I was listening to a podcast a few days ago, while driving home from work, and they were talking about baseball stadium design. It was the first episode I’d ever heard of that particular show, and really enjoyed it. Here’s a link. Supposedly the program is all about design? It sounds weird, I know, but it’s very popular and I can see why.
In any case, they were talking about the transition from the big multi-purpose “concrete donut” stadiums of the 1970s, like Riverfront and Three Rivers and Veteran’s Stadium in Philly, to the smaller, retro ballparks of today. And it all started with Camden Yards in Baltimore. I knew this, of course, but liked hearing the history of how that place came into being. They even interviewed a few of the designers who were directly involved in the project.
However… they mentioned something, in passing, that distressed me a great deal. Camden Yards opened 25 years ago? That can’t be right, can it? Twenty-five years?? It feels like maybe ten to me. I consider it to be one of the new ballparks, and it’s been around for a quarter of a century? I hate that shit, man. Everything’s moving at an accelerated clip now, and it’s super-scary. I feel like I could doze off in front of American Pickers one night, and jerk awake five years later. What the hell is going on?
Similarly, I have a Rhino Records calendar in my cubicle at work. Sprinkled throughout that thing are little notes about iconic albums being released x-number of years ago today. And it messes with my head, as well. A few days ago it said Pleased to Meet Me by The Replacements, one of my favorite records and a true landmark of my early, ridiculous life, was released THIRTY years ago. What the?! It takes me right up to the cusp of a panic attack.
And I start playing that game where I go back to some point where I was conscious and full of energy and hope — say 15 years old. That would’ve been 1978. So, roll it back THIRTY years from there, and it’s 1948. A completely different world. Just compare those two years, 1948 and 1978. The entire culture changed — multiple times, probably. And it’s the exact same amount of time that’s passed since a favorite album of mine was released, which I remember like it was last Wednesday. Hell, I saw the band on that tour. It’s not like I was a little kid. It’s disturbing.
I try to be conscious of it, and not advertise the fact that I’m now a full-blown throwback to a different era. Oh, I’m not going to start listening to hip-hop, or carrying a skateboard around, or anything like that. But I do my best not to use outdated catchphrases (“…but I play one on TV,” for instance, or “Lighten up, Francis.”). Despite my attempts though, I’m sure the younger folks at my job view me as a walkin’, talkin’ dinosaur. And that doesn’t make me happy. Ya know?
Indeed, back to the baseball stadiums as they used to be called… now ballparks. Here are the ones I’ve visited:
Fenway Park, Boston
Progressive Field, Cleveland
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta
Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati
Veteran’s Stadium, Philadelphia
Candlestick Park, San Francisco
Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh
Yankee Stadium, New York
More than half of them don’t even exist anymore. They’re just pages out of a history book at this point. I might as well be talking about Ebbets Field, or the freaking Polo Grounds. Sheesh. Maybe I’ll pull on a pair of knickers and chase a hoop down the street with a stick?
What makes you feel old? And does it bother you? I don’t want to be one of those codgers stuck in a different era, but I don’t really care all that much what people think of me. What bothers me is that time is running out. Five years go by so fast at this point, I’ll be a genuine cannot-deny-it old man soon. That bothers me. I’ve still got stuff to do.
If you have anything on this subject, please share in the comments.
And I’m going back to work now, and that horrible calendar. Good stuff.
I’ll see you guys again on Monday!