Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wanted: One Bag of Magic Beans

Sunday afternoon the New York Giants played their final game in their eponymously named stadium in the Swamps of Jersey. The result in their final game was identical to that of their first game in October 1976 - they lost. The difference between the two games however was that in 1976, all of us who are Giants fans knew that the team stunk so we reasonably anticipated that they would lose their Stadium opener. They had after all invited an opponent to participate. In Aught-Nine those of us who root, root, root for the boys from Mara Tech were seduced by their 5-0 start into thinking that this year's edition of the G-Men did not stink. Judging by the smell arising from the playing surface on Sunday afternoon, construction crews either unearthed the long-lost remains of a certain labor leader ("Remember kids that there is no "I" in Teamster") or our collective expectation for the Giants was tragically unrealistic.

Beginning in '10, the Giants and their brothers from other mothers the Jets shall move across the parking lot at the Meadowlands Complex to a brand, spanking-new stadium. While the name of the new facility has yet to be determined, there is no truth to the rumor that the uber rich families who own the Giants (the Maras and the Tisches) and the Jets (the Johnsons) are wrestling over the following options, "We Know No One Needed It & No One Wanted It But We Are Rich So Shut The Hell Up" Park (a suggestion apparently given to them either by Fiona Apple or Soulwax) or my personal favorite, "F*ck Our Season Ticket Holders" Field".

For the past year the NJSEA (that is the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority for you acronym-phobes out there) has contrived what amounts to a farewell tour for Giants Stadium, reminiscing about all of the events that the venue has hosted and sharing some of the many stories it could tell. Perhaps it is just me. Perhaps the whole thing strikes me as a sham because I try not to think of myself as "old" at 42 rounding 3rd and steaming towards 43 and every event that Giants Stadium has hosted has not only occurred in my lifetime, it has occurred since my 9th birthday. Gerald Ford was President of the United States when the joint opened for crying out loud. How the hell can a building that is less than forty years old be obsolete?

The honest answer is that it cannot and it is not. Messrs. Mara, Tisch and Johnson are engaged in the time-honored practice of tycoons everywhere - the money grab. One would think that if Woody Johnson was short on pin money he could have goosed up the price of Q-Tips or Band-Aids or that "No More Tears" Baby Shampoo he has been hawking for years. It is not to be. Instead the Three Banditos have constructed a monument to themselves and in so doing have found a way to price some of their longest-standing season ticket holders right out of their shiny new building. Well done gentlemen, well done.

During the time that Giants Stadium has been nestled in our Jersey swamps I have been there too many times to count. We have had season tickets to the Giants since they moved across the river to the Jersey side in '76. I remember Dad swapping our two tickets for the Giants first game at the Stadium (against the Cowboys) for 4 tickets for Rutgers v. Princeton at Rutgers Stadium. He made the trade with his old pal and colleague John Chandler. If memory serves me correctly, Dad only made it "a trade" because Mr. C really wanted to go to the Giants opener at their new facility and would not simply take our tickets but rather insisted on a quid pro quo.

I had the opportunity throughout the Stadium's lifetime to be present for a number of memorable events, including but not limited to Giants games. While it would have been nice for the Giants to send the [not nearly] old [enough to be demolished] gal into oblivion with a rousing victory on Sunday afternoon, it is perhaps fitting that they were annihilated in their final game there. For at its end the Stadium was what it was at its beginning - a facility better than the team whose name it bears.

Step to the line Mister?

-AK

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