My wife and I, tired of the constant barrage of ads for Nancy Naples and Brian Higgins, packed our bags and headed for our daughter's house in Needham, Mass., a suburb of Boston. There we were bombarded with newscasts, sportscasts and commentary about the Boston Red Sox.
It never stopped, no matter what television or radio station you tuned to. But at least we no longer had to put up with the hyperbole about the two aspirants for Jack Quinn's congressional seat. That was a welcome respite.
We have all heard and read about the frustration of Red Sox fans over the years, going all the way back to 1918. But now their team had won the World Series after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals, and the New Englanders wouldn't let up -- they wanted to talk about it constantly.
When the city of Boston and the management of the Red Sox decided to celebrate their fantastic achievement and stage a victory celebration on Saturday, Oct. 30, it seemed like every man, woman and child in New England wanted to participate. And, according to the airlines serving Boston, so did people from all over the country.
Initially, the parade sponsors forecast that 3.6 million people would witness the parade in downtown Boston. How they came up with that figure was never explained. But when the event took place, it was announced that 3.2 million had witnessed it. Again, no explanation on how these numbers were arrived at. It reminded me of the crowd estimates for Buffalo's St. Patrick's Day parade and the Allentown Art Festival. Police and others seeking to hype the events have consistently exaggerated these for years.
My wife and I and our daughter and her family watched the Red Sox victory celebration on television for hours. There were enormous crowds, but there was no way anyone could have given an accurate estimate of how many witnessed the event. No matter. The enormous number of celebrants obviously wanted to pay well-deserved homage to their baseball heroes after decades of frustration.
And I have to pay tribute to the good behavior of all involved. It is estimated that only 25 or so persons had to be arrested. Very few injuries were reported, none serious. Given the numbers of people involved -- certainly 2 million or so -- that's a remarkably low number for a crowd in a celebratory mode. Shortly after returning to Buffalo, I read the lengthy New York Times story on the projected new stadium for the New York Jets on the far west side of Manhattan. The Jets have been playing for years in the New Jersey stadium named for their rivals, the New York Giants.
The proposed new stadium outlined in the story is so crassly commercial that the Times article says it "makes the head spin." I agree with that appraisal. The Times' negative approach is based on the stadium's potential for development in the surrounding neighborhood. My appraisal is on what it would do for professional football.
The proposed facility is, according to the Times story, "dressed up in a blinding assortment of LED screens, advertising shops and restaurants; a mind-numbing spectacle that would echo through the surrounding neighborhoods."
The detailed description of the stadium and all of its ancillary facilities gives one the feeling that the proposed stadium has been designed to enhance commercial development without any concern at all about its basic reason for being -- to house a National Football League team.
The State of New York needs to review every facet of this proposed stadium and make a decision on the advisability of financing a significant part of it. As outlined at this time, it does not appear to be an ideal football arena.
Murray B. Light is the former editor of The Buffalo News.