New York Yankees and the Conservative Use of Space

By Bates, Benjamin R. | Ethnologies, Annual 2002 | Go to article overview

New York Yankees and the Conservative Use of Space


Bates, Benjamin R., Ethnologies


Sports events, as the ancient Greeks knew well, could be used as a substitute for war in city-state competition, hence the creation of the ancient Olympics. Although the founder of the modem Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin, envisioned an event free of consumerism and nationalism, they are now a forum for national conflict and rivalry (Riggs 1993). As Katz and Dayan (1985) argue, the Olympics are a coronation for the king of nations and a celebration of conflict, contestation, and conquest. The Olympics now reinforce nationalism and hyperpatriotism as fundamental values rather than the equality, liberty, and fraternity that are the official reasons for the Games (Rothenbuhler 1989). In addition, commercialism and consumerism are now values supported by the Games, in contradiction to de Coubertin's vision (Farrell 1989). Truly, the Olympics are a substitute for war; national aggression, the fight for supremacy, and economic competition are all enfolded within the Games.

Although not a substitute for civil war, on an intranational level sports may serve the same purpose as the Olympics. Sports teams can elevate the recognition of a city on the international and national business, convention, and tourism scenes. Winning the national championship title in any sport makes a city's name synonymous with a nation's best, though only briefly. As marketers well know, winning in a sport allows a city to claim greatness, as evident in the crass commercialism that transformed the Atlanta Braves and the Dallas Cowboys of the early 1990's into "America's Team(s)". Perhaps the existence of sports teams is one factor contributing to Yi-Fu Tuan's statement that "Places can be made visible by a number of means: rivalry with or conflict with other places, visual prominence, and the evocative power of art, architecture, ceremonials and rites. Human places become vividly real through dramatization" (1977: 178).

Sports are, fundamentally, agon between two sides and between two cities. In choosing schedules, this aspect of sports is central to the search for higher ratings (Russell 1994; Van Weert and Schreuder 1998). Further, broadcasting increases the exposure of a city's teams, on both regular television and special channels like ESPN and CNNSI (Higgins 1999; Mitrano 1999). The dramatization of cities on television, through the contest itself and through the commentators' reflections on rivalries, increases the importance of successful sports franchises to a city.

Walter Benjamin argued that, "What is true of the image of the city and its inhabitants is also applicable to its mentality" (1986: 114). After a stay in New York, Benjamin might conclude that the image of a city provided through sports is similarly indicative. Indeed, as Mayor Rudolph Giuliani stated, "The resilience and determination of the 1996 Yankees is a metaphor for the entire city of New York, where we have battled back in the face of the doubters and the doomsayers to once again make New York a city of growth, opportunity and hope" (1996: 3). What Giuliani leaves unsaid, however, is for whom this battle was fought. The desired appearance of the parade is to present an image of citywide freedom and joy that the masses can participate in.

Focusing on imagery has its dangers. The consumption of sports teams as metaphors for a city might just as easily lead to incomprehensibility. Simply put, the image of a city provided by a sports team is not reflective of the city's whole. To simply accept Giuliani's statement then, would bring about a retort similar to Baudelaire's response to the promotion of cities through arts -- it leads to "a state of mind bordering on vertigo or idiocy" (1997: 121). Although arts and sports may construct a representation of what is good and noble in a city, they are impermanent and replaceable. If taken as a permanent representation of the city, the stadium or museum can evoke a false understanding because it allows the appearance of freedom and contestation within a highly constrained and limiting space. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

New York Yankees and the Conservative Use of Space
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.