Saturday, April 28, 2012

Out of Left Field

This week, the announcement came out that 870 000 photos of New York would be available to view online by people like you and me.  And once it was announced... boom!

Due to overwhelming demand, the New York City Municipal Archives Online Gallery is unavailable at present. Maintenance activities are underway to address this issue.

Proof that everyone loves New York.  Did I mention that the photos date all the way back to the 1800's?  Here is a link to see just a few of the photos.

I've never been to New York, but I love old photos.  Look at this one.  I love seeing that bridge being built.  The men building it would have no idea how amazing it is, would they?  That bridge is 104 years old!  And we can see it being built!  Amazing.

Earlier this week, I came across this article.  It basically says that there are 2 stories about 2 different baseball stadiums in America; the Shrine of Fenway Park in Boston and the abandoned field of Tiger Stadium in Detroit.  It is interesting to contrast the value put on both historical landmarks.  I understand that Detroit has been struggling through things, but you can go out and play on Tiger Stadium right now.  In Boston, word has it that tickets are almost impossible to come by.  Both stadiums were built 100 years ago.  Both have had historical events take place over the years.  Yet, because of the way things are, they are not of equal value or significance.

Actually, it's very sad.  Why is it sad?  Because that bridge those guys built in New York is still useful, but that baseball stadium that people loved so much on Michigan and Trumbell is gone.  Gone for good.  It's dead.  And it's kind of a cool thing that if people work hard enough they can make such beloved places last for so long.  To see one of them get torn down is to see love die.  It's no wonder why Billy Beane tells us in Money Ball that, "It's hard not to feel romantic about baseball."

And here I am, being romantic with this photo:

Diamond Park in Edmonton, built in 1907

This photo was taken just down the hill from the Hotel MacDonald.  1500 ghosts fill the seats to watch their beloved Edmonton Eskimos.  You can almost smell the smoke swirling up from their cigars towards us.  Diamond Park, built in 1907, was in fact 5 years older than Fenway.  Diamond Park was one of Fenway's big brothers!  Unbelievable!  The other interesting fact here is that the baseball field still stands to this day.  Really.  The stands are gone, of course, but the site is still a baseball field.  Big Brother lives on!

When I was young I went to my fair share of Edmonton Trapper games.  In fact, the crowd sitting beneath the camera at Diamond Park is actually looking towards the direction of the site of what would eventually be John Ducey Park.  John Ducey Park (originally Renfrew Park) was built in 1935 and made it all the way up to 1995, around the time when I was eating peanuts in the seats.  

In '95 they built Telus Field where JDP used to be.  Telus Field is a cool place, it has it's own 'Green Monster' in center field that no one has yet to hit a home run over.  It's state of the art, it's right there, in the shadow of Big Brother and sitting on top of John Ducey Park's grave.  Not that I'm bitter or anything.  It's named after a corporation, it's baseball team plays in the Golden League, which had it's season cancelled because of a lack of interest.  So, at this very moment, there is no baseball in Edmonton.  Very lame.  Telus Field sits and waits.  

Even if the Edmonton Capitals get back to playing next season, the Golden League looks pretty lame.  It's not affiliated with any Major League teams, like the way The Trappers were.  I actually think I heard that The Capitals (dumb name) have try-outs every Spring whenever they actually play.  Seems like D League, as in not much is happening at Telus Field this decade.

What am I trying to say?  History is a funny thing.  It can lead you to strange places on the Internet where you end up staring into a grainy photo of what could be someone-you-know's great, great grandfather sitting down to enjoy a ball game.  

I hope they get that New York site up sometime soon.  I'm sure to spend hours looking into the images of New York, literally through the centuries.  What a weird and crazy world we live in.

Meanwhile, In Xining, another 1000 old-style apartments got torn down this week so they can put up safer and uglier apartment complexes

Oh, and Barbara is watching Midnight in Paris while I type.  Hemingway is making fun of Owen Wilson and I can't help but stop to feel sentimental.

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