‘The wondrous strangeness of things’
A short news story, noteworthy only because it involved a spat between two New York sports teams, ignited my imagination today, because it united three of my passions: the Yankees, literature, and poking fun at the Mets for being a bushleague organization.
Here’s the story: PNC Field, the former Lackawanna County Stadium and home to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, is in need of renovations, so the SWB Yankees are in need of a temporary home for the 2012 season while their stadium gets repaired. A perfect location would be Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium, home of the Newark Bears. City and team officials were all about it; having the Yankees’ top minor league affiliate in town would attract many more fans than a season of Can-Am League baseball. And Newark is a part of the Yankees’ geographical base, so it would present an opportunity for fans priced out of the big league stadium to get a look at some still pretty good Yankees baseball.
Of course, Newark is also part of the Mets’ geographical base, so they were able to invoke territorial rights to veto the move. I suppose the Amazin’s weren’t interested in having two professional baseball teams in the tri-state that played better than them. Oh well. It would have been nice.
Should the AAA Yankees taken up residence on Broad Street, the Bears would have been forced to play all of their games on the road. I had a nagging feeling that I’d read the story of a displaced team of Newark ballplayers playing a season’s worth of road games before. And amazing but true, I had; in fact, I’d based the concluding chapter of my undergraduate thesis on it. The story is Philip Roth’s The Great American Novel. Here’s Wikipedia’s plot summary: “The Port Ruppert Mundys of New Jersey lease their stadium to the United States Department of War at the beginning of the 1943 season—to be used as a soldiers’ embarkation point—which forces the athletes to play as the league’s first permanent road team.” (There is, obviously, no such place as Port Ruppert. However, comma, remember that the original Newark Bears and the Negro League Newark Eagles played in Ruppert Stadium, named for the Bears’ owner, Jacob Ruppert.) Today’s Newark Bears could have become the real life Port Ruppert Mundys! I know you all probably didn’t write your theses about Philip Roth’s novels, but surely you can get excited about life almost imitating art!
This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 27th, 2011 at 10:32 pm and is filed under Reading and Writing, Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.