Title: The Final Season: Fathers, Sons, and One Last Season in a Classic American Ballpark
Author: Tom Stanton
Image via Macmillan
In 1999, Tom Stanton set out to attend every single home game of the Detroit Tigers' final season at their longtime home, Tiger Stadium. It is, I must confess, just the sort of book I'd love to write. He writes of the building and its many quirks. He tells of the people who inhabit the park - not just players and coaches but grounds crew, vendors and lifelong fans such as himself. He weaves the story of his family through his tribute to the team they've followed through four generations. It's a blogging project, published before such a thing probably existed.
I haven't been to a lot of major league games in my life. In fact, I'm pretty sure the number is three, all in different stadiums: one at the old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, the much newer Camden Yards and Minneapolis's Metrodome. However, I have been to quite a lot of minor league games and generally prefer them. It's a far more transient world for players and coaches but the parks themselves feel very dependable.
Burlington's Centennial Field, first opened in 1906, is older than any major league park and it looks it. That said, it's a very pleasant place to watch a ball game. Nonetheless, the majors have declared that improvements must be made if Vermont is to continue to host Class A ball. The stadium has already lost college baseball. The University of Vermont discontinued its baseball program after the 2009 season. The field is still university property so a joint investment between the city and the school may be needed to renovate. If it doesn't happen, devotional tributes such as Stanton's may be necessary before long.
Meanwhile, the 2012 season is a go. Here's the schedule. Stanton's book has me chomping at the bit. Alas, June is a long way off.