Save the trees

In Uncategorized on January 29, 2011 at 4:11 am

I saw in the MLB headlines today that the Twins have decided to remove the the 14 pine tress that grace the centerfield area at Target Field. The reason: batters complained that the trees provided a poor backdrop against which to hit. Joe Mauer was quoted as saying : “First year in the stadium and it was pretty bad.” Why this is “news” I have no idea. Maybe because it is February and we are in that odd week waiting for the Super Bowl when there is nothing else going on in the World of Sports. Nevertheless, I have plenty to say about this story.

First of all, I have always loved baseball parks with trees. Some of the classic ballparks in the annals of the game, Forbes Field, Crosley Field, Milwaukee County Stadium, Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Dodger Stadium, and in its early years even Candlestick Park had trees beyond the outfield fences. The trees in these ballparks lent a picturesque quality to the playing field and for that reason the ballpark was always a pleasant place to waste an afternoon, akin to spending a day at the neighborhood park. I suspect that the architects who designed the parks meant the landscape to reinforce this feeling of leisurely retreat. .As the small ballparks gave way to gargantuan, multi-purpose, cookie-cutter stadiums ( as the stadiums of the 1970s and 1980s came to be called) ballparks with trees were put on the endangered species list. A few teams, like the Twins, have sought to revive the aesthetic but as the news today shows we live in different times now. Trees no longer belong in a ballpark apparently.

I also thought it was interesting how Twins management was quick to accommodate Mauer and others by removing the trees. This is typical of the mentality of management nowadays, when every fickle demand of a highly-paid player is granted. Did players complain about this sort of thing thirty or forty years ago ? Of course. But parks were what they were and players accepted this, happy just te be playing in the majors I suspect.

Then again, what do you expect from Joe Mauer who grew up in Minneapolis in the shadow of the Metrodome, where trees never grew.


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