MLB…One Fans Tweet On Progress.

When I jumped on the computer this morning, I was greeted by the following Tweet…”Life-long Red Sox fan but I wish they would rip this garbage park down. There is plenty of room in Southie to build a new one. Plus, it would be on the water.” I almost spit out my coffee. How could someone who is a self-professed ‘life-long Red Sox fan’ even consider the demolition of venerable Fenway Park?
My very first thought was that the guy who Tweeted this out must be a troll looking to crank people up. If he was, he didn’t do a fabulous job because there were not a lot of responses, as far as I could tell. But then again, Twitter updates so quickly that even if there were a lot of responses, they got pushed downward very quickly. Anyway, back to this particular Tweet. I might ask how any ‘die-hard Red Sox fan’ could even consider tearing down Fenway Park and building another one somewhere else? Does this person have no regard for the history of the Park? Where is the sentiment? Where is the respect for a Boston icon?
Now before I go off on a crazy tangent, the Tweet in question makes a few good points. First of all, let’s face that a park on the waterfront would be neat. AT&T Park in San Francisco is probably one of the best examples of a beautiful ballpark being built on a waterfront. But we can counter that with old Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is not too far from Camden Yard (walking distance, actually), and that is also nice. My point however is that just because you can do a thing does not mean that you should…The Tweeter also calls Fenway a ‘garbage park’. Question…does something being old make it garbage? I am getting older, but I am not getting any garbagier (?). A 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa is old, but a well preserved and restored model sold at auction for over $16M. I could spend days listing examples of the fault in this person’s thinking, but I will refrain. I believe that I have made this point.
The John Henry ownership group is constantly working to improve Fenway Park. Yes, it is old. In fact, it is the oldest ballpark in the major leagues, having been built in 1912. Yes, it may be limited by the confines of the streets where it was built, but I believe that is part of Fenway’s charm. There is no other park in baseball like Fenway, and its uniqueness is what makes it great. In the same vein, workers are now scrambling to update Wrigley Field in Chicago, but nobody would ever dream of moving it from 1060 W. Addison, and tearing it down is completely absurd. The same thing goes for Fenway Park.
Baseball is a game of traditions. It is a game of great history, and we as baseball fans revere that history. Why is it that in some people’s minds that just because there is progress, things that are older need to be discarded? I certainly do not believe that, and I know very few baseball fans that do. We cherish our history. We delight in it. We pass it down to our children and grandchildren, just as it was passed down to us. Are you familiar with the sad story of the Tribal Fires? There was a tribe of people that lived for centuries without any modern conveniences of any kind. They hunted and fished. They made their own clothes and tents. They were happy and content with their lives. At night, all the members of the tribe, both young and old, would sit around the tribal fire and tell stories and teach lessons. The Tribal Fire was the center of their community. Well, one day well- meaning missionaries found this tribe and offered them some modernization, in the way of electricity and the light bulb. They told the tribal members of how this miracle of electricity and light would allow them to farm more effectively, and be able to preserve more food and make more things because they could work in to the night. But then something happened. Because the tribe had lights in all of their dwellings, the nightly Tribal Fire was no longer considered a necessity. It was a tradition that died off. As you can imagine, the tribe lost its identity and its traditions because the elders were not sitting around the Tribal Fire and teaching the younger ones any longer. Also, as you may have surmised, the tribe died off. It is a sad and true story, and it also starkly illustrates my point about traditions, and the need to keep them alive. Just because there is a newer model does not mean that it is a better model.
In closing today, I hope that the person who Tweeted out his opinion of ‘the garbage park’ has some time to reflect on what he said. Maybe some of the Boston Tribal Elders will correct him and his badly considered idea. Progress is a good thing, but progress has to be carefully balanced out with tradition and history. If it is not, then we lose some of the things that make us, well…us. Gone are the classic ballparks like Tiger Stadium, Comiskey Park, Ebbets Field, the Astrodome, and so many others, only to be replaced by the modern cathedrals of baseball. The new parks are beautiful to be sure, but we cannot keep tearing down the old parks just for the sake of having a new one.
Rest easy, though. Fenway Park is on the National Register of Historic Places, and as such it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. May Fenway Park last for another 100 years.


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