Hard as it still is to believe, the new Yankee Stadium is heading toward the close of its second season. Though I can’t say I love it, I think I’ve come to terms with its existence. The old ballpark next door is now gone, having given way to construction fencing, so there’s no longer a specter looming ominously over the new joint. Still, it's that rough-and-ugly, 1970s-era edition of the House that Ruth Built that will always be my Yankee Stadium. The late architect Philip Johnson, subject of my next book, liked to talk about architectural "procession," and how important it was for a building to unfold dramatically. Yankee Stadium was a great lesson in this idea: to walk up one of its tunnels to see the emerald field revealed below was stirring every time, and for a big game it was electric, tangibly so when it shook a bit with the cheering crowd.
Baseball, of course, lives on the memories it inspires, and that place has left more that its share. As a tribute to it, last year Alex Belth published a series of the reminiscences of the old park on the Banter. My contribution, about life in the bleachers in the 1980s is here. Now, Alex has collected all the pieces he commissioned, and added many more for a new book, Lasting Yankee Stadium Memories, out next month. It’s got an intro by Yogi Berra (who else?), and pieces by Richard Ben Cramer, Jane Leavy, Kevin Baker, and countless others. A great project, and a worthy memorial to a great New York place. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy.