Saturday, October 12, 2013

Illinois’ Ebbets Field not in Brooklyn?

What with the Dodgers playing in St. Louis on Friday and Saturday to start off the final round of the National League playoffs, I was amused by a television report about the Ebbets Field that exists in one of the Illinois municipalities that is part of suburban St. Louis.

For it seems that an upscale residential subdivision in Edwardsville (otherwise known as the home of the urban campus of Southern Illinois University) was named after the one-time stadium where the Dodgers played back in the days when they were from the borough of Brooklyn.

THE DEVELOPER, ACCORDING to KSDK-TV in St. Louis, was such a Dodgers baseball fan that the streets in the subdivision were named after such ball club big-names as Steve Garvey, Tommy Lasorda and Duke Snider.

Of course, most of the baseball fans who actually live there root for the Cardinals and aren’t the least bit sympathetic toward the Dodgers – who haven’t appeared in a World Series since 1988 (the year Kirk Gibson did that funky arm-pumping thing when he hit that game-winning home run off future Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley).

Although I have to confess to having a knee-jerk reaction to the report. It’s too bad that an “Ebbets Field Estates” (the formal name of the subdivision) couldn’t have been built in Brooklyn, rather than Edwardsville.

By that, I’m referring to the Illinois municipality that is part of the St. Louis metropolitan area – not the borough of some 2.5 million people that is the former New York home of the Dodgers. It’s right on the Mississippi River across from St. Louis, but doesn’t get the straight-ahead view of downtown and the Arch like East St. Louis does.

EBBETS FIELD IN Brooklyn. Even if all in Illinois, it has a ring to it that would draw national attention – even though the municipality has barely 600 residents, almost all of whom are African-American (it’s the oldest town incorporated BY black people anywhere in the United States).

Where the name originates
I’m sure the Brooklyn officials would have gone along, although I suspect the developers probably wouldn’t have wanted anything to do with the idea.

Brooklyn, as in Illinois, has so little in the way of business that the Wikipedia page for the municipality uses a photograph of the village’s “adult entertainment strip” to illustrate the community.

An entrance to Ill.'s Brooklyn

AND YES, I should confess that the only reason I personally am aware of Brooklyn, Ill.’s existence is that I happened to notice it once while driving by on my way to St. Louis proper. It’s small enough that I guess many people don’t see it if they don’t specifically know to look for it.

All the more reason for an Ebbets Field in Edwardsville – a municipality that claims three one-time major league ballplayers (Lee Wheat, Jason Isringhausen and Mark Little) among its residents throughout the years.

So why I am getting all this worked up over an amusing bit of trivia that has nothing to do with the world of Chicago baseball?

Largely because this is October, and Chicago is so irrelevant to this time of the season when it comes to baseball. The 2005 and 2008 seasons were such aberrations in Chicago baseball history – although seeing both ballclubs blow it in the first round in that latter season seemed predictable).

IF NOT FOR this, we’d have to be obsessing over how delusional those Chicago Cubs fans were who thought seriously that Joe Girardi would ever give up a New York Yankees managerial post to be a part of the Wrigley Field scene!
Will cause disputes for years to come

While also having to be concerned about those Chicago White Sox fans who will get all upset over the sight of Jake Peavy pitching for the Boston Red Sox in their round of playoffs beginning Saturday against the Detroit Tigers – wondering why he could never have stayed healthy enough to pitch like his one-time Cy Young Award-self back when he was with the White Sox.
Even if outfielder Avisail Garcia (acquired for Peavy in this season’s big trade) goes on to become a big star for the Sox, it will never fully erase the frustration of Peavy’s performance – which was a large part of why the White Sox’ Ozzie Guillen era ended merely with a winning record, instead of a repeat performance in the World Series.


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