Just my opinion on the music part, but we’ll get to that in a second.
In the meantime: we’ve written a bit over the years about the fate of the Astrodome. It hasn’t been used since it housed Katrina refugees in 2005. It’s rusting and obsolete and requires over $200 million to renovate the place back into usability. It’ll cost way less to simply wreck the place, though even the price tag for demolition is high. In short: there are no great options for a stadium that was once cool and state of the art but is now a giant mess.
My personal view: It’s a building that we will be sad, for nostalgic reasons, to see go, but which is not architecturally significant enough to save for its own sake and whose renovation represents a public cost far too great to justify. Nostalgia alone is no good reason to spend a quarter of a billion tax dollars.
Enter a November 5th referendum in which voters will decide whether to authorize over $200 million in bonds to turn the stadium into a convention center and exhibition space. Like I said, I’m skeptical of such things, but at least democracy will sort it out. Unfortunately, democratic ends often require a public campaign. And the public campaign to save the Astrodome has this working for it. And please: to fully appreciate it, watch it all in all of its hathos and glory:
Bruce Springsteen is turning over in his grave. And yes, he is dead. He heard this yesterday and immediately walked in front of a bus to stop the pain. True story.
Major League Baseball just announced the details for the ceremonial and off-field stuff in connection with Games 1 and 2 of the World Series. The one most people were wondering about was the ceremonial first pitch. Sorry, Charlie Sheen fans. Sorry fans of “Major League” in general. Two real baseball stars are handing first pitch duties: Kenny Lofton before Game 1, Carlos Baerga for Game 2.
Lofton needs no introduction. He should be a Hall of Famer but is criminally overlooked, perhaps because he bounced around to a lot of different clubs. He made his name in Cleveland, however, doing three separate tours with the Indians, leading the AL in stolen bases for five straight years early in his career and putting up a line of .300/.375/.426 in ten seasons on the shores of Lake Erie.
Baerga played for the Tribe between 1990 and 1996 and was, for a time, quite the superstar, even if people don’t talk about him much anymore. His career fell off pretty quickly in that way that often happens for second basemen and/or stars who end up on the Mets, but there was a time when he was perhaps the biggest star on some excellent Indians teams. People had “will Carlos Baerga be a Hall of Famer?” conversations and stuff. The mid-90s were a special time.
Beyond the first pitches, the National Anthem will be sung by Rachel Platten before Game 1 and by the group Locash before Game 2. As I am an old man out of touch with most things, I have no idea who they are, but I am sure their fans are passionate and their renditions of the Anthem will be fine and non-controversial. Fox, MLB and the folks at major record labels are pretty good about that sort of thing and everyone will be especially vigilant in light of what happened with that Canadian tenors group at the All-Star Game. If nothing else, I bet you pick up the check for the Anthem performance after the song, and not before these days.
I realize everyone is super excited about the Cubs being in the World Series for the first time since 1945, with the chance to win it for the first time since 1908. But you’d think folks would remember that it’s just the Cubs — and not Chicago as a whole — who have been away from the Fall Classic for so long.
I know their recent struggles makes it seem like a long, long time ago, but the White Sox won the World Series in 2005. They were in the World Series in 1959 too. You wouldn’t know that, though, if you looked at some prominent media outlets:
I understand the impulse to tell the “a whole city is coming together!” story every time stuff like this happens, but there are a lot of White Sox fans in Chicago. A good number of them don’t give a crap about the Cubs. Many even resent them for being the glory franchise in the city in the eyes of many. They certainly don’t feel like there’s a championship drought afoot, and I imagine they’re somewhat cranky about having their team’s glory plastered over like this.