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!
Now playing in the bunker
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I’m a college teacher and every year Beloit Colleges comes out with a “mindset list of the cultural touchpoints” of incoming freshman. Each year of that list makes me feel older and older. Sigh.
The 2002 list is the oldest on the authors website, even that one makes me feel old.
Wow, this is a horrible list. It assumes that these students have never talked with their parents or grandparents, have never read a book, much less a history book, and entirely lack the essential defining human attribute of curiosity.
I was born well after WWII, and by the time I was grade school age, much less college age, I knew the essentials of that war, the music the troops and civilians at home listened to, the general political themes of the time (the beginning of the cold war, mostly), and many of the significant cultural memes (e.g., sailor kissing woman in New York). And I was a bright enough lad, but nobody accused me of being precocious. There were lots of more culturally informed kids in the neighborhood.
I get the point the nice professors are trying to make: that we become what we experience, but I’d be willing to bet that statements like “they don’t know what a record is” and “they think stamps have always cost 32 cents” is exactly the horseshit it sounds like. If they want to make fun of their incoming students’ lack of imagination, there is always hazing and the old bucket over the doorway trick.
I hope they teach more respectfully than they make lists.
When I was in the Army, we wore woodland pattern camouflage BDUs. Since then, they’ve gone through a few different camouflage designs, and now the old BDUs might as well be M*A*S*H style fatigues.
Hey, your math checks out on this: Korea was thirty-odd years prior to BDUs. Old, old, old.
Joe T. says
“Up your nose with a rubber hose.” Always fresh sounding.
Radiohead recently announced a special 20th anniversary edition of OK Computer would be released. That was punch in the gut. I was a full-fledged adult when that album came out. It can’t possibly be 20 years old.
Oh God, I even just said “album.” There’s no hope.
OK Computer got me too. That “LP” was almost exactly the length of my commute when it came out, I listened to that far too many times while driving home too fast through the English countryside away from a job I didn’t enjoy.
A heart that’s full up like a landfill
A job that slowly kills you
Aside from my nieces being teenagers and having teen angst… and Michelle’s reminder that OK Computer is 20 years old and was my high school jam… I had one very specific reminder of how old I am this year. I have a friend in a medical program that requires clinical rotations… they can be anywhere in the state and change locations every couple of months. I’ve had a few of his program fellows stay in my pool house while they’ve been doing rotations in my area. I always ask them what they want their 4 digit code to be so they can unlock doors to the back yard and front door of the pool house through the smart home and one of them said to make his code 1993. I sat for a second and asked, “Is that your fucking birth year?” to which he replied with a laugh, “Yeah!” I told him, “1993 it is… and fuck you Doogie Howser!”
He had no idea who Doogie Howser was.
Well, *I* thought it was funny.
Time generally messes with my head and I don’t like to think about it too much but just heard today that the iPhone is 10 years old. Seems like just yesterday when I would having an argument at one of my favorite bars about the death of the flip phone. Turns out I was right. Which also means my kids don’t remember anything prior to smartphones. Which is another level of depression.
But on a much bigger canvas I read in some click-bait headline that Cleopatra lived closer in time to us then she did to the people who built the pyramids. That piece of information twists my brain cells in a knot.
This made me feel old. A young guitar player was playing an acoustic semi-classical piece and I said it reminded me of a song by ELP called The Sage, and that I thought he played like Greg Lake. He said, “who?”
Phil Jett says
Ah, Pictures at an Exhibition.
I keep getting mail from my high school graduating class(’77) about the upcoming 40th yr. Reunion. WTF? How can I have graduated from high school 40 yrs ago?!?!
And to make it sound worse, my high school no longer exists. They knocked it down in the early ’90’s when the hospital next door wanted to expand.
Old AF here……
How about if they’re tearing down a ballpark you went to on its Opening Day so they can build a newer, better one?
My ballpark list and yours don’t overlap except when it comes to about the same number that are no longer with us.
Arlington Stadium (Rangers) + soon to be replaced The Ballpark in Arlington (Globe Life)
Astrodome + Minute Maid
My Mother has been dead for 31 years, my brother for 44. Neither of them ever saw a computer or a cell phone. My high school graduation was 51 years go. So many have passed away, and the ones left, I don’t recognize, they all got old. My “baby girl” is now 36 and has a 15 year old daughter and a 10 year old son. Don’t know where the time went, it seems that all of a sudden I got old too. I’m now two years away from 70, the age of my husband when he passed away three years ago. Not the way I planned my life. Don’t think I would want to re-live my life, but there are some things I wish I had done, or done better. People I should have ignored, places I wish I had gone, things I never should have done, and those that I should have. I didn’t plan on getting old, but it happened anyway.
