Author: Paul Goldberger. Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, 2019.
With Father’s Day just around the corner, you might view Paul Goldberger’s new book, “Ballpark – Baseball in the American City,” as a well timed merchandising move, as well as a publishing event. But “Ballpark” is much more than another sports book aimed at the nostalgic male who yearns for the good old days of Ebbets Field in Brooklyn or Shibe Park in Philadelphia, and revels in the modern-day vestiges of that era at Fenway Park in Boston and Wrigley Field in Chicago. It is also a study in urbanism, using the history of the ballpark as an avenue to show the inner workings of American cities.
Authenticity in baseball, Goldberger writes, “should mean that each ballpark is a world unto itself, a place different from all the other places in which baseball is played: that all ballparks are not the same, and that the game played within them is therefore different in subtle ways from ballpark to ballpark.” The best ballparks, he adds, are the ones in which “the rural and the urban, the natural and the man-made, are in harmonic balance.”
Goldberger expresses the history of the ballpark in American cities through four phases, ones that urbanists will appreciate perhaps even more than baseball fans. “The ballpark is one of the greatest of all American building types, and it reveals as much about how we treat our cities today as it ever has in the past,” he writes.> Read More …