"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
The 1946 Series, of Pesky's held ball and Slaughter's mad dash, holds a place in the litany of tragic Sox failures (alongside '48, '49, '67, '72, '74, '75, '78, '86) that any Boston fan can readily recite.
All those campaigns live in my imagination, but none so strongly as that of 1967. I was only six that summer and not yet cognizant of the Fens, but in the years shortly thereafter, when I grew baseball mad, I committed to memory the highlight record of that pennant-winning season, The Impossible Dream.
Perhaps we reserve a certain brand of nostalgia for the near past, for the periods on the cusp of our own contemporary memories -- for the '50s, say, or the pre-Vatican II era. I don't have personal recollections of the '67 Sox, the way my older brothers could describe Tony C's beaning, or a particular incredible throw by Yaz to catch a runner at the plate. I attended my first game at Fenway the next season, 1968, sitting in the bleachers: The pitcher I understood at the time to be named Jim Lawnmower, and the most I remember about the game is that I got a snow-globe for a souvenir. But within a year I would eagerly lay claim to the '67 Sox tradition.
Baseball is all about past heroes, about story-telling, about lore and legend, about the imagination. A good bit of my early love for history was founded on accounts of Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx, Rogers Hornsby and Dizzy Dean, Ted Williams and Stan Musial, none of whom I saw play except in my head.
If Bull Durham celebrated the Church of Baseball, Dale Price suggests the Church of Rome could take a lesson from baseball's rediscovery of the place of memory in the game and its architecture.
Ford Field is a great place to watch football. As is Comerica Park a great place to watch baseball. Why? In large measure, because tradition was remembered, reclaimed, and applied to new settings. Comerica Park is a ball park, and one that remembers and honors the past, complete with statues of Tiger heroes. It's not flawless, but there is an obvious recognition that fans have a living connection to the past, even if they never saw the games "their" heroes played. I never saw Hal Newhouser throw a pitch, but I can vigorously defend his induction into the Hall of Fame. The Park says: "You, like millions before you, are part of the living tradition of Tiger baseball."
This should be the idea in every non-expansion sports venue, but it's odd how often that simple premise got lost.
Which is too often the case in church architecture. Ultimately, what is the church building for? Lord knows the Archdiocese of Detroit didn't get a restoration memo when Blessed Pipe Organ--er, Sacrament--Cathedral got the by-now obligatory renovation. The overall effect is as though someone put a spoiler, blower and Firebird decal from a '78 Trans-Am on a Bentley. IOW, you immediately notice the additions, right down to the easily-moved seating. Moreover, the Archdiocese is positively giddy about the Cathedral's multipurpose possibilities as a hospitality center. Which is odd, given the fact Detroit has a superb de facto convention center.
And you thought it was a domus dei. Silly layman....Not that it's all bad, of course--some real, welcome and necessary improvements have been made. But much of the connection with the past was severed in the "forward" movement's changes. The stained glass (beautifully restored) is the only obvious connection left.
And don't get me started on L'Edifice Mahony, where the most-overtly traditional touches are placed with the entombed. Subtle. Not to mention Milwaukee's homage to Abp. Weakland (and perhaps Space Ghost), itself another multiuse venue.
In a way, it figures: when the Church mistakenly tries to stay with the times, it ambles along about 30 years behind. Architecturally speaking, it's wearing a bauhaus leisure suit--Proudly. In a country where people are seeking identity, the Church decided to downplay its own. #