Eloquent. . . I’d only add that while there is life there’s laughter.
If I didn’t laugh, I wouldn’t have made it this far.
Just to be clear, I wasn’t being patronizing. We’re the same age. Just about the time I ran out of shit to laugh about, the Lord delivered unto us the Tweeter. IF God didn’t have a sense of humor, She wouldn’t have helped the Ruskies let us in on the cosmic joke.
Jeff, as usual, is right. I just can’t hep mysef.
My favorite “Book ’em, Danno!”
I literally had to explain to someone at work how to mail something….
Also… I had 2 dollars coming back to me after I pumped gas and when I told the girl “I want my 2 dollars” she had no clue….
Didn’t ask for a dime.
I’ve been to two baseball games in Seattle, both stadiums are closed. At Candlestick Park and Shea Stadium. That will always make you feel aged. Also saw Big Bother and the Holding Company and many other “dead” groups. Don’t worry that many things show your “experience”.
How about this? The somewhat corny song by Chicago “Old Days” talked about Howdy Doody and other nostalgic stuff from 20-25 years before the song was written. Now it blows my mind when I do the math and realize that the song “Old Days” is FORTY-THREE goddamned years old!
Phil Jett says
My first concert as a teen was Genesis on November 25th 1974 at the Music Hall in Cleveland over 42 years ago. If I make it another 42 it will be 2059!
you were 15 in 78! get the fuck off my lawn and take those other kids with you.
One of the technicians at work asked me what year I graduated from high school. I told him and he said, “man, that’s the year I was born.”
Playing a pub quiz trivia game last night with some friends and their grown daughter, one of the questions was “what was Son of Sam’s real name?” We all knew that, and the daughter says “how does anybody know this stuff?” Well, because we remember it. Same with the question about the Vietnamese new year.
The time I heard Jean Shepherd on the “old time radio” program aired locally here. I used to listen to him on WOR when I was in 7th grade.
I am fully licensed and legal to operate, maintain and repair broadcast transmitters. I am completely unqualified to do so, since I haven’t seen one since the 1980s. No digital back then. In fact, the transmitter I’m thinking of used a vacuum tube the size of a dog’s head.
One of my favorite albums ever, Remain In Light by Talking Heads, came out 37 years ago. 37 prior to that, WWII was in full swing; my dad was 18 years old and a Navy cook.
The Summer of Love was fifty years ago; I was 19. Whoa!
If you’re going to San Francisco
Be sure to jam some flowers in your walker
In the streets of San Francisco
Smoke some dope and take a beta blocker
When the time comes for a walker, I’m getting one with a basket for my wine bottle.
Things that make me feel old:
When people were using the word “Sick” to describe something good. I thought they were actually sick.
Trying to talk to someone and then realizing they have those earbud things in their ears. People walk around with those? I would never do that.
The new trend to get piercings stuck in your arm, cleavage, forehead, etc. I don’t get it.
I’ve been to Three Rivers twice – both times for Pirate games.
I hate those signs in gas stations. “If you were born after this date you cannot buy tobacco products (or alcohol, or whatever). I’m always thinking, “No fucking way someone born in the 1990s can buy beer!” Then I get irate and animated and the police show up. But the police usually let the “crazy but harmless old man” off with a warning.
I once saw an old fellow cussing out the kid behind the counter at a Sheetz in PA. He wanted a hot dog – and did not want to learn how to use “a god damn machine” to order one.
I hear McDonalds now uses a machine to take your order… I never considered myself anti-tech, but that crossed the line. I better stick to the drive thru…
My favorite is seeing that sign and realizing that was the year my divorce became final.
I am looking at the plus side here. I can easily count on one hand the number of years that I intend to be employed.
Agreed Jack…I’m looking at 2-3. Been at this same job for almost 40 years (yeah, the SAME job) so needless to say there are a whole buttload of young kids who’s parents were barely born when I started. So hard to not be the old guy that I stopped trying. I tell myself it’s quite the accomplishment to still be consuming air.
Old Yankee Stadium
New Yankee Stadium
Almost forgot my ballpark list. It’s short:
. Shea Stadium
. Yankee Stadium *
. Wrigley Field
. Nationals Park
* Yankee Stadium retains its name after each rebuild. Last time I was there was in the early 1970s, so it may have been rebuilt once or twice since then.
The Divine Miss E says
When albums I listened to over and over in school started turning 20, I started to feel it. When I realized I had a shirt that was 15 years old, I felt it. But the oldest I’ve ever felt was explaining dial-up to some of my coworkers, because they had never used it. Ugh.
