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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

"If you build it, they will come"

The Bronx Bombers finally are in their new home for the 2009 baseball season.

On April 16, the New York Yankees played their first home game at the new Yankee Stadium, marking the beginning of a new era in Yankees baseball.

Just as a person may feel a sense of loss when leaving a place that represents many cherished memories and experiences, Yankees fans may feel bittersweet about the move from their former home.

Like many New Yorkers, I had mixed feelings about the new ballpark.

When I first heard of the construction plans, I thought about the rich history of Yankee Stadium. The stadium has been home to legendary players like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and many other iconic figures in baseball.

The stadium has stood tall through the Great Depression, world wars and the falling of the Twin Towers in New York City. Even through these hardships, Yankee baseball has acted as a unifying agent - it has helped to build a sense of community amongst fans, even in a diverse city like New York.

Baseball is a staple in the lives of many New Yorkers, regardless of whether their preference is the Yankees or the Mets.

I was excited about the idea of having a state-of-the-art stadium for my favorite team in baseball yet hesitant because I knew I would be losing the stadium that hosted the games I watched and attended my entire life. I reminisced about all the games I enjoyed with my family and thought about how much I treasure those experiences.

I was, therefore, pleasantly surprised to learn that the dimensions of the new stadium would be identical to those of the old stadium structure; that the original home plate would be moved to the new stadium and that the statues of the baseball legends were to be transported to the new structure as well. There would, in fact, be many similarities to the old stadium with some modernized twists.

As the new stadium has its own Metro North stop, people will have an easier time getting to games and into the Bronx borough itself. Overall, the flow of tourists from the stadium will bring in revenue into the Bronx community as a whole.

The resistance that people may have towards the new construction is not necessarily a result of an attachment to the seats, crowded bathrooms or long lines. These feelings are likely a product of the memories people have had with loved ones and friends while watching games at the stadium, causing many fans, like me, to feel an attachment to the structure itself.

Looking back, I realize that the continuation of baseball games at Yankee Stadium after Sept. 11 made a statement to the world that New Yorkers could persevere, proceed and prosper.

Looking forward, I recognize the importance this sense of community can continue to have, especially at a time when there is such economic uncertainty. Those who criticize the new stadium should continue to speak out, but should channel that creativity and energy in offering suggestions for ways to improve the quality of life for Bronx residents and New Yorkers.

Regardless of the location of the ballpark, your own memories- as well as the memories of the past Yankee teams - will live on forever. The new stadium will be both a place to reminisce about the past while looking forward to the future.

Because after all, a "field of dreams" is just a field made up of grass and dirt, unless our dreams bring it to life.



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