less, a religious word—desecration—fits.rnYou don’t have to buy the nonsensicalrnBull Durham “church of baseball” conceitrnto believe that a place at which therngenerations have gathered in fellowshiprnand seasonal fraternity is made holy.rn”We have facilities that are either historicrnor dumps, depending on how yournlook at it,” says NYP President Bob Julian.rnThere’s a junkyard adjacent tornDwyer, and the distinction is easy tornmake, except perhaps for executives of arnmonopoly business that is ruled byrnnaked greed and stupid jock malevolence.rn(Maybe on demolition day werncan fill the stands with toddlers and letrnVince Coleman toss the dynamite.)rnMost of the small Upstate cities in thernNYP League—Geneva, Auburn, Watertownrn—are in the same boat as Batavia,rnand if the wrecking balls haven’t swungrnby the fall of 1994 we’ll be booted out ofrnthe league, to be replaced by Canadianrnburgs with hideous modern stadia.rnWhy not? The abandonment ofrnprovincial American towns by corporaternvermin is nothing new. For 20 yearsrnwe’ve watched as our largest factoriesrnhave shut down or flown south, laying offrn50- and 60-year-old men who hadrnworked at the plant all their lives andrnfiring salaried employees who were nearingrnfull pensions. This is why thoughtfulrnand decent men sometimes become socialists.rn(Then again, they also become anarchists.rnThe county courthouse in Bataviarnwas constructed in 1843 of limestonernfrom nearby quarries. Albany has informedrnus that it is obsolete and must bernreplaced because it lacks; one, handicappedrnaccess; two, air-conditioning; andrnthree, daycare facilities. Such brutes,rnour forbears.)rnAll minor leagues, including the NYP,rntake great pride in the players they’vernfed to the big leagues, but this misses thernpoint. I’ve seen a handful of journeymenrnyou’ve never heard of—^John Knox,rnBernardo Brito, Jerry Dybzinski—getrntheir starts, but the only future Hall ofrnFamer I remember is the MilwaukeernBrewer Robin Yount, then an ephebicrnshortstop for the Newark Co-Pilots. Inrnany event, it’s impossible to predictrnwhich, if any, of the 25 or 30 kids who arrivernin Batavia each June will eventuallyrnhave a cup of coffee in what sissy baseballrnwriters refer to so annoyingly as ThernShow, and who really cares? Unlike thernmajors, with their mercenary heroes andrnsham traditions—mutable as uniforms;rnteal today, torn tomorrow?—the continuityrnin minor league cities is providedrnby the fans, passing lifetimes in the samernbleachers as the cast of players changesrnannually.rnMr. Dwyer, the stadium’s nonagenarianrneponym, is at every game, dressed inrncoat and tie, and when an umpire blowsrna call he’ll let him hear it. So will the oldrngal who shared her youthful charms withrnthe ballplayers in the 1940’s and thernwonders of her maturity with the coachesrnin the I950’s. She’s not much in demandrnanymore, but she’s in the grandstandrnevery night, and I like to try tornimagine this raspy-voiced, wizened cronernas a sassy looker. There is the retardedrnman whom my dad and his teenage palsrnused to look out for; now he is grey, a littlernslow of step, but still here, laboriouslyrnkeeping score in a notebook. I havernshared long wisecracking Dwyer eveningsrnwith my boyhood friends since we wererneight years old. Someday we’ll be interredrnwithin hailing distance of eachrnother, and I like to think that unlike thernregret-filled corpses of Grover’s Cornersrnwe’ll reminisce unto eternity about therntime Brian Lambe stole home in thernbottom of the ninth.rnAny appeal for the preservation ofrnsmall joyous things runs into the buzzsawrnclaim that one’s memories are fraudulentlyrnidyllic and, besides, “that Leave Itrnto Beaver world doesn’t exist anymore—rnif it ever did.” This cool and worldlyrnput-down is made, you’ll notice, by peoplernwhose knowledge of Middle Americarncomes directly from the TV screen,rnwhich is why they frame their argumentsrnaround the Nielsen top ten. SandrarnBernhard is a star and Donna Reed isrndead and that’s that.rnYet the America in which homesickrnshortstops from Texas give worshipfulrnkids from Upstate New York cracked batsrnand pinches of Red Man in return forrndixie cups full of lemonade really doesrnexist, however much it discomforts thernNew World Orderlies or sounds like thernmawkish fabrication of a cynical, hucksteringrnFifth Avenue ad-man. (In the infamousrnsummer of 1993 the Lords ofrnBaseball outlawed chewing tobacco inrnthe minors—but not the majors. Anotherrndisposable custom.)rnSo there we are: either Batavia begs,rnborrows, and mostly steals $2 millionrnto raze Dwyer and build an eyesore, orrnthe Batavia Clippers die. The nicknamernClipper, by the way, comes from the harvestingrnmachine manufactured byrnMassey-Harris, Batavia’s chief employerrnat the time of the team’s founding.rnMassey-Harris pulled out of town inrn1958, leaving vacant an enormous andrngrimy plant right across from our pioneerrncemetery. It’s the bottom of thernninth for the rural rustbelt, and withrnthose pushed-back fences a grand slamrnseems mighty improbable.rnBill Kauffman is author of the novelrnEvery Man a King.rnLetter FromrnNicaraguarnbyRayLowiyrnSigns of the SandinistasrnThe mural is old and faded, a reminderrnof headier days when the world lookedrnripe for violent revolution. Three yearsrnof neglect, the effects of a tropical climate,rnand petty vandalism have combinedrnto give the mural its present appearancernof a long-forgotten billboardrnalong some abandoned stretch of ruralrnhighway. Yet the huge faces painted onrnthe mountainside, Carlos Fonseca,rnDaniel Ortega, and Augusto Sandino—rnfounder, unseated cuadillo, and namesakernrespectively of Nicaragua’s SandinistarnNational Liberation Front—stillrnglower at those making the border-crossingrninto Nicaragua at Los Manos.rnThe crossing causes but a ten-minuterndelay in your journey thanks to an efficientrnand friendly group of customs employees.rnYou change your money intornNicaraguan cordobas and are surprised tornlearn that they have a value roughlyrnequal to the Honduran lempiras yournhave been spending these past days—rnabout 15 U.S. cents. This is the newcordoharnde oro or gold cordoba, of course.rnThe old silver cordoba has a value exactlyrnequal to that which it possessed in thernSandinista days—nada.rnYou climb into the canvas-coveredrnback of the two-and-a-half-ton Isuzurntruck that serves as a bus, pay your threecordobarnfare, and you’re off to Ocotal, arnsmall market town about 15 miles downrn36/CHRONICLESrnrnrn