Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Facts of the Three Rivers Implosion

It's so easy to look up information these days.  Yesterday, I recounted my first-person perspective of the demolition of Three Rivers Stadium.  Today, after looking up some facts of the event, it seems memory isn't the most reliable historical record.

For one thing, history records that the stadium implosion happened at 8:03 AM.  That seems WAY too late.  My memory had it happening not too long after dawn.  If the stadium didn't come down until 8:03, then I must have been awake for a long time.  Pretty close to 24 hours, especially after I'd taken the time to eat breakfast before going to bed.  Wouldn't be the only time in college I was awake for over 24 consecutive hours, but it's still rare enough to comment on.

They say it was 21 degrees Fahrenheit that morning.  That sounds about right.  Score one for Joe.  And the exact date was February 11, 2001, so I'd narrowed it down pretty close.

Now, according to Wikipedia, over 20,000 people viewed the implosion from Point State Park.  I do not believe this.  Can someone check those numbers?  I think you may have meant to say 2000, and even that is pushing it.  Dude.  There could not have been 20,000 people in the park.  I'll never believe that.  I don't think there's enough landspace for 20,000 people to fit in Point State Park.  That place is small!  And there are things inside the park that take up additional space, like a big ol' fountain that I doubt people were allowed to stand inside of that morning.

Here's the thing: I don't remember being squeezed shoulder-to-shoulder, chest-to-back with strangers that morning.  I remember having space to move around.  If you say the implosion happened at 8 AM, fine.  That seems late to me, but fine, that's what happened.  But there were not 20,000 people standing in that park with me.  No way.

Show me 20,000 people fitting in there.

Here's a fun fact: apparently Cincinnati had a ballpark called Riverfront Stadium, which not only shares two thirds of its name with Three Rivers Stadium, but also happened to look exactly the goddamn same, and also happened to be imploded less than two years after Three Rivers.  In fact, if one were to search YouTube for footage of Three Rivers Stadium being imploded, YouTube might return a few results from Riverfront Stadium, and one might think he or she were watching the Three Rivers implosion when, in fact, one happens to be watching the Riverfront implosion.  I'm not saying that happened to me.  I'm just saying it's possible that it could happen to you.  But definitely not to me.

(According to Wikipedia, Three Rivers was one of many stadiums built in the '60s and '70s that all basically followed the same design.  They were known as "cookie-cutter ballparks" because of this.  So I'm going to let myself off the hook with the whole Cincinnati thing.)

Speaking of watching footage of the implosion, here's another fun fact: I was a film major in college!  Remember when I mentioned that yesterday?  So obviously I saw the implosion for what it was - a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to utilize my training, take advantage of the professional-grade equipment at my disposal, and create a one-of-a-kind record of a historical event.  So I bought a roll of 16mm Kodak film especially for the event, signed a Frezzolini out of the equipment office, and took the most beautiful footage that my family and friends have been enjoying ever since.

Hm?  What's that?  Oh, I didn't do any of those things?  No kidding.  Didn't even plan on showing up to witness the implosion in the first place?  Gotcha.  Take that, posterity!

But you know if the iPhone had existed at the time, I would've been all over that.

Thankfully, many people had the forethought to shoot some video that day.  And it's all up on YouTube, from just about every possible angle... even from Cincinnati!  I've combed through every clip I could find, and the one below (the same as yesterday's) is the closest to the way I saw it.  In fact, this person must have been standing very close to me.  Who knows, maybe I'm actually visibile when he pans over the crowd.

And speaking of him panning over the crowd... take a careful look.  Does that look like 20,000 people to you?

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