that builds on through the years. One thing that can never be replicated however, is the era in which the parks withheld through. From the first World War all the way to the Civil Rights movement, these ballparks have remained a place of neutrality where fans can come and enjoy a ball game. Although ironically fortunate, we will never see another Wrigley Field or Fenway Park for these very reasons.
Life moves on though, sometimes it is best to just appreciate what you have instead of replicating what's already happened. So... with that said, take the day off, gather up your family, and spend the day at the ballpark enjoying a classic American pastime. You might even be telling these stories to your grandchildren some day.