They say you shouldn’t dwell on the past, but with the Yankees on a spiraling losing streak (which I wrote about for the Banter last night), and the Mets organization re-enacting some kind of bizarre adult pro-sports version of Lord of the Flies, this seems like a good time to do just that. My friend Alex Belth, Bronx Banter founder, Yankee Blogfather, and walking talking social network, put together a pretty remarkable collection of essays about the old Stadium, and now they’re being published in pretty, shiny hardcover form: “Lasting Yankee Stadium Memories – Unforgettable Tales From the House That Ruth Built.” The project is dedicated to the memory of our Banter colleague Todd Drew, a great writer who passed away unexpectedly and much too soon in January of 2009; on the right, under Yankee Blogs, you can find a link to his old site Yankees for Justice.
Between remembering Todd, and the bittersweetness of dwelling on a beloved building that no longer exists, there’s some real sadness behind the project, but the book itself turns out to be more raucous wake than mournful memorial service. There’s all kinds of essays in here, by many very different personalities, but it has the air of a community coming together to swap stories and celebrate the good times (even the healthy number of contributors who, like most patriotic god-fearing Americans, hate the Yankees).
I have an essay in there, about Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS, and I’m happy with the way it came out. But more than that, it’s very cool to share a book with writers I’ve long admired like Richard Ben Cramer, Pete Hamill, Joe Posnanski, Jane Leavy, Tony Kornheiser, Rob Neyer, and Jeff Pearlman — and also with friends (who are also writers I admire) like Alex, Jay Jaffe, Cliff Corcoran, Diane Firstman, Jonah Keri and more. Furthermore Yogi Berra is credited with the introduction, making this sort of my third close brush with Yogi… although the first of those to involve the phrase “ball-licking asshole.” (My essay is a tad bit blue. But then, so was Yankee Stadium.)
I won’t do a proper review here I’m obviously biased, but I love having this book on my shelf.