Jeff MacGregor went to the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium Saturday, but there was nothing evocative about the experience:
In life and in sports, these fictions of history are a more seductive reality. This is especially so at Yankee Stadium, itself a time machine and a tomb and a shrine to better days, a replica of something impossible and mythological: the house that The House That Ruth Built built. So it is possible on a black afternoon in a 21st century December to look up into the lights and the streaming snow and to mourn things you’ve never known, like bootleg whiskey and nickel cigars, fedoras and shined shoes, hand-painted neckties and wet woolens, Schrafft’s and the automat and Luchow’s, Stillman’s Gym and the Seven Blocks of Granite, Mel Allen and Toots Shor and Jack Dempsey, the Stork and El Morocco and the Copacabana, too. You say goodbye to places you’ve never been and to people you never met. Whole nations, generations gone, dead as real burlesque.
Maybe in the age of instantaneous disposability, the distance of history gives the illusion of meaning. By comparison, the new and the modern feel inauthentic. Artificial. Trumped up. Maybe in the 22nd century, people will look back on the third annual Pinstripe Bowl and know that this was the real thing. There are 39,098 paid seekers of the authentic shivering here.
And at halftime in the rain and the snow, the score is 12 to 7.