To the editors.
As Michael Miner made clear in his “Dreams of Field” [Hot Type, July 13], Chicago’s Comiskey Park still could be saved, at least a modest part of it–if, that is, the will to save the old ballpark were greater than the will to destroy it.
But it isn’t: the state of Illinois’ Act To Amend The Illinois Sports Facilities Act, passed by the slimmest of margins in the Springfield General Assembly back on June 30, 1988, saw to that. From that day onward, the fate of Comiskey Park was sealed. It was destined to become the ignominious parking lot which everyone now seems to be wringing their hands over.
Of course John Mac Manus’ proposal to save Comiskey Park, which entails saving an insubstantial section of the box seats, the brickwork around the homeplate entryway, and the playing field itself, though better than nothing, still comes up far short of the SAVE OUR SOX proposal (summer, 1987).
Recall that the SOS proposal would have seen the whole ballpark renovated. But–and here’s the really important lesson–the SOS proposal was rejected by the White Sox. And by the state. In fact, the SOS proposal wasn’t even heard. It just contained the wrong message, where the “right” message was one attuned to the demands of the White Sox to gain a new stadium–by hook or by crook.
So, two years down the road toward Comiskey Park’s final destruction, along comes certain members of the Chicago Park District, who with perfectly good intentions propose to save a few parts of an eighty year old structure of significant historic importance, both to our American sports culture and, more importantly, to the people of Chicago. And their idea doesn’t mean a damned thing this time, either, because the slobs into whose hands sports and politics have fallen couldn’t care less about anything as unquantifiable as tradition, meaning, and, in short, spirit.