Monday, September 22

Celebrate Good times? Come on.

It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.

1. Lost amid the hubbub of the Yankee Stadium closing is the news that the Red Sox will clinch their fifth playoff birth in six years tonight. Jose is excited about this because it means an insane celebration that will make Jose love this team.

But what if that doesn’t happen?

What if this group is so much more professional and serious than teams past that they refuse to cut loose? Millar is gone, Manny is gone, Pedro is gone, Damon is gone. Hell, we’re down to one Jew, so seeing anyone dance the Hora is unlikely. (Note: Who would lift the chairs?) All that we have no is Papelbon who, in fairness, may be crazy enough to compensate for all of them. But one lunatic does not an asylum make. Jose’s fear is that Papelbon will, like last year, celebrate by stripping down to his jockstrap, but that Sean Casey will quickly hand him a towel and tell him “Put on some God damn pants and quick making an ass of yourself.”

Will DJ Dru just celebrate with an understated fist pump? Will Mike Lowell party with a glass of chilled Chablis? Perhaps Dice and Oki will do nothing more than offer a simple bow. Maybe Mark Kotsay will do…well, whatever it is that Mark Kotsay does.

Frankly, Jose is worried. This is not the gang of idiots, so perhaps they need a more structured way to celebrate. So Jose will step in and offer a suggestion for a fun yet responsible way to celebrate.

Here’s what Jose has come up with: An arcade party at the Dream Machine in the Watertown Mall followed by pizza at Papa Gino’s. Jose knows this may sound like it lacks in drama, but trust him, it’s super fun. Jose did this for his birthday like five years. For an hour you can play all the video games you want for free. Like Curt Euro isn’t going to be in to that? Also, as a plus, there’s an Old Country Buffet there, so Mike Timlin will be good. On the down side, it seems absolutely possible that DJ Dru could injure himself playing skee ball.

2. Yankee Stadium is not the only New York institution to fold this week. The musical Rent also left Broadway after a 12-year run. Despite the fact that the 5,124 performances of Rent, greatly exceeds the number of games played since this Yankee Stadium finished construction in 1976, the close of Rent has not gotten nearly the same press attention. Thus, Jose presents a list of reasons why the closing of Rent is more important than the closing of Yankee Stadium.
  • Rent is not being replaced with a new, $1.3 billion publicly funded musical.
  • Rent only made Jose want to slit his wrists on one occasion in 1999. Events in Yankee Stadium made Jose want to slit his wrists annually from 1995-2003.
  • While Rent includes many long annoying songs, it has never featured a 45-minute rendition of God Bless America.
  • Amazingly, far less slapping in Rent.
  • If a 12-year-old kid, had interrupted a performance of Rent, he would not have been put on television and given really great seats to the next performance.
  • In Rent, the rich guys are the villains.
  • If the star of Rent’s vocal repertoire can barely reach one octave, he is not praised for his amazing range.
  • Even though Rent is a remake of an old opera called La Boheme, people don’t count performances of La Boheme in Rent’s run. Yet, people do count games at the old Yankee Stadium in the new Yankee Stadium’s run.
  • Rent addresses many adult and disturbing issues, but nothing as disturbing or perverse as Wade Boggs on horseback.
3. They called it the House the Ruth Built, even though George Hermann Ruth never played in the iteration of Yankee Stadium that closed last night.

Still, there is a certain appropriateness to the appellation. The big, ugly concrete bowl does look like something that a fat alcoholic might have built. (Note: Actually, given that it was built by contractors in New York, it probably was built by a fat alcoholic.)

No, the architecture, the aesthetics were never what made Yankee Stadium great. What made it great, what allowed it to transcend its structural mediocrity, were the events that transpired there: A-Rod’s slap, Beckett’s gem, D battery night. There are probably some good things that happened to the Yankees there too, but they were so long ago that Jose can’t really remember them.

By contrast, Fenway Park, despite its innumerable flaws, is remarkable for what it is, an uncomfortable yet quirky gem. If Fenway is the Eiffel Tower, an elegant proof of its own importance, Yankee Stadium is Tokyo Tower, a gaudy affront to elegance made important only by its own self-importance. If Fenway is a Pollock painting, discordant yet somehow lovely, Yankee Stadium is a work by Thomas Kinkade “Painter of Light,” widely liked while completely lacking in merit.

It will be easy for critics to say that Jose is just bashing New York, and that is certainly the case. But, Jose would say the same thing about the Boston Garden. It was a dump that was important for what happened there, not for what it was. In that regard, perhaps Yankee Stadium is more like the 99 Restaurant in Charlestown. It’s not famous because it’s beautiful or interesting but because some bad, bad stuff went down there.

I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE GAME.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Regrettably, I think the Dream Machine at the Watertown Mall is now a year-round Halloween store.

Even worse, I'm pretty sure the Old Country Buffet survives.