ED NOTE: This is from 2009.
It was sort of almost anti-American. The very thought of it smacks of the days when missiles were pointed at us from just across the ocean in Cuba, when Khrushchev pounded his shoe on the table at the UN and shouted “we will bury you.” When we lived in fear of the big one and were taught to hug our knees under our desks in the event the Russians put the hammer down. Except in this case we have done it to ourselves. Or more importantly we haven’t done it. But let me explain what has me all lathered up this week.
Last year at this time on the Fourth of July a good friend took me and the long-suffering wife out to PNC field to see the Yankees of local repute play and lose and then the oh and aw of the fireworks show. We had a great time on a perfect warm summer’s night. Entertainment that wasn’t overly stimulating but still pleasant. Food in quantities sufficient to stuff a Palomino. A feeling that we were part of something that was clean and wholesome and fun. As American as apple pie, hot dogs and baseball.
We didn’t go this year. And I am pretty sure we would have, if we could. The day was perfect. Not a cloud in the sky on the fourth of July when the corn was as high as an elephant’s eye. But no one two three strikes and you’re out for us at the old ball game. Mighty PNC field had struck out.
It seems that when the Yankees came to town they wanted, no demanded, to play America’s pastime on blades of real grass, not some plastic compound cooked up in a scientists laboratory. And sort of like the homeowner who opts for the new roof over the old shingles they got grass, planted, so I understand, on top of the plastic turf. And this year the athletic cup overflowed and turned the outfield into a swamp but with poorer drainage. Waterfront property on the first base line.
And so the long string of great Fourth of July celebrations with baseball and fireworks at the once named Lackawanna County Multi-Purpose Stadium came to end, not with a bang or even a fizzle but with dead silence. And I have to wonder if we will ever see one again. For now that all the cracks and leaks and soggy outfields of the 20 year old facility have come to light, it won’t surprise me if the Yanks, yank out like the Phillies fled before them and leave us with a decaying field of dreams. And not much more