Nothing sums up the joy and wistfulness of the Glory Days era like the memory of the city’s three big-league ballparks. Each of them—Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, the Polo Grounds in Manhattan, and Yankee Stadium in the Bronx—reflected the character of its team and its fans. Yankee Stadium was stately, like its successful team. Ebbets Field was cozy and ramshackle like the Dodgers. And the Polo Grounds, home to the Giants, was shabbily genteel, incongruously grand. When a batter stepped up to the plate at any of them, he was stepping into history: even the newest of the three, Yankee Stadium, had already seen a generation of great players.
Aside from the 90-foot diamond, there was nothing uniform about their physical design or the viewer experience. Ebbets was a hitter-friendly bandbox; Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds were short at the foul lines and astoundingly deep in center field. A home run might travel barely 250 feet; a 440-foot drive might be caught. Baseball here was unfair – a lot like life in New York.