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The Baseball Stadium That “Forever Changed” Professional Sports

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Baseball stadiums never Only about baseball. Their usefulness is more dynamic and poetic; as writer and critic Paul Goldberger put it Baseball Stadium: Baseball in an American City, baseball stadiums are “the perfect American metaphor.” Metaphor works on at least two levels. As spiritually “garden” based public spaces, baseball stadiums evoke a tension between “rural and urban”—a Jeffersonian preference for the pastoral; Hamilton’s momentum towards the industrial, which “has existed throughout American history”. Done right, they show the beauty of this tension, the creativity of this American conflict. But so too are baseball stadiums—through design quirks, topographical adaptations, structural memories of local history—representing characteristics of the cities and time periods in which they were built. Thus, they are expressions of nothing more, nothing less than the way we live.

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Perhaps because of this fact, baseball stadiums also inspire a unique and very personal loyalty and pride among the fans. We love our stadiums. Fans whose teams play at the legendary stadiums – Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Dodger Stadium – tend to treat them with almost religious reverence. Meanwhile, fans whose teams play in stadiums that have yet to become historic often look to the prospect of what they might one day as cause for hope. That is why all new parks, when they finally open to fans, are greeted with heraldic signs. now this– we say, for the first time passing with wide eyes through the primordial silver turnstiles, this is the start of something new.

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Of course, most new stadiums lose their luster over time. They go out of fashion or fall out of favor, they don’t impress, or worse, they get boring from the start. It can be confusing – most stadiums make the news almost every day they’re built, or when politicians and team owners argue over whether to build them at all – but that’s usually the rule. In fact, it’s fair to say that only one stadium built in the past 30 years has managed to surpass the attention of the wider American public the size of the strike zone.

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This stadium is called Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Camden Yards didn’t deserve the adoration it got used to. When is that is mentioned, this is usually due to either an ill-conceived architectural renovation – critics and fans alike mourned upcoming amputation signs with logo Baltimore sun in center field, as well as the recent decision to push back the wall of left field – or internecine corporate squabbles of his tenants, the Angelos family, who could very well replace the Roevs with succession. However, when it opened to the public 30 years ago, Camden Yards was everywhere, and for equally favorable reasons. In Baltimore, it has simultaneously become a public monument, a prominent public landmark, and a major municipal achievement. His first year 3.57 million people bought tickets – a million more than at the “Memorial Stadium” in the previous season. They didn’t come for the players. Jeff Barker, sports reporter and Baltimore sunX A Washington correspondent told me, “The stadium has eclipsed the players. Camden Yards was the superstar of the Orioles.”

“It was like Disney World when this stadium opened downtown,” says Nestor Aparicio, radio personality, downtown Baltimore resident, diehard Oh fan and former sportswriter. Suntold me earlier this summer. “It was like a gate arch for Baltimore.” Kurt Schmock, who was mayor of Baltimore in 1992, told me that Camden even restored his constituents’ faith in their government’s ability. He recalled a story about a fan who once called out to him from somewhere behind the dugout of Camden’s first base during a rehearsal for the opening of the park. “Hello Mayor,” the man said. “Glad to see the government can do something right!” Shmoke, who was delighted to see the hotels and restaurants around Ridgely Delight filled with new customers, responded with a gracious thumbs-up.

Meanwhile, among writers, Camden Yards was nothing short of a marvel. Peter Richmond in his biography of the park: Baseball Stadium: Camden Yards and the American Dream Buildingcalled the stadium a “national landmark”. At the park festival published before it even openedGoldberger wrote that Camden “is able to erase 50 years of pathetic stadium design with a single gesture and restore the joyous possibility that a baseball park can actually enhance the viewing experience of a baseball game.” George Will, who was once considered an MLB commissioner candidate, announced in 2014, the construction of Camden was listed among “the three most important events to happen in baseball since World War II”, next to “Jackie Robinson entering the field in Brooklyn in 1947” and “a free agent arriving in 1975” . Edward Ganz, former architecture critic Sun, wrote that Camden Yards would undoubtedly become a “landline building” that would go on to “influence how major league sports facilities are designed.” (Such projections would, of course, prove prescient: in the years since the park opened, 21 baseball stadiums, most of them designed in the distinct architectural semblance of Camden Yards, have been built in or near city centers. countrywide.)

However, no one has glorified Camden Yards as prominently as Major League Baseball, which has rather loudly included the stadium in the mythical story it tells the world about itself. Bud Selig, then acting commissioner of MLB, noticed that “Camden Yards … changed everything. It really is. I’m not sure people understand the meaning of this.” In the meantime, the Orioles began referring to Camden Yards using the brand name: “The baseball stadium that changed baseball forever“.

Three decades after the opening of the stadium, the Orioles still feel this way about their home park. However, upon further investigation, their interpretation of exactly how Camden Yards “changed baseball forever” turns out to be somewhat incomplete. Camden changed not only baseball, but all professional sports. And not at all for the better.

The story that both Major League Baseball and the Baltimore Orioles tell about Camden Yards goes something like this. Many years ago, in the early decades of the 20th century, baseball stadiums were not just a useful poetic device or a place of pilgrimage for fans, but also essential components of American civic life. This is especially true of what Goldberger calls the “golden age” of American baseball stadiums, which begins around 1912 with the opening of Cincinnati’s Redland Field and, a few days later, Naveen Field (now Tiger Stadium). ) to Detroit and Fenway Park in Boston – and ends sometime during World War II. The stadiums built during this period were nestled in the city blocks they graced, typically within walking distance of train stations and tram lines, and were often located shoulder to shoulder with brick-built bars, businesses, and homes. They were generally privately owned, but nonetheless offered a relatively affordable public good. Imperfect but unique, autonomous but useful to society, they constituted the “defining element”, as Goldberger puts it, of the “civil realm”.

As a metaphor, every baseball stadium ever built reflects certain elemental truths about our ideas about the purpose and potential of public space. The landmarks of this golden period reflected, among other things, what was then our sincere longing for life in the American city; they polished the city, as did the city parks and good bars. However, the stadiums that cities and states began to build after World War II symbolized the opposite. These were not the unique city gardens nestled in the bustling hearts of their neighborhoods, but soulless, crashed AstroTurf-carpeted, dual-sport spaceships that plopped unceremoniously along highways and parking lots far out in the suburbs. These stadiums embodied the American ideal that cities despised. a generation of Americans who wanted to get away from them.

But then came Camden, who led the effort to, as Goldberger writes, “reclaim our cities.” This is where Major League Baseball resumes the story and continues to take some liberties. Whereas historians such as Goldberger do not attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of the urban renewal efforts that both Camden Yards and the stadiums inspired by it contributed to, in part because economic analyzes These efforts have shown that in many cases they were not so successful – in the interpretation of baseball, Camden is a model of an effort that has proven to be undeniably effective. As proposed by Major League Baseball in Press release To mark the 30th anniversary of Camden Yards opening this spring, the park has refocused not only America’s relationship with baseball, but cities that have been abandoned in the last century. “No longer,” the authors write, “communities across America will build stadiums devoid of character.” Instead, they would “build them to flow seamlessly into existing and historic neighborhoods, playing a key role in urban America’s renaissance.”

The greatness is not surprising. Baseball has a penchant for self-mythology. Allegory – in the form of orders, cursed commands, cleared corn fieldsis one of the ways baseball expresses its meaning. What the sport lacks in brutality or speed, memorability or star power, it tries to…



Source: www.theringer.com

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