Just FYI for Reporters: The podcast Jeff is referring to is called 99% Invisible. About two years ago, it was one of the best, most innovative podcasts in the podworld, revealing underlying design elements behind fairly common objects, large and small. I subscribed to it shortly after it started releasing episodes, and found it to be provocative, smart, and well produced.
Sadly, it foundered moving from Stage 1 to Stage 2 in the HBR/IBM business growth model. They actually got TOO MUCH capital, got fancy, and started buying/absorbing other podcasts. Instead of being a little weekly podcast that changed the perception of design one ear at a time, they focused on fundraising and rebroadcasts and lost their subtlety, which is not unlike losing virginity in the sense that it’s damn hard to reclaim.
Podcasting is starting to get sophisticated to the detriment of podcast subscribers and at the cost of genuinely surprising quality content. Check out early eps of 99 percent (if they aren’t behind a paywall), or The Fogelnest Files, or even How Was Your Week?. Like the early days of radio, with no standard format, the early adopters were making their way with frequently entertaining style.
As the great Gary Shandling said, “Any entertainment medium that stops changing, evolving, and laughing at itself will eventually produce “The Ropers”.
I miss the early days, and maybe that’s because I’m old. Finally bumped into the QOD.
I guess I better look at our local baseball park a little differently.
Two things that gave me the ‘I’m getting old’ feeling was when our student employees one year suddenly started calling me Sir. Never before have I been referred to as ‘Sir’…
Another incident with someone, I made mention of Archie Bunker… and was met with a genuinely quisical, Who?
I went to a Beach Boys concert at one of the local casinos. Mike Love was the only one left standing from the original group. Hearing him sing “In my room” made me feel old…it sort of creeped me out at the same time.
Brian Wilson is still technically standing, but apparently isn’t a joy to work with. In my little world, the guy who composed “God Only Knows” gets a pass to stand any way he wants, but I don’t have to work with him. This is the Brian Wilson Band from 15 years ago . . .
On the subject of feeling old I must declare “Today is my birthday and I feel old”. To celebrate I’m making the fambly ride the Swamp Fox. Got my daughter registered into the University of Tennessee last week. She also won a spot with the marching band!! If you happen to see the UT marching band look for a Oompa Loompa playing the piccolo and that would be mine.
Hey, Reva, happy birthday. And pass my best wishes along to Colonel Marion when you see him. Actually, he made one-star General, but died anyway — at age 63, which is younger than yesterday as the Byrds might say, and certainly younger than me.
Hope your celebration is up and down.
best wishes . . .
Happy belated birthday. Hope you had a fun day.
Im still having a hard time believing its been 45 to fifty years since I attended so many Charleston Charlies games. Used to be a knothole gang member. Saw John Candelaria rise, as well as Richie Zisk. Saw Steve Blass self destruct.
Shea stadium demolished for citi field. Somebody hold me.
I was,wearing a 1993 Keith Richards concert t shirt and realized it was older than about half of my co-workers.
Philip Rims says
Ballpark short list: Connie Mack, Veterans Stadium.
Connie Mack was born during the Civil War, broke into baseball in 1886 with the Washington Nationals, and was still coaching the Philadelphia Athletics the year I was born. He continued to own the Athletics until I was five years old, when I was watching the Saturday Game of the Week with my grandfather.
I’m not saying I fought in the War Between the States: just that there is a human continuum that manages to make me feel very, very old.
Jerry in WV says
I know what you mean about the human continuum. I was born in 1963. My father, a WWII vet, was born in 1917. One hundred years ago! His father was born in 1880 an died in 1932. His father was born in 1847 and fought in the civil war. I only have to go back to my great grandfather to get to the War between the States. People have a hard time believing me when I tell them this.
Don’t feel old one bit. Hit 64 on Friday 6/23, sitting at the F’n J, I-15 Ogden, Utah fresh from a run from Kent, WA. Headed to Vegas on Sunday (today). Then I’m on to Reno, then Fresno and then off to Fort Worth. Peddle down, pushing my truck and all 18 wheels over mountains and hills, across desserts and the flat lands. My past comforts me knowing I did my dream as a trumpet player. I miss Harriette (poop-doggie-dog) immensely everyday but other than that…. I feel half my calendar clicks. “You are every age you have ever been”…. I will stay 32. Nothing bothers me. Stupid shit and shitty people will be in my rear view mirrors as I motor on.
Fenway Park (twice)
Old Comiskey Park
Old Kingdome (Seattle)
Great American (Cincy) – great park, every seat a great seat.
Just so happens Harry Potter turns 20 today:
That’s messed up.