He taps that.

Current temperature: 95 degrees. Relative humidity is a low — for this neighborhood, anyway — 28 percent. Which is not exactly a dry heat, but not the usual punishment, either. It’s a good test for whether you like warm weather.

I don’t like warm weather. Not this warm, anyway.

I really don’t understand why people move to Arizona. Isn’t there an easier, less expensive way to get skin cancer and die of heatstroke?

OK, so.

I know I give a lot of love to the NYT around here, but the place isn’t entirely all that. The Sunday Styles section is the paper’s true toy department; at least one story a week is laughingly stupid or brings the duh. This week there are two: One reveals the astounding news that young librarians tend to be hip, something I discovered in the sophisticated metropolis of Fort Wayne, Indiana…when? More than a decade ago, certainly, and maybe earlier. (And yes, Miss Beth, it was you who opened my eyes.) Oh well — we know NYT reporters get all their books free from Michiko Kakutani’s castoffs and don’t visit the humble regions of the local branch. Not that they haven’t done their research; they’ve watched lots of old movies:

Librarians? Aren’t they supposed to be bespectacled women with a love of classic books and a perpetual annoyance with talkative patrons — the ultimate humorless shushers?

Take it away, Connie.

But the real talker of the week was this, on Fred Thompson’s boobalicious trophy wife, and whether America is “ready” for a president with arm candy 24 years his junior. It’s Mrs. Thompson’s husband I’m not ready for, personally. I like to think the country has seen the hazard of electing an affable empty suit to the White House, but who knows?

Although if it leads to more New York Post leads like this, I might be swayed:

Gruff, graying Republican Fred Thompson has a proven track record of tapping into a younger generation – starting with his wife.

OK, then.

Tiger Stadium is doomed. Everyone knows this. It’s been doomed for a decade, but it’s double-secret probation doomed now. The Tigers have been playing in Comerica Park since 2000, the old temple is yet another crumbling ruin in a city full of them, and the time has come to git ‘er done. There have been plans over the years ranging from clearing it for a big box to the current one, the best (or most ambitious, at least) of the lot: Knock down all but a small portion of the entrance. Preserve the field for a Little League/amateur venue, the centerpiece of a park/history center. Most of the perimeter would be condo/mixed-use development. It’s not a done deal — there’s no developer willing to sign on the line — but a little momentum on the part of the city would help, and at this point “momentum” means “start swinging the wrecking ball.”

Well. This story has been Totally Detroit from the get-go, combining two of the city’s perennial roadblocks to success — race and nostalgia.

Exhibit A:

(The) city is moving to dismantle the stadium — with most of the structure to be razed next year. The council threw a monkey wrench into the plan this year when several members balked at the racial composition of the community committee created to advise the city on how to proceed, saying there were not enough minority members.

And Exhibit B:

“This doesn’t have to be torn down,” said Aaron Burton, 52, of South Lyon, who opposes demolition of the stadium. “There is plenty of other space in the area that can be developed. Keep the ballpark and use it.”

What an attitude. The follow-up question — Use it for what? — is rarely asked, or if asked, never answered with anything more than a shrug. I did a story on this last year, and was amazed by how many people seem to think the world clamors for old baseball stadiums, and is just waiting to get its mitts on one, so they can turn it into…”a minor-league park,” is the most common answer.

Yes, yes, a minor-league park. Because surely a city with four major-league professional sports competing for scarce dollars in a depressed economy, with two Big Ten colleges within a 90-minute drive, is clamoring for minor-league baseball. And lord knows how many teams would love to spend millions rehabbing a crumbing ruin with four or five times the seating they would require on the biggest day of the year. And surely the Tigers’ current owners won’t object to discount baseball being played a mile away from their home plate.

But…but…Babe Ruth played there! And Ty Cobb! And several World Series, and what about Ernie Harwell? Let’s keep it up another few years, at least, so we can think about it some more. Not do anything rash.

Boy, I’ll tell you, if there’s one thing living in the Rust Belt has taught me, it’s that nostalgia can be as corrosive as urban blight itself. The Yankees will be building a new park soon, if they aren’t already; excuse me, I don’t keep up with all these things. Ask New Yorkers what’s happening to the old place. In a place like New York, I doubt it will be there long.

OK, then.

Just checked the forecast. We were promised storms and a “slow cooling.” The sky is as clear as a baby’s complexion and the high will be…95!

Ugh. And so the week begins.

Posted at 7:41 am in Current events, Media, Popculch |

28 responses to “He taps that.”

  1. Cathy Dee said on July 9, 2007 at 8:39 am

    Good Lord Nancy. I just read this sentence:
    “I like to think the country has seen the hazard of electing an affable empty suit to the White House, but who knows?”
    and realized I was wondering…which one is she talking about?

