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Yankee Stadium: A First and Last Look

Perfect grace consists not in exterior ornamentation of the substance, but in the simple fitness of its form.

I Ching

All forms of great artistic expression are paradoxes at their core. Each work of art must have some sort of underlying unifying principle. To succeed, the elements of that artwork have to both connect with that underlying principle in order for the work to cohere, and at the same defy that principle in order for the work to surprise and delight. Jazz songs, for example, typically start off with a basic melody played straight, off of which the musicians will then improvise for the remainder of the song.

When I visit a new ballpark, I love to start out by finding a place where I can stand and absorb a panorama of the ballpark. What’s this park about? What’s the melody that holds this thing together? Often, this isn’t something you intellectualize–you just get an overall feeling of the place. Once, I’ve got that sense, I like to go around and photograph all the little elements of the park that surprise and delight me.

Last Sunday, I made my first and only lifetime visit to Yankee Stadium. My usual modus operandi was thrown off from the start, as I was informed by Cliff Corcoran that if I want to see Monument Park, I should go straight there as soon as the gates open, or I won’t get in to see it at all. So my first impression of Yankee Stadium was not a panorama, but a crowded throng of humanity being led by ushers with bullhorns up and down and around and through narrow, low-ceiling ramps and barricaded corridors in a 95-degree heat:

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver