Sam

Posts Tagged ‘american culture’

The Old Met

In Uncategorized on December 29, 2010 at 6:07 pm

The Metrodome has been in the news lately. The roof collapsed after a heavy snowfall in the Minneapolis-St Paul area earlier this month forcing the Vikings to move their remaining two home games to another venue. And I read today that hundreds of high school and college baseball games, as well as the Twins winter workouts, will have to be moved or subject to cancellation because the damage will not be repaired until March.

I have always regarded the Metrodome with particular disdain, one reason being that it displaced a venerable stadium in Metropolitan Stadium. Metropolitan Stadium was home to the Twins and Vikings for many years and the scene of some memorable Games including the 1965 All star game and World Series, as well countless Vikings playoff games. It was one of those picturesque stadiums of the 1960s, with grass and fences, as opposed to astro-turf and walls, a look which came to dominate stadiums in the mid-1970s and 1980s. For this reason, Metropolitan Stadium was always one of my favorite venues for the NBC Saturday Game Of The Week.

The great Vikings teams of the 60s and 70s were synonymous with Metropolitan stadium. When I think back to those teams I see the barren playing field, the snow piled up on the sidelines and Alan Page’s vaporized breath as he stands in the huddle.

I never understood why Metropolitan Stadium ceased to be good enough for the Twins and why the Vikings suddenly could no longer play in cold weather. By 1980 the stadium was in need of repairs but renovations -along the lines of the the old Yankee Stadium remodeling from 1973-1976 – could have been undertaken. Instead Metropolitan Stadium fell victim to the civic craze for domed sports and entertainment facilities.

I have often considered re-locating to Minneapolis. I am not sure Tokyo is right for me and California, my home state, is in crisis. In Minnesota I am sure I would find solid midwestern, American values, good schools and affordable home prices. The cold winters do not bother me. Were Metropolitan Stadium still in use I would be there in a heartbeat.

As long as the Metrodome stands, however, the move is on hold.

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Tiger Woods, paragon of hypocrisy.

In Uncategorized on April 5, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Well I see that Tiger has taken his first practice round at Augusta in preparation for the Masters which begins later this week.  As I speculated a few weeks ago, most people in the galleries this morning decided to ignore their inner moral compasses ( if they were not already broken) and cheer for Tiger.  I guess if you asked these people why they continue to support Tiger – whose extramarital sexual escapades make Eliot Spitzer and Mark Sanford look tame – they no doubt would say that he has taken responsiblity for his actions and is seeking treatment ( this is the standard apologia for moral transgressions that most American public figures resort to when they are caught with their pants down, so to speak)  And, of course, they would add that he is a great golfer.  Naturally, Tiger has admitted culpability.  That is what he had to do to salvage his career and the millions of dollars in endorsements from the corporate behemoths that have not already dropped him.  But is he genuinely remorseful ? I doubt it.  He appears just as arrogant now as ever and the message that his new goatee sends is that he still has a wild side ( an odd choice of self-expression for someone who has suffered a complete moral breakdown)   And all do all the fans in the gallery  this morning really think Tiger is going to remain faithful to his wife and spurn the legions of cheap women who want to hook up with him and sell their story to The National Enquirer ?  Probably not. But they cheered him anyway. I wonder what Arnold Palmer thinks of all of this ?

“The vulgarity of too-muchness”

In Pet Peeves on May 3, 2009 at 10:49 am

Was at the ballpark on Wednesday for a Giants – Padres matinee.  What a beautiful day for a ballgame. Weather was sunny and about 70 degrees as the Giants took the field. Although I used to prefer night games, I have really come to enjoy day games now . There is a guilty pleasure one gets watching a ballgame in the sun with a cold beer ( even if it is a $9.00 beer) while others are locked ( metaphorically) in their cubicles somewhere.  And easy for me to do these days since, like millions of Americans, I was laid off a couple of months ago.

We took the BART and walked to the park from the Embarcadero station. As usual we stopped by the Bayside Deli to pick up a sandwich. Beats paying $ 10.00 for a “gourmet” hot dog inside the stadium. Those hot dogs are as grotesque as a Reubenesque woman. The last time I had one it was so soggy – because of all the junk the concessionaire loaded on it – that I had to throw it away after a bite or two ( just like that $ 10.00 down the toilet. that is a beer and $1.00 in change mind you ! )

It being Earth Day, the Giants were giving out re-usable shopping bags to the first 20,000 fans.  It seems like every time you go to the ballpark these days you get something. Among the Giants promotional events this year are:

Star Trek night (I kid you not)
Singles night
Legal Professionals night (these are bascially the only people who can still afford to go to a game )
LGBT night ( I don’t think this would go over well at Crosley Field )
Indian Heritage night
Irish Heritage night
Chinese Heritage night
Jewish Heritage night

and the list goes on and on and on.

Thinking about all this,  I am reminded of a remark the art critic Sir Kenneth Clark made about a painting by an old Dutch master Pieter de Hooch.  De Hooch’s style had changed over the years and his later paintings were much more “opulent” in their detail according to Clark who referred to this aesthetic as “the vulgarity of too muchness.” In another essay,  Clark wrote that splendour is dehumanizing, and a certain sense of limitation seems to be a condition of what we call good taste. In other words what the Giants and probably most of the other MLB teams are doing by giving away all this junk – and that is all it really is – is not in good taste.

Contrast this to the “old days” when teams had just a few promotions a year . With the Giants it was Bat Day, Ball Day, Cap Day, Helmet Day, T-Shirt Day and Fan Appreciation Day, usually the last home game of the year. Five promotional days a year and that was it. When you got your pocket schedule from the gas station at the beginning of the year , the first thing you did was to look to see when bat day was. Of course, they no longer have Bat Day. It is now “Kids Bat and Ball Set Day.”  And as you can guess from this description, you no longer get a real Hillerich and Bradsby signature model just  a cheap wiffle ball set.  

But in the meantime the cost of beer goes up. Go figure…