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Parks.

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There are no ghosts in baseball; only dopes and Yankees fans (the groups are not mutually exclusive) think there are.

Back maybe 15 years ago, I remember the Yanks stealing a couple of postseason games in the late innings, leading their fans and cheerleaders to crow about the “ghosts of Yankee Stadium” coming out to help push them to victory.

It was self-congratulatory crap like that, accumulated over the years, that pushed the mystique of baseball out of my favor. I still love to watch the game; I just don’t like to listen to the sentimental idiocy that so often accompanies it.

(If my team had a payroll like the Yankees’, I would want the guys on the field to take care of business all by themselves.)

Yankee Stadium and its ghosts are gone. The team plays in just another expensive new ballpark now.

I went looking on Google Earth, using historical images to find some of the old ballparks I used to patronize that have also been torn down.

Some of the images are ghostly — they look like someone’s last known photograph. But there are no ghosts there and no self-important folk tales.

Just some memories of warm sun, and cheap beer, and eager young guys playing doubleheaders in between long bus rides, and time well spent.

Silver Stadium

Silver Stadium in Rochester, N.Y., 1994, where I saw a bunch of Red Wings games and the Grateful Dead, and where my grandparents saw Billy Graham. I should probably retake this w/o the Google Earth artifacts, but no.

MacArthur

MacArthur Stadium in Syracuse, with its famously deep center field, also 1994. This would have been around the time I road-tripped there with a college buddy to drink Saranac and watch the Red Wings throw one away to the Chiefs in 10 innings. This spot is now a parking lot for the new stadium they built next door.

Veterans

The Google Earth label does not lie; this is indeed Veterans Stadium, former home of the Philadelphia Phillies, in 1992, a decade before I got there for the first time. I actually sort of liked it, dumpy though it was.

PNC Park

Lackawanna County Stadium, later PNC Field, Moosic, Pa., 2005. Built as a smaller semi-clone of Veterans Stadium, to accustom the Phillies’ top minor-leaguers to their future workplace. Then, doomed by the same retro design trend that banished symmetrical, Astroturfed stadia everywhere else. Rebuilt this past offseason to flush out all the ’70s/’80s influence.

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