I'm about to give you all of my money
And all I'm askin' in return, honey
Is to give me my profits
When you get home...
The Gospel according to Aretha -- to be disregarded at your own peril.
You are most likely to hear me talk about respect as it applies to how a ballpark interacts with the game. Certain parks have inherent respect for it, others are neutral or indifferent, still others actively disrespect it. (We could argue for days about which parks fit where, but probably all agree that the Metrodome falls squarely in the latter category.)
But two things in the past couple of days compel me to talk about respect for the game from beyond just the architecture:
"Why panic? If we don't do it, we'll come back next year and try again. If it doesn't happen, who cares? There's always next year. It's not the end of the world." -- Manny Ramirez
"I've been there 12 years and I didn't think motivation was needed." -- Joe Torre
Does Manny respect the game? At the plate, I believe he does. On the basepaths and in the outfield? Um, debatable.
But the quote above is simply not about whether or not he respects the game. It's also not about whether or not he wants to win, or whether or not he'll give 100% on the field (whatever Manny's 100% turns out to be).
That quote is about staying loose and remembering that life goes on, win or lose. Believe it or not, a quote like that tells me that Manny is in a place where winning is still a possibility because pressure and fear isn't choking the loose out of him. Can't win with no loose (especially if you're Manny).
My point is, don't mistake Manny's words for disrespect for the game. Actions will always speak louder than words.
Joe Torre seems like just about the classiest guy in the game. Joe Torre is the embodiment of respect for the game.
So what can we say about an organization which tosses him off (make no mistake: they knew he'd turn down that offer) with the vast success he's produced? Where would the YES Network be without 12 consecutive post-season appearances and four world championships? Where would that organization be without a master of ego-management at the helm?
In the Commonwealth of Steinbrenner, there's only one measure of success, and it's binary. Either you won it all or you lost it all. There is no, "we had a great season" unless it ends with "because we won the World Series." Believe it or not, my friends, that is a stance which actively disrespects the game.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not about to tell you that "it's how you played the game" or some BS like that. At any other level you can get away with that -- not in the majors. The majors are about winning. When you win, you make the big money. It's a business, and winning is a key part of the business plan. (For now, we'll set aside the mid-90s Twins philosophy of "lose profitably".)
But there's been a whole helluva lot of winning on Torre's watch, and he gets a whole helluva lot of credit for making it possible. He didn't win the games by himself, nor is he some master in-game wizard (Baseball Prospectus gets on him for unwise use of relief pitching), but he doesn't need to be. Managing the Yankees in the Nosebleed Payroll/Media Fishbowl Era is about something completely different.
And though I don't claim to know exactly what it is about, I think it's fair to say that Joe Torre is the master of it.
So, you just don't shit on somebody who's been one of the faces of your franchise for that long. You just don't shit on somebody who's done everything asked of him and more but fallen inches short of the goal. You just don't shit on somebody who has made it possible for you to make more money than your franchise could have dreamed of when he first stepped in.
Yeah, you wanted to win it all in 2007. Boo-hoo. Did you forget about the amazing run that got you into the play-offs this year? Did that happen by accident? Did you forget about the injuries and the failed experiments and the dumb bad luck (those darn gnats)?
Respecting the game means acknowledging that, while winning is your goal and it can't be compromised, not winning is not necessarily a failure to meet your goal. Assessing the factors that went into not-winning -- and being deadly honest about it -- is what GMs get paid for. Was Joe Torre one of the reasons for not winning?
That's what offends me most about the Yankees management's handling of this disgusting episode: Their offer implies that Torre wasn't really trying to win the World Series. Their incentive-stuffed package said that they openly doubted that he was sufficiently motivated to go for it all. They were saying, in essence, "We need you to step it up a notch."
Perhaps there are some managers about whom these may be fair criticisms, but not Joe Torre.
You respect the game when you go for it all. You respect the game when you compete at the highest level possible. You also respect the game when you upgrade personnel at all levels in order to win.
But you disrespect the game when you are unwilling to acknowledge the vast successes which have been achieved. You disrespect the game when you don't own your mistakes. You disrespect the game when greed and insanely competitive furor trample the people who do -- and do well -- the hard work.
Remember what I said earlier about loose? Here's a suggestion for the Steinbrenners: A little more loose wouldn't hurt your club. Let down your hair. It's just a game. It's just money. Life goes on. Have fun. Stop and admire your own homeruns once in a while (make sure they're really gone first). You know you want to.
Wait. Maybe patterning the New Yankees after Manny isn't such a good idea. But you know what I mean.
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
– Bernie Williams
Explore the Site
Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3033 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Click to see the full-size image.
Noah is checking out the ample leg room and truly exemplary sight lines.
Seat logos in place
Photo by Jared Wieseler
This is the plaza as viewed from the A ramp.
This looks toward the middle of the park. The third base side of the Legends Club is to the right up ahead, while the 573 Club is just barely visible at the end of the hallway. It extends to the left.
Anna keeps the riff raff under control.
From the roof of the B ramp, you can see just how futile it will be to get a glimpse of the action.
Trains now rumble regularly beneath the promenade.
The media had some beautiful foliage to use as a background.
Detail of the Puckett wall hanging
This is an angle I have not used very much, from the top of the Fifth Street ramp. Because the wall is so tall (forget about watching a game from here for free -- OK, maybe with a step stool) I have to hold the camera up over my head and just snap, hoping I get something good. Here I did. This view then looks to the southwest.
The outfield stands taking shape.
Night (about the 7th inning)
Lots of sun, but not much scoreboard from 127
The view down Sixth Street toward the ballpark site. A pedestrian bridge will extend this street right into the main entrance of the park. The regrettable facade of Target Center is on the left. Butler Square is on the right. Click on the image to see what it looked like on this very spot about 100 years ago.
Click to enlarge
A scene repeated about a BILLION times each game
I know these are giants bats with hops growing inside, but... Hmm...
One more exterior view shows that, while the original look was attractive in a way, it seems to be a variation on the look of the Washington ballpark (albeit with a much more coherent collection of elements). What's remarkable is that the design team has refined the concept amazingly well, improving it immeasurably. What we're actually getting is clearly descended from this, but it's in a whole different league:
The limestone theme is apparently carried to the area behind home plate. This will look great -- and distinctive -- on TV. But watch out for those foul balls!
Photo by Tom Sweeney, Star Tribune
Looking up Seventh Street to the west
Knothole non-view #1
Opening Day 2008 (By Currier & Ives)
Beams connecting the plaza to the Target Center walkway
I will take a picture of just about anything.
I believe that the truck is parked in one of the curb cutouts which are being installed to facilitate ticket sales and traffic calming.
A true fan out in the bleachers
This is a good overview of the spot where the Northstar (bottom) and LRT (top) will intersect.