Texts in Conversation

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Texts in Conversation: How the New Yankee Stadium Reflects American Culture

Since the late 1800’s, Baseball and the United States have had significant cultural changes and had strongly influenced each other. In it’s early forms, Baseball was a sport that was sparingly played in the New York/New Jersey region of the U.S. In 1845, Teams such as the “New York Nine” and the “Knickerbocker Club” were already beginning to play organized games of baseball with the modern rules seen in today’s Major League Baseball games. Just like in early America, there were “colonies” of baseball clubs. These clubs each had their own interpretations of the rules and had their own teams. It was not until 1857 when the National Association of Base Ball Players was created. Almost like the early union of the United States, the sixteen baseball teams in the New York area joined together to form a united league. These early teams were a source of inspiration through the American Civil War, and as soldiers were dispersed throughout the country, so was the popularity of baseball. Baseball became popular not only because of the Civil War spread, but because anyone could play it. It didn’t matter how tall, fat, skinny, light, or dark you were, anyone was able to pick up a bat and hit a ball. Baseball became a perfect representation of how America was starting to become more diverse as a nation (Gerald Early). By 1883, the Polo Grounds were being used for baseball by the New York Giants, and later in 1912 by the New York Yankees. The popularity of the Polo Grounds increased dramatically once the New York Yankees franchise began having lucrative success. The Polo Grounds became an icon of America’s new pastime, baseball. It was the location of many famous baseball memories including the legendary Babe Ruth’s first home run as a New York Yankee. After being sold to Colonel Jacob Ruppert and Captain Tillinghast L'Hommedieu Huston, the Yankees found themselves in a wealthy situation. The new owners’ abundance of money allowed the team to purchase players such as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Later, in 1921, the Yankees fame and fortune brought them to the World Series to face the Giants who had agreed to share the Polo Grounds with the Yankees. Since tension had risen between the two teams because of the World Series, the Yankees rebelled like America did with England and moved across the Harlem River in 1923. There, they built the “then-new” Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. After a second consecutive World Series Championship, the fame being brought to the organization was incredible, and the Yankees became the first true dynasty in sports. Due to Babe Ruth’s myriad of home runs hit, the Yankee Stadium quickly became known as “the House that Ruth Built” (Yankees Century: 100). The emergence of this new stadium brought new excitement to the city and to the game of baseball itself. People began more interested in baseball because of the opportunity to root for a constantly winning team such as the Yankees. With the emergence of “murderer’s row” (arguably baseball’s best team ever) in 1927, ticket prices rang up, in response for the strong demand to watch the Yankees play at Yankee Stadium. The Yankee’s success was a constant norm until the 1960’s when their championships began to come too long and far apart. The demand for success was not being met, and the fans were becoming upset with the management of the team. The world of professional sports in America was gaining more and more popularity with the increasing coverage of television media, and the Yankees had to keep up with the fast-paced and impatient sports crowd.

With the American pursuit of happiness always being present and demanding in New York, the Yankees had to fulfill the demands of their fans. In 1973, George Steinbrenner purchased the franchise and renovated the stadium so that it seated more people, and provided a better view for all. This acquisition not only gave the franchise...
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