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The Ebbets Field Flagpole’s Now Outside Barclays

Marty Markowitz and Bruce Ratner attend the Ebbets Field Flagpole Commemoration at the Barclays Center on December 11, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

Yesterday, before the Nets-Knicks game, the folks at Prokhorov/Ratner/Yormark/Jay-Z International (or PRYJZI, as we're probably never going to call it again) dedicated the Ebbets Field flagpole outside Barclays Center. It was a moderately sized deal: Brett Yormark and Bruce Ratner were there, but Jay-Z and Mikhail Prokhorov weren't. Basically: The Nets staff that works in Metrotech made the trip, and the ones who are out jetskiing/rapping weren't. Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz was there, because of course he was.

All this over a flagpole, you say? You might have assumed that the Ebbets Field flagpole had been stashed somewhere in Markowitz's basement, refrigerated, floating around in pieces in formaldehyde, Dahmer-style, but no: This might be the most interesting flagpole on earth.

The tale of this flagpole begins in 1960, when Ebbets Field was destroyed. For whatever reason, they hung onto the center-field flagpole, and it was donated to a VFW post in East Flatbush, about three miles away from where Ebbets Field once stood. The flagpole stood there for nearly 50 years, as the VFW post turned into a casket company (the Canarsie Casket Company, to be exact) and finally a church. No one thought much about it, though some inquisitive folks would sometimes go searching for it. About five years ago, when all this Brooklyn Nets business was really starting to percolate, Markowitz mentioned to Ratner that the flagpole was still sitting there, so, Ratner being Ratner, he bought it had it quietly removed.

It reappeared yesterday, with the whole gang joining Jackie Robinson's daughter Sharon Robinson and Jerry Stackhouse to salute the flagpole. We are always a little skeptical of attempts to link the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Brooklyn Nets — it's just more packaged, sold nostalgia — but the flagpole is still sort of neat (we saw it on our run this morning, and it's difficult not to get a cathartic "that was at Ebbets Field!" kick passing by it) and, all told, it's closer to where Ebbets Field was now than it was before Ratner removed it. (Almost exactly a mile closer.) Though it's of note that the Dodgers only get a plaque; the flags above are the American flag and a Nets one. In 50 years, if it's still there, we bet it's still known as the Ebbets Field flag, even if it will have been outside Barclays longer at that point than it ever was outside Ebbets. Hell, maybe it'll be known as the Canarsie Casket Company Flagpole.

Photo: James Devaney/Getty Images