The grass lining the outfield, the players on the field, and the cheering in the stands are no longer all that go into the spectacle of professional sport. While the stadium, jerseys, and food all continuously serve as essential parts of a fan’s experience, over the past few decades creaky fold-down seats have been traded in for leather armchairs; simple logos have been redesigned as ornate figures; and hot dogs have been replaced by California rolls. Are these modernizations ruining the game, or do they simply show a shift from the classical experience into the modern world of sport?
Old Yankee Stadium saw its final season in 2008 before the stadium on steroids was built next door. With gold accents, luxurious suites, and even a Victoria’s Secret Pink stand inside what overall resembles a Yankees-themed mall, the stadium has become as much of a spectacle as the game.
Monument Park held a special place in the old Yankee stadium, and the thought of demolishing the shrine to the Yankee greats seemed unfathomable — so it was packed up and moved to the new stadium instead. But in its transfer, Monument Park lost some of its magic. Any remaining historical significance can be found in the stories of the players behind the monuments rather than the museum behind the outfield wall. In order to create this ornate framing of the baseball field, some of the team’s history was lost.
Some people may enjoy the decadence surrounding today’s professional sports, providing a spectacle beyond just the game — but I’d prefer to avoid Magnolia cupcakes with Derek Jeter’s face painted into the fondant frosting, and instead sit in the bleachers with carnival soft-serve in a helmet cup and enjoy the game on the field.