Sunday, September 28, 2008

Shea Stadium, 1964-2008: Thanks For The Memories

I went with my family to Shea Stadium to watch the last game to be held in the ballpark. The game against the Marlins ended in a loss, spoiling the Mets' playoff chances. Mets fans don't have much faith in the bullpen and, true to form, they gave up two home runs to the Marlins that made the difference in the game.

Regardless of the loss, everyone enjoyed the stadium closing ceremony afterwards, with a procession of stars from throughout the years: Tom Seaver, Yogi Berra, Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez, Mike Piazza, Willie Mays, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Jesse Orosco, Ron Darling and many more. There were films showing team highlights, including the 1969 and 1986 World Series championships. 

I have many cherished memories of games watched from the nose-bleed section: Lenny Dykstra's walk-off homer in the National League Championship Series game three against the Houston Astros, October 11, 1986; Mike Piazza hitting a double in his first game; watching The Mets sweep the damn Yankees in the final game of a 2004 interleague subway series. (I understand that that team also will be playing in a new stadium. New York fans are partisan.)

Shea was built at a time when concentric, flying saucer-shaped stadiums were in vogue. Now the retro look is in, as we can see in the Baltimore Orioles' Camden Yards. I look forward to next year in the new Citi Field (if it had to have a corporate sponsor name, I suppose that's the best we could get), a replica of Ebbets Field, fabled park of one of the Mets' National League forbears, the Brooklyn Dodgers. As for the Mets' being knocked out of the post season, I'll fall back on that old baseball adage, "Wait till next year."

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