Wednesday, August 24, 2005

National Monuments

Fans of the Boston Red Sox want their ballpark, Fenway Park, to be made a national historic landmark. The linked article shows the obvious immediate benefits - tax credits to help with renovation and expansion. However, leaving those considerations aside, the designation would make perfect sense.

Baseball is part of the spiritual heart of America. To read a collection of good baseball writing helps explain an awful lot about American culture - I would particularly recommend a collection of writings by Stephen Jay Gould called "Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville" for placing the role of baseball in New York's and America's culture.

More than that, millions and millions of Americans will have visited Fenway Park in the years since its creation. Memories of games there will live on long after the game has finished. And it is part of a dying breed - a ballpark that has existed for nearly a hundred years, and in many ways a far cry from the new super stadia springing up across America as we speak. Sport really is an essential part of the fabric of twentieth century history. I hope sincerely that the bureaucrats in charge of the decision make the right choice.