Fate of the Bat hangs in the balance

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Take a look at any architectural rendering of the new Yankee Stadium, and something is clearly missing from the pathways outside the stadium. The Yankee Stadium Bat, that familiar meeting place in the Bronx, visible from the Major Deegan, has not been included in plans for the new Stadium, and no one is quite sure what’s going to happen to it.

Anthony Rieber, in today’s Newsday, tried to get ascertain the fate of the Bat. He did not have much success:

The 120-foot Louisville Slugger outside Gate 4 — actually a boiler stack fitted to look like a bat, complete with a knob at the top, tape at the handle and Babe Ruth’s signature on the barrel — seems to have been overlooked as the Yankees prepare to make the move across the street to a new Yankee Stadium in 2009.

“We do not have knowledge of what will happen to ‘The Bat,'” Yankees spokesman Michael Margolis said.

A spokesman for the city parks and recreation department, which owns and runs Yankee Stadium, referred calls about The Bat to Mayor Bloomberg’s press office.

Said mayoral spokesman Joseph Gallagher: “The city is working with both the Mets and the Yankees on a plan to sell memorabilia from their respective stadiums that will be timed with the end of the 2008 season, and won’t interfere with existing plans to demolish the stadiums.”

It’s highly doubtful that the City and team will find too many buyers for a 120-foot boiler stack.

A few months’ back, a similar quandary arose for Mets fans. The Mets were not planning on transporting the home run apple to CitiField, and fans were not happy to hear that news. In fact, a few of them β€” a high school classmate of mine included β€” starting an online movement called Save the Apple. While it’s unclear if they saved the apple from the Shea, CitiField will include its own home run apple.

But what about Yankee Stadium? The Bat doesn’t exactly have any sort of storied history. Everyone and their uncles likes to use as a pre-game meeting spot because it’s rather easy to spot and centrally located. Otherwise, it’s a piece of engineering equipment made to look somewhat like a Babe Ruth bat. The colors don’t even look much like a wooden bat, but it is a part of Yankee Stadium. Fans identify with that part.

Since public support for saving the old Yankee Stadium never really materialized, what about that famous landmark behind home plate? Should we Save the Bat? Or should it serve as a marker of the old Yankee Stadium forever sitting where it now rests?

Photo of The Bat by flickr user wallyg.

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  • mooks

    I’m not positive about this, but I do remember reading that the mets were going to add the apple to the new citifield, but that it would be a new apple, not the same old one from shea.

    I could be wrong, but I do recall reading it not to long ago.

  • dan

    The Shea apple is a piece of shit anyway. I realize it’s a part of the team’s history, but is it really that important?

  • http://slidingintohome.blogspot.com Greg Cohen

    SAVE THE BAT!!!

  • steve (different one)

    ehh…i can’t get worked up over losing the bat.

  • http://www.magicball.net LBA Prequel

    I suddenly sense a “Save the Bat” River Ave. Blues T-Shirt coming on…which I would wholeheartedly support. ;)

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  • LiveFromNewYork

    I do meet people there because it’s right in front of the Yankee store and between the 2 Gate 4’s so even morons don’t get lost but I have actually forgotten that it’s a bat.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    Wait, that thing was a bat?

  • monkeypants

    Never liked the bat–always thought it was a bit tacky. I can live without.

  • http://knickerbockerchatter.blogspot.com/ Bruno

    I like the idea of leaving it where it is to mark the original Stadium.

  • mg

    I don’t think I’d loose any sleep if the bat was gone. I’m much more concerned with the move of monument park. Somehow that strikes me as disturbing an indian burial ground. The bat won’t be missed in five years.
    What I’d really like to see is a movement to save the basepaths as they are so that we can all go run them before seeing a game. I’d love to follow the route Ruth and Mantle took around the diamond. I’d kill to slide past the plate Yogi defended. I’d be in hog heaven standing on the same mound that Whitey threw from. That and monument park are the only things that really will matter to me.

    • http://riveravenuewatch.blogpot.com Mike NYY

      I feel the same way.

      Aside from the historical issue though where the hell are people going to meet to go to games?

      • monkeypants

        Why, at the Martini Bar, of course!

  • barry

    It’s highly doubtful that the City and team will find too many buyers for a 120-foot boiler stack.
    lol I got a kick out of that.
    Anyway, they pulled down a few of those near my college and it was quite the process, pulled down brick by brick by men in cherry pickers. I’m assuming because it would be like bringing down a giant tree in a city, which isn’t a good idea, the bat will probably remain where it is as part of a landmark because they’re a pain in the ass to take down and the way their built it’s probably not ever going to come down on it’s own.

  • Steve

    I’m sure the Yogi Berra museum will love to have it.

  • Mike D

    I never really liked the look of the bat. Wasn’t it created when the Stadium was renovated in the mid-70s? The era of disco. No wonder it looked cheap! Some things deserve to have an end, and the bat is one of them

  • pounder

    Guiliani is going to get it.

  • Sean O’Kane

    this year is going to be so depressing. even ‘small’ things like this just keep souring the situation.

  • john carty jr.

    the bat was my fathers contribution to the game. his ” bat stack” had extreme financial limitations for construction. his insperation had no such limits. i have heard louisville, ky boast there slugger bat was the tallest in the world, but the ” bat stack ” has that destinction. leave the stack!

  • Georgeanna

    the bat is my grandfathers legacy to the all american game and to not include it in the future of baseball would be a travesty.

  • John Diffley

    SAVE THE BAT!!!!

  • Kevin C

    I think if we’re going to lobby for something to be saved from Yankee Stadium to move across to the new stadium, it should be the black section.

  • Kevin C

    It’s the only part of the original Yankee Stadium that has survived the renovations.