Friday, November 14, 2008

Out With The Old... with the new.

Some of you may know that I'm a Mets fan. A rabid Mets fan. I've been a Mets fan since I went to my first game in 1975. It's been 33 very long years, with two World Series appearances and one World Series Championship. The Mets have won two championships in their 46 year history but I was too young to remember the first in 1969. So I'm left with one. One... in thirty-three years... in a town that shares baseball real estate with the New York Yankees.

You know the Yankees. 26 World Championships. TWENTY-SIX. And six in my lifetime. And they beat the Mets in 2000. I think Mets fans' only solace is that they haven't won since 2000 even while outspending every other team in payroll. But I digress.

The point was that the Mets are getting a new stadium next season. Citi-Field will open on April 13th. I'll be there rooting for my team, and enjoying the new stadium I'm sure. Shea Stadium was one of those cookie cutter stadiums built in the 60's and 70's. Pedestrian traffic patterns were horrible, not enough bathrooms, the food sucked and the seats were small and uncomfortable, no leg room.

But it's bittersweet because I'll always have fond memories of Shea. My first Major League baseball game watching players live instead of on the screen. My amazement at Dave Kingman popping up a ball that flew higher than the top of the stadium. Going to double headers on my own as a kid with my friends and sitting in the upper deck. Being at the game in 1986 when Dwight Gooden won against the Chicago Cubs to win the pennant for the first time in thirteen years. And my only time on the field watching Billy Joel play the final concert at Shea. So it's a little sad to drive by and see the dismantling of a place that holds a lot of memories. The seats are gone, the scoreboard is down, the field is slowly being covered by debris.

Anyway, a friend sent this picture to me - his brother was coming back from vacation and took this shot as he was landing at LaGuardia Airport. (Click picture for full size.)

Out with the old, in with the new. And hopefully a change of luck in the process. Those season tickets are getting expensive!


chris said...

I remember when Shea was built.
My first live major league game was a twi-night double header at Shea against the Cincinnati Reds in 1969. Jerry Koosman pitched one game; Tom Seaver pitched the other. Gil Hodges managed the Mets & Sparky Anderson got kicked out of one of the games. Those were the days of Bud Harrelson, Tommy Agee, Cleon Jones, Ron Swaboda, Jerry Grote... It was great.

I was a Mets fan from the time they were an expansion team in 1962, playing at the Polo Grounds. I listened to the games on the radio during summer, with my grandfather. Good memories. The Mets had some of the best pitching in baseball and they were just horrible. What a thrill it was to watch them take the series in 1969 after setting records for most games lost. And the '86 world series win was so sweet, not only in how it was done, but that it was done against Boston (I live on the fringes of Red Sox Nation. Here you root for either the Yanks or the Sox - Mets fans are a bit harder to find)

Last time I was at Shea, I had truly crappy seats - way up under the overhang for the 2nd tier of seats, directly under a water pipe that dripped condensation into my beer, and I couldn't see the outfied or the scoreboard. Not fun... I have to admit that Camden Yards is a much nicer stadium than Shea, but I'm still a bit sad to see it go.

Broadway Carl said...

Well Chris, I have season tickets. If ever you want to come to NY to watch a game, let me know.

Awesome story by the way! You were probably in the last row of the mezzanine - obstructed view of the outfield there.

chris said...

Thanks, Carl! I'll never take you up on that offer, but it flatters me that you'd make it.

Yes, that's exactly where it was - last row of the mezzanine. God awful seats.