Right now, they're tearing down Yankee Stadium.
As we watch the Yankees play in Atlanta, where so many memories from that October in 1996 still reverberate, forming part of our conscience as turn-of-the-millennium Yankees fans, up here, amidst the rain and the unseasonable chill, they are tearing down Yankee Stadium.
When you walk past it, on your way to the new park, do you acknowledge it? Do you notice it? Do you remember it?
Or does it just stand there, like that relative you only think about when you go to the funeral?
It's still standing, sure, but it's a wounded animal. Eviscerated. Crying out to be saved, but with no one who seems to notice.
We marvel at the new, because in an era of iPods, iPhones, Blackberries and WiFi, we are taught that only the new is good. Only the new is worth saving, only new is worth fighting for.
We forget the past.
In the age of Obama and hybird cars, could you, young fan, show your elders the site of the Polo Grounds? Ebbets Field?
These places exist only in our memories. Is it enough?
Go ask a Dodgers fan that remembers the team's Brooklyn days. Go to Brooklyn, to the Ebbets Field/Jackie Robinson Apartments. Tell me you think it's the same.
Tell me you feel like you're on the field in 1947 when Jackie Robinson integrates baseball.
Tell me you feel like you're on the field in 1955, that one, magical next year for Brooklynites.
I know, I know, we're Yankee fans, with our own tradition, and our own history and not Dodger fans, but think about it.
If the Dodgers lost all this when Ebbets Field went down, what will we lose?
We don't have one magical season.
We have twenty-six of them.
We have the Babe and Lou (and Sweet Lou) and Joltin' Joe and Yogi and the Mick and Reggie and Donnie Baseball and Jeet, and so much more.
We have the called shot, the pope(s), the New York Football Giants, Bob Sheppard, and the healing of a broken city in 2001.
We celebrated the Stadium last year. We celebrated the memories and we said our good-byes, joyously celebrating the All Star Game in July and the final game in September, even if the sadness of a lost October was somewhere in the air.
The celebration has ended now, and the old Stadium has shifted into the shadows.
It will be gone before we blink, and only then will we shake our heads and say "what a shame."
This is our reality.
This is the price we are chosing to pay so that our team can be newer and better, like all of the other gadgets we own—so very 21st-century.
We'll get so wrapped up in the now, in the present, in the future that we'll forget the past.
We'll forget the legacy that is our one responsibility to save.
We'll forget to mourn while we still can, and only, when our grandkids ask us, "what was it like, the original Yankee Stadium?" will we answer: "It was home."
"A home," we'll continue, "that we should have saved."