Saturday, September 29, 2007
Baseball day in New York
Monday's visit to Ebbets Field, it turns out, was merely a curtain raiser.
Today, on the 50th anniversary of the final games of the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants, famed ballpark afficionado Ken "Trolley Car" Schlapp and I took to the streets of the city. Our focus was on professional baseball, but a few extra parks lay in our path, too.
We began at Lou Gehrig's birthplace, on E 94th Street, and went from there to: the original Polo Grounds; the more famous Polo Grounds; Hilltop Park; the Long Island Grounds; the Queens County Grounds (aka Feldman's Atlantic Park); Suydam Oval; Meyerrose Park; Grauer's Ridgewood Park; Wallace's Ridgewood Grounds; the Union Grounds; the Capitoline Grounds; Eastern Park; Ebbets Field; the Parade Ground; Keyspan Park; the original Washington Park; and the later Washington Park.
I make that 17 distinct ballparks. Oh, and we took pictures of Yankee Stadium from the Polo Grounds site, too. You can see lots of photos here.
Meantime, as we journeyed around three boroughs, strange events were unfolding at Shea Stadium...
Every time we heard the radio, John Maine had a bigger lead to work with, and was a little further into a potential no-hitter. After a bench clearing brawl, we heard about "the incident at third base" as if it was a UFO sighting in Nevada. Each Mets run was celebrated as if it was a World Series win. Suddenly the Great Collapse of 2007 had turned into the Mighty Recovery of 2007. When it was all over, Maine had struck out 14, given up just one measly infield hit after getting 23 outs, and the bullpen had helped him to a 13-0 romp over the Marlins.
By now, The Phillies have duly lost, and the NL East is again dead level with a game to go. Fun? This race couldn't be better if it was being contested by ninja monkeys and pirate pandas.
History remembered, and history made. Today was a day for baseball.