Monday, July 21, 2008

Saving Civic

I think I know a grand total of five people who have ever lived in the State of Oregon, but just about all of them are big into conservation and preservation and all of that good stuff. They must be anomalies, however, because Eugene, Oregon officials look to be getting rid of a 70 year-old minor league ballpark everyone seems to like:

The Eugene Emeralds lost their baseball game Sunday afternoon, their four runs falling short of Tri-City’s five. But Civic Stadium scored a shutout.

In an admittedly unscientific survey of baseball fans — some slathering relish and
mustard on hot dogs or hamburgers, others religiously keeping their scorecards, and one too young to talk — no one was in favor of letting the 70-year-old ballpark go the way of the other baseball park dinosaurs.

For those who haven’t been keeping score, the future of Civic Stadium, built in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression, is up for grabs.
Well, maybe not everyone. Despite the loving tone of the article, some random Googling indicates that the joint has seen better days. The owner -- the school board, not some greedy corporation -- doesn't want it anymore. The team doesn't wanna play there anymore. Finally, the putative replacement is being built for the University of Oregon, not specifically for the for-profit Emeralds, so the usual public/private funding battle is not currently raging. In short, beyond the handful of folks interviewed for the linked article, there isn't much to suggest that the place is high on anyone's preservation list.

But maybe it should be. According to its Wikipedia page, Civic is the eighth oldest ballpark still hosting a professional team in the country. That seems fairly amazing for a building built in the late 30s, but I guess that's how we roll these days. A full history can be found here. A review of the place can be found here.

There are still those who want to save Civic. Click here to join, support, or at least gawk at the cause.


Mark Armour said...

Perhaps I am one of the five people you know from Oregon? Anyway, I have been to Civic 20 or 30 times, and it is my favorite minor league park (not that my list of parks is extensive). Great place to watch a game, easy to get to and park, good food.

Like Yankee Stadium, a lot of the stated reasons to knock it down are ... umm ... not to be trusted.

Craig Calcaterra said...

You are! My count included you, Neyer, my best friend's ex-wife and her mom, and some guy I kinda knew in college who tried to get me to join some sort of Daoist group freshman year. He was an odd one. I didn't have a TV and I wanted to watch Quantam Leap. He said he had one and invited me back to his room. When we got there, there was this Daoist meeting thing going on and he asked me to stay anyway.

I bailed and watched Quantam Leap in the dorm lounge.

Daniel said...

Well, you don't really "know" me, but I've been commenting enough on here that I guess we're acquaintances through blogging. Anyway, I went to school at the U of O and saw a few games there. It's a very nice field, and works well for the type of crowds they have there. It would be sad to see it abandoned.

Craig Calcaterra said...

We'll call it six, then, Daniel. I had always associated you with LA due to your Angels-backing.

Mark Armour said...

There are five people like your college friend in every coffee shop in Oregon at this very moment.

Daniel said...

Lived in SoCal before and after my four years of college, but those were four very good (and formative) years I spent in Eugene. Needless to say, my political ideologies are now somewhat different than most of Orange County.

Pete Toms said...

Craig, you digitally know Maury Brown, a great Oregonian, Oregonite?

Craig Calcaterra said...

That's true! Sorry, Maury!

OK, I gotta be honest here. I didn't forget Maury. He was the one who tried to trick me into Daoism via promises of Quantum Leap.