Monday, September 22, 2008

Not "the house that Ruth built"

This is really annoying me. If you own an old manor house and you tear it down and rebuild it around the same basement and garden is it the same house? Seems pretty obvious that it's not, but that logic hasn't been applied to Yankee Stadium.

The New York press, actually the press across America, keeps referring to the last game ever in "the house that Ruth built". Well, "the house that Ruth built" was essentially demolished after the 1973 season and rebuilt (they like to call it a refurbishment, but there was practically nothing left of the first building). For two years the Yankees played at Shea Stadium and in '75 they went to play in what was then often called "new Yankee Stadium".

It's bad enough the American press is playing along with this Yankee propaganda, but the English press has now joined in. Uggh.

At least I'm not completely alone.
There will be no last-minute federal bailout of Yankee Stadium. The National Register of Historic Places has declined, more than once, to consider the big ballpark in the Bronx for landmark status - an honorific, it turns out, that would not have guaranteed protection from demolition.

And the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, which could have stopped this year's scheduled tear-down of the 85-year-old walls, repeatedly has rejected landmark designation because of the Stadium's 1974-75 "unsympathetic renovation."

… In 1999, South Bronx Congressman Jose Serrano wrote to President Clinton about NHL status for the Stadium, only to be informed by the historic-places director at the time that, "while the contribution of the New York Yankees to baseball and America is of national importance in many respects, the National Park Service is unable to conclude that Yankee Stadium retains the high degree of architectural integrity required . . . "

A 1986 landmark survey, which examined several professional baseball stadiums, already had concluded that the Stadium's mid-1970s remodeling "compromised the integrity of the Stadium."