Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Shea Stadium Being Demolished

It is an hour and counting to the Phillies' renewed Game Five with the Rays of St. Petersburg, and all I can say is that if anyone doubts the cosmic energy of fandom, he needs only sit among Philadelphians this week to feel their bipolar energy. Up three games to one, many were planning their day off to attend the victory rally. Stymied by the wind and cold rain Monday night, many began to imagine the hand of God working through Bud Selig's machinations against them. One friend of mine has invoked the Fog Bowl throughout all of this, pointing out that extreme weather is a reasonable last resort for the powers that be - always so long as Philly loses the big one. Whatever. I hope they win. It would be a nice place to live in for a while. No one is suggesting that Philadelphians will be any happier or nicer for real, but it would be nice if they had an excuse to pretend to act that way.

Meanwhile, I found myself publicly shedding a tear at work when I opened a cautionary e-mail from my brother with a link to the first videos I've seen of Shea Stadium being taken apart piece by piece. I pass this lugubrious gift onto you. I guess I've said everything I've needed to about this, but the first thing I thought of when I saw the scoreboard go down was that Shea was where my Dad took my to my first sporting event - the Jets-Colts home game of 1975. I still called him "Daddy" back then. I was six.

So while watching the scoreboard get pulled down, I'll be damned if I didn't just plain old get weepy, in front of adult people no less. Women are good for when you get weepy because they get weepy with you, and it was mostly my female colleagues around me at that point. One of them pointed out that at least the Vet went down in South Philly in one fell swoop. That was easier to endure. Now you see it, now it's an instant memory. It sat as a massive, formless pile of gnarled concrete wire and rubble for a long time after the Citizens Bank Park opened next door. As such, it didn't even look familiar anymore. Just a pile, and though I never had much of the same attachment that others have around here for the old concrete serving dish that was Veterans Stadium (a stadium that never got around to having a corporate re-naming, thank God) I think Shea reduced instantly to a pile of rubble would have been easier to handle. Like rubble, memory is formless, and rather beautiful that way, I think. Seeing images of Shea in its increasingly skeletal stages of decay and death is, as Charlie pointed out to me, very hard to watch. So, steady, old friend. It's almost over. It's almost done. You'll be at peace soon.


Anonymous said...

It's interesting how the YouTube videos of the Vet's demolition were accompanied with titles wherein the posters (who I believe were all Philadelpians) took venomous delight in the carnage.

Martin Roche said...

Let's face it. Whatever one might say about New Yorkers, they never screamed hosanahs over the destruction of the Vet. Why would they? They live in the one of the greatest cities in all of Western Civilization. To live in Philly is to know people who can never quite accept that truth.