New York can be rough; it can hurt you and challenge your dignity;
It can chew you up and spit you out and wait for you to say, “Thank you”
And it can give you nightmares worthy of Elm Street as well as Broadway.
New Yorkers can be tough; they can take your best shot and smile;
They can cheer for your defeat, knock you down, pick you up —
And clobber you (with fists, with looks, with words, with deeds).
Welcome to New York!
So it should not surprise you when two of its heroes,
Homes to Series winners, Beach Boys and the Beatles,
Get knocked down and spit upon and left for the garbage man
To take their pieces out and throw their proud remains in the city dump.
This is what happened to two citadels of greatness:
Yankee Stadium (the real one) and Shea Stadium (once a dream).
When it was their time, they were bashed and smashed and
Chunks of them were carted away and much too soon forgotten . . .
But not by me. Nothing new and fancy could replace these fortresses
That witnessed combat by the greats; nothing could make me discard
My memories time and again of baseball players who just knew
When they played there that they were housed in greatness of its own,
Those fields of love where millions had come to live and breathe and
Cry and in the end feel victory so many times. The House that Ruth Built,
Home of the Franchise — just this one time, no hatred for the one or for
The other: they met a common fate and should be resurrected in thought
And celebrated as champions that they were. Hold for them
A sort of Old Timer’s Day, a day when once great players and the rest
Return and recount stories of their love for both these homes
Now just a memory; Unveil the plaques that show the earned affection
That once filled Yankee and Shea Stadiums; sing songs and read poetry
And raise the flag one final time; say prayers to the gods of baseball
And honor them with chants of “Let’s Go, Mets” and
“New — York — Yankees” and in their honor broadcast films and photos
Reminding all of us that can recall and showing all of us too young
That there once were Homes of Glory — not fields of dreams but
Of reality — where the sport was played and celebrated. Do not
Just forget and relegate those seasons to the recesses of our minds
And stories in our books and scholarly treatises
But give them consciousness for they were Kings in their own time
And well deserve our honor and our love. Baseball is the players
But where are players without home fields? and
There were no homes better than these two palaces that for so long
Honored and rewarded hometown heroes with their warmth.
Do not let dissipate the cheers of all those crowds.
Do not let them go; bring them back for one warm summer day
And love them as they once provided comfort and security
To two New York teams in days of greatness and of pride.
You can go home again!