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  2. Connie said on July 9, 2007 at 9:37 am

    Yes, I know we are all stuck forever with that librarian stereotype. All us old folks in the library biz have been hearing from the hip young folk that we are old fogies unwilling to go with the Library 2.0 flow.

    It’s been a long time since the shusshing days. Isn’t your local library quite a bit different than the one you remember from your childhood? I for one was terrified of those old ladies.

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  3. Connie said on July 9, 2007 at 9:39 am

    I have such great memories of those summer childhood trips to Tiger Stadium. Al Kaline, Micky Lolich, and Denny the pitcher, McLain? I had his SI cover on my bedroom wall. My uncle was a high up at GM and always got GM’s great 3rd baseline tickets for us all.

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  4. John said on July 9, 2007 at 9:41 am

    NY Yankees had a land swap with the city, new park was recreational open area, old stadium will be dropped (except monument area) and converted back to open recreational area. There is a webcam somewhere of the construction, but I can’t find it right now.

    However, remember the discussion about newspapers’ allowing anonymous comments? Well, check out this story and comments:

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  5. brian stouder said on July 9, 2007 at 9:47 am

    From a purely Fort Wayne perspective, this struck me as funny:

    Preserve the field for a Little League/amateur venue, the centerpiece of a park/history center. Most of the perimeter would be condo/mixed-use development.

    Since of course hereabouts we are avid to unceremoniously tear down our non-downtown, decade-old minor league* baseball stadium, and then build a new one downtown, surrounded by the inevitable “condo/mixed-use development”. (and the currently existing stadium will literally be replaced by a parking lot!)

    I was struck by the idea of creating a new history center in Detroit. If I was the mayor there, I’d grab the opportunity to take ownership of the history and legacy of the Underground Rail Road in a big new way, whether at that site or another …and if things must remain baseball-centric, then a splashy monument to the old Negro Leagues (mentioned by Danny a few days ago) – which has a rich history that deserves to be brightly enshrined. As an out-of-towner, I can honestly say that either thing would draw me there.

    On a totally unrelated note, did all y’all Apple apostles see how those guys had a snake in their tempting iPhone offering? Battery goes dead? – that’ll be $115 please…cha-ching!! Bill Gates at least (and unabashedly) rules in hell!!

    *if they had it to do over again – do you suppose the people who named the Minor Leagues the “Minor Leagues” could come up with something a little slicker? Why not the ‘Professional Leagues’? or the ‘Ascendant Leagues’? Why market yourself as the people who ain’t top-drawer?

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  6. nancy said on July 9, 2007 at 9:56 am

    Brian, the “history center” would be Tiger Stadium and baseball history, not general D-town history.

    I neglected to mention one of the more interesting aspects of the demolition — the stripping of the corpse for profit. The city plans to do what St. Louis did with the original Busch stadium, that is, sell off every last sign, seat, ticket booth and anything else that the history-drunk fans will pay for. I’ve seen several comments online from people who are drooling for one of the old-style trough urinals. Whether they plan to turn it into a birdbath or planter or just put in in the ManCave for amusement’s sake, they don’t say.

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  7. Connie said on July 9, 2007 at 10:13 am

    Actually that NYT article about “hip” librarians is not getting good press in the library world.

    Here’s a snip from Free Range Librarian: http://freerangelibrarian.com/

    To be cool is to be young and male?
    Thank you, New York Times, for reinforcing the status quo in this mortifying article about “hip” librarians. Not since Britannica rounded up a dozen-odd white guys and a chick to tell us how the Intertubes work have I felt quite so condescended to as this fatuous article peppered with its arch references to shushing, fancy cocktails, tattoos, and “guybrarians.”

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  8. LA mary said on July 9, 2007 at 10:32 am

    My ex mother in law was a shushy librarian.

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  9. brian stouder said on July 9, 2007 at 10:42 am

    I confess that the term “guybrarian” gave me my laugh of the day!

    And Mary – I wonder if the Food Network has a person in charge of their archives called the ‘sushi librarian’

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  10. Kirk said on July 9, 2007 at 10:50 am

    Actually, the original Busch Stadium was abandoned in 1966. The Cardinals are now playing in the third Busch Stadium.

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  11. nancy said on July 9, 2007 at 10:54 am

    Thank you, Mr. Baseball Encyclopedia. So the Cards are on their third stadium, while Detroit agonizes over the one built in 1912. You perhaps see why the Sun Belt is the go-go place it is.

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  12. LA mary said on July 9, 2007 at 11:07 am

    The lead from the Fred Thompson story is really good. I’m surprised the unfunny people at the NYT didn’t quash it.

