Yesterday, we posted an item about Metphistopheles, a friend of the Faith and Fear guys who returned to Shea for the first time in almost 20 years and shared his observations in his blog.
Following up on the theme of revisiting Shea after years away, here’s a nice note from Loge13 reader Bob, along with some photos. Enjoy.
I left New York City in 1984 just as the Mets were beginning their rebirth. I watched from afar as they became the scourge of the National League, and managed to attend a game at Shea in 1986 on a visit to the city. They were playing the Astros, and beat Nolan Ryan (an omen for that year's NLCS!)
But my allegiance began to fade as the years rolled by, and I didn't return to Shea until July 1998. I decided to take in a game during a trip to NYC, and was astounded to pay $9 for a ticket that once cost me $1.30. All the grandstand seats that used to be unreserved were now assigned seating. The soothing organ tunes of Jane Jarvis were replaced by blaring recorded music, the Diamond Vision was constantly providing visual and aural stimulation. I was no longer allowed any time to just chill out at the ballpark, think about the inning that just happened, and ponder the inning to come.
It made me realize my youth was gone, but at least Shea was still there. It had changed a bit over the years - seats behind the outfield fence, the Big Apple that popped up after a Mets home run, and a few other modifications. But at heart it was still the same place where I watched Seaver, Agee, Cleon and the others thrill millions of fans. I took these photos that day.
Most likely, that was the last game I ever will see at Shea. When the stadium is leveled and the debris carted away, will anything mark the spot? Or will there simply be parking spaces over the places where Swoboda saved Game 4 of the World Series, and Seaver almost pitched a perfect game against the Cubs, and Bud Harrelson got into a fight with Pete Rose in the '73 playoffs?
Baseball doesn't always honor its past. In San Francisco, where I later lived, there is no marker or memorial at all - none - to let people know that Seals Stadium used to stand where there is today a supermarket. Joe DiMaggio and Willie Mays roamed center field there, but nobody has bothered to honor that. Will the same happen to Shea?
Thanks Bob. It’s odd to see the parking lot again beyond the outfield walls.