Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Straight, No Chaser
2008-06-10 09:59
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

New York Sun columnist Tim Marchman is interviewed by Maury Brown:

Marchman: The Yankees are entertaining as usual; this is a transition year for them and I'm mainly surprised that they seem to be sticking with the idea of developing the young talent while trying to squeeze a last run out of the older players, rather than visibly panicking. I do have the sense that Hank Steinbrenner could become a really serious problem for them, just because you never want an owner expressing opinions on which players should be in the rotation or the lineup, especially when those opinions are different from those of people with actual professional qualifications, but for right now he's a harmless diversion. The Yankees may not be good, but there's never any sense of abject hopelessness about them, and that puts them up on the Mets.

...Bizball: We're about to see the end of two very different stadiums in New York in Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium. As they get ready to dance off into the sunset, what are your thoughts on the two?

Marchman: I'm utterly appalled by both of them. Yankee Stadium is on the merits one of the worst places in the country to watch a ballgame, and there's really little that's more hilarious in baseball than the pretense that this giant concrete bowl is some magnificent cathedral and monument to the glories of the game. It just drips with pompousness and fake old-timiness, and I won't miss it at all. Shea Stadium has immense sentimental value to me, but while I consider the giant neon ballplayer on the side, the apple in the hat, the swamp gas rising from the field and so on to be really charming, in essence it's the physical representation of the whole failed idea of Queens as the locus of the future and as such is somewhat depressing. Mainly I think it's too bad that the new Yankees park is displacing public parks, that the Mets park is displacing the really vibrant chop shop district at Willets Point, and that both seem to be simultaneously titanic monuments to a really bombastic idea of New York and utterly divorced from the life of the city. At least one of them should have been built in Brooklyn.

2008-06-10 10:19:09
1.   Raf
One could only imagine what kind of position the Yanks would be in now if they had never renovated the Stadium in the '70s. Does anyone think that it would've been like Fenway, but bigger?

And there's nowhere in Bk to build a stadium, unless you want to go deep into Bk (Flatlands area), and I can't quite see certain people heading there :). Not to mention how crazy traffic would've been.

2008-06-10 10:46:15
2.   Shaun P
I like Marchman. He's a sharp writer who isn't afraid to offer his opinions, and supports them well. I'm a little surprised to find out he's younger than I am (just 29!).

My favorite line was near the end of the interview, when he talks about the current state of baseball writing, compared to the past.

2008-06-10 10:46:20
3.   Sliced Bread
I generally like Marchman's work, but after reading this interview, I don't think I'd enjoy watching a ballgame with him, what with him being "utterly appalled" by his surroundings, and all. Sheesh.

Yankee Stadium "drips with pompousness and fake old-timiness?" Yeah, Tim, that Cotton Eyed Joe, YMCA, and jumbo-tron subway race sure do reek of fake old-timey pomposity.

What's he referring to? Kate Smith? The monuments? These are reasons to be "utterly appalled" by a ballpark? Lighten up, Marchman.

2008-06-10 10:48:14
4.   Ace Rothstein
i dont think yankee stadium has a fake old timiness to it, it just looks like a 1970's renovation...which is what it is. Is it still the "old cathedral" Reminds me of this classic philosophical debate - a crew of sailors constantly sails their ship - as each plank rots they replace it with a new one, until every original piece of the boat has been replaced - so the question is - is it the same boat?

I think since yankee stadium does not have the same aesthetic as its original version - it is not really the same stadium. Same general area sure, but not the same building. And though its true that these amazing moments in baseball history occurred within the confines of its walls - I feel like the whole cathedral thing is a stretch...not a complete falsehood...but a schmaltzy stretch. Its sooo shocking that the yankees and MLB would pursue commercial aims.

and Raf is right about BK, where would you put it, rather - what low-income neighborhood would you destroy in order to build it...the 2 lane Jackie robinson pkwy def needs more action though.

2008-06-10 11:06:54
5.   horace-clarke-era
Leaving the stadium discussion aside (everyone has different taste in buildings) I have to say I think Marchman is a smart guy since he said pretty much what I did here yesterday in his opening sentence. :)

Sign him up!

2008-06-10 11:41:55
6.   dianagramr
I agree with Sliced on this one.

What a buffoon!

I think Maury should have interviewed Alex instead!

2008-06-10 12:14:52
7.   AbbyNormal821
1 True dat - makes you wonder if Marchman has ever experienced traffic on the Belt Parkway on ANY given Sunday afternoon - what a hellish nightmare!
2008-06-10 13:28:53
8.   Jeb
Marchman just sounds like a Mets fan who's happy to diss the Yankees. I saw my first game at Yankee Stadium in 2006 and it was the greatest park I've ever been in. I love the stuff going on outside the park before gametime (all the Stan's stores), monument park, the Frieze, etc. I've caught games in Camden Yards, Jacobs Field, Turner Field, Memorial Stadium, Fulton County Stadium, and the New Comiskey and Yankee Stadium is the best of the bunch.

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