    When I worked for Grace Lichtenstein in the Rocky Mountain Bureau, she had a story about the floods in Minot, ND. She wanted to start the story with “The Souris River has been giving Minot trouble for many years,” but someone on the national desk didn’t appreciate the Yiddish pun, Tsuris/Souris, and made her change it.

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  13. Kirk said on July 9, 2007 at 11:23 am

    Tiger Stadium was one of my favorites among ballparks I’ve been in but, once the Tigers moved out, there wasn’t much point in preserving it. Last time I was there was a memorable night. After the Tigers beat the Yankees, we went back to Greektown. Some drunk on the other side of the bar was doing something totally obnoxious so the bartender called the cops, who came in and dragged the guy out. Everyone cheered the cops, and the bartender set up the whole house.

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  14. Kim said on July 9, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    My father-in-law was ceo of the firm that engineered Busch Stadium II. Wonder how it feels to work on something that is such a landmark, only to have it torn down. I’ll have to ask.

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  15. Linda said on July 9, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    Your take re: the librarian story is spot on–I’m a librarian and forwarded the link to other librarians I know. It’s amazing how many people who see themselves as ‘hip’ have apparently not set foot in a library in a million years.

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  16. czucky Dimes said on July 9, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    I once owned a small beer-and-a-shot joint in Columbus Ohio. Had it for 12 years or so. A librarian named Maria was an occasional patron there, starting not long after I opened in 1981. She and her girlfriends knew how to raise hell and have a good time. The kind of customers you like to see come in the door. I happened into one of the local library branches in 1993, and ran into guess who. After noting that in normal light she was still delicately, drop-dead gorgeous, I was struck by how young she looked. So after a bit of conversation, I asked how old was she when she first started coming in to the joint. She smiled and said Oh, we were about 16. About time the NYT got wise to librarians, huh?

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  17. ashley said on July 9, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    Well, at least now I don’t get Fred Thompson mixed up with Joe Don Baker anymore.

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  18. Seamus said on July 9, 2007 at 7:47 pm

    This week there are two: One reveals the astounding news that young librarians tend to be hip, something I discovered in the sophisticated metropolis of Fort Wayne, Indiana…when? More than a decade ago, certainly, and maybe earlier.

    I realise you need a hook, Nancy, but are you seriously going to argue that because *you* figured out the high hiposity of young librarians, what, more than a whole decade ago, it’s a done story? Quit. Trivial. Booring.

    Um, you might want to look back at the section heading–it’s Style. If the only Style section stories I can reasonably expect must be ones that Nancy hasn’t already sleuthed, I’m in big trouble.

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  19. nancy said on July 9, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    I think we can all agree that if they made me Queen of the World, we’d all be better off.

    My point was, if I know something, there’s no way in hell the rest of the world doesn’t know, too.

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  20. bassetf5 said on July 9, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    Enough about baseball already, go read the Sunday magazine article. Man can write. And if you want to get nostalgic about something, do it about Sunday magazines. How many are left, anyway? There’s the NY Times, dunno which else.

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  21. Seamus said on July 10, 2007 at 8:13 am

    My point was, if I know something, there’s no way in hell the rest of the world doesn’t know, too.

    Then you would be surprised. I chose an impolitic way to say it, but I think your point is wrong.

    Why, at the very coffeeshop where I am now, I saw a nearby soul who was reading a newspaper tap himself on the forehead in astonishment, exclaim “I did not know that!” and then rush from the place in a flustered hurry. He left behind his paper, which was the NYT and yes, it was open to the Sunday Styles article on hip librarians.

    Okay, not so much, but you have to understand it was fun to write that.

    Anyway, I for one don’t think you are at the pint’s dregs when it comes to cultural awareness. I’ve been reading in here long enough to think otherwise. If that was an ugly way to pay you a compliment, I’m sorry for that.

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  22. Jim said on July 10, 2007 at 8:27 am

    I was at a Yankees game last week and the cranes are already up building the new stadium.

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  23. Danny said on July 10, 2007 at 8:56 am

    I think we can all agree that if they made me Queen of the World, we’d all be better off.


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  24. brian stouder said on July 10, 2007 at 9:29 am

    Well, if she WAS Queen of the World, why then – we’d all be courtiers!

    (thanks to Dictionary.com for saving me from calling us “courtesans” – which has a decidedly negative meaning)

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  25. John said on July 10, 2007 at 9:40 am

    Maybe Ralph Edwards could make her Queen for a Day if she gives a good sob story about her fridge!

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  26. Seamus said on July 10, 2007 at 10:21 am

    Actually, appropos of the thread following, shouldn’t that be Q—- for a Day?

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  27. Kirk said on July 10, 2007 at 10:37 am

    Jack Bailey would crown her, but she’s not nearly pathetic enough.

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  28. bassetf5 said on July 10, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    Everybody shut UP and go read that Elmore Leonard piece. I mean it.

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