— Days Without Shea —


Shea Stadium Gate A September 28, 2008
Some good details here on how Shea Stadium is going down...

To those Mets fans frustrated enough to want Shea Stadium blown up to rid the franchise of the stench of another September collapse, you're going to be disappointed.

The stadium will be torn down slowly and meticulously, without the help of any dynamite.

"It will be dismantled," said Dave Howard, executive vice president of business operations. "There won't be an implosion and there won't be any wrecking balls. It will sort of be strategic cutting and dismantling section by section."

That process is going to begin in less than two weeks, Howard said, and it's something the Mets have been quickly preparing for.

For starters, Tuesday was the first day not a single Mets employee reported to work at Shea Stadium. Everyone with the Mets, from the general manager to the switchboard operator, has now officially been moved to Citi Field.

The transition process actually began two weeks ago, Howard said. By the time the Mets' final homestand at Shea began, most employees already were working out of their offices inside Citi Field.

The only workers who remained at Shea during the final regular-season games, he said, were those who worked in the ticket office and stadium operations. That's only because their jobs required them to be there.

Now that the Mets are out of Shea, Howard said they have 15 days from the final game to clear the stadium of everything they want to save ... or else.

"It's being prepped for demolition," Howard said. "We're pulling out all salvageable stuff and memorabilia items. It's a very active site right, with regards to both the Mets and the Parks Department."

That means everything that is for sale or has been bought, from the seats to the dugouts to the foul poles, are currently being removed. In a matter of days the stadium will be barren.

Then comes the demolition and pretty soon after that you will start to notice a difference as you drive by on the Grand Central Parkway.

"It will be gradual," Howard said. "The goal is to have it down by Opening Day next year for Citi Field, which is April 13. That will be a challenge, and it will be dependent on a lot of things, including what the weather is like this winter. But that's the goal."

As Howard spoke, he said he was looking out his office window onto the crews of workers on the new playing field. The irrigation system is being installed and the sod is expected to be down by the end of October, just in time to set in before the winter frost hits. He thinks more than 90 percent of the seats are now in place.

For Mets fans already looking ahead to next year, the vision of an almost-finished Citi Field will likely bring warm feelings of a new beginning.

"It was very interesting to move over here while the season was still going on at Shea because we would go back over for games during the final homestand, and you definitely see Shea Stadium in different eyes," Howard said. "Even for just a couple of days. The quantitative difference is exponential."



[September 30, 2008 10:06 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Stu B said

Perhaps it was predictable that the Mets would lose again like this, given the fatally weak bullpen; they probably overachieved as it was.

But the whole day was surreal for me... I cried as I walked into Shea, and several times during the game. I actually was OK with the loss after a few minutes as I contemplated the end of Shea and what it represented to me - my youth (I'm 48 and attended my first game in 1968) and a lot of memories, baseball and otherwise. I probably went to at least 250 games in the 41 seasons since '68.

The post-game ceremony was wonderful; I couldn't stop sobbing, seeing guys like Ed Kranepool, Jim McAndrew, Cleon Jones, Yogi Berra, Tom Seaver, Rusty Staub, Darryl Strawberry, Gary Carter, Art Shamsky, Wayne Garrett, Dwight Gooden, Mike Piazza, etc. etc. on the field again in Mets jerseys.

I completely lost it, looking around and realizing that I would never be in there again, watching each guy touch home plate for the last time, and Tom taking the mound and throwing the last pitch to Mike.

Then there was nothing left but to leave, completely in tears walking down the ramp and into the parking lot, and I'm getting choked up all over again as I write this. I realize that I'm truly grieving for a lost loved one. BTW, my Sunday plan seats also were in Loge 13 (row D).

So long and farewell, old friend.

[September 30, 2008 10:37 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Chris said

Kingman, I've really enjoyed reading this blog all season. You have done a great job documenting the last season of Shea. Let's hope the Mets do the right thing and offer some partial plans.

[September 30, 2008 10:43 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Kingman said

Thanks for the nice notes all. Stu B - you were in Loge13 too? We always wanted to meet the people who sat there on the other days! Was the last game part of your plan? If so, then I saw you as I scanned Loge13 from the upper deck during the game. I am glad you were there on the last day to send the section out.

[October 1, 2008 3:46 AM]  |  link  |  reply
cver said

Kingman, what a fantastic job you and your other contributors have done with this site and thanks so much to all of you. This was a sad historic time for our beloved team. One that was avoidable, but those are the cruel ways of the world. You are obviously one of the good guys that is "taking a sad song and making it better", to paraphrase one of Shea's most famous visitors. Me and my buddy briefly had partial plans in Loge 9 in the early 70's. It is awful that the partials have been treated in such an ungrateful manner. Hope you all get your partials over at the new park and that you keep this wonderful site going!

[October 1, 2008 8:58 AM]  |  link  |  reply
G-Fafif said

Horribly sad story about dismantling (or as we Mets fans would call it, diskranepooling).

Just want to take the opportunity to say your documentation of Shea's final two seasons has been nothing short of phenomenal. There may no longer be a section called Loge 13, but I sure hope the blog of the same name continues. It is a gem no less sparkling than a three-hit shutout on the season's final Saturday...and probably more transcendent given the events of Sunday.

[October 1, 2008 10:38 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Stu B said

Kingman - a buddy and I had a Sunday plan for Row D, Seats 10 and 11; Sunday was our last game...I loved the view from behind first base...we started in '99 in Mezz section 5, and upgraded in several steps to Loge 13 over the years...he and I plus about 4 other people shared a full season plan from '87-'92 in the mezz reserved...I went to 20-25 games a year back then...

[October 2, 2008 10:56 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Doug said

Apparently the City of New York is already dismantling Shea. They weren't kidding when they were talking about 15 days after last out...

There is an audio slide-show on the NY Daily News website...
http://multimedia.nydailynews.com/audioslideshow/sports/20081001_dismantlingshea/

It would seem that they are removing every third seat to make their pairs for sale. It would also seem like they are going to have some odd-ball single seats (look at the shots of the Upper Deck...) There are pics of the team dismantling Loge 24.

The outfield fence is gone.

The outdoor lazy-boy chairs on the Field Level are gone, too.

And for the first time that I can remember, the clocks aren't on in the ballpark....

It is nice to see, though, that Shea will be an organ donor....

-Doug


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by Kingman on September 30 at 6:52PM
One of the benefits of section Loge13 was its proximity for many years to Casey's Pub. Besides a better food selection, Casey's also had better beer available and on tap too. Plus there were TV's in Casey's...and heat on those wicked cold nights.

Casey's was shut down many seasons ago (allegedly due to an underage drinker getting busted). Casey's was shut down and the staff moved up to the Grill Room up near the Mets Hall of Fame.

On Sunday, roving Loge13 reporter Ron Hunt took some final footage of one of Shea Stadium's best little secrets:




[September 30, 2008 7:49 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Eli said

Since Shea is going I will report how I used to sneak into the Grill room without a pass. I would enter through suite area where the broadcast booth was and just walk down the hall to the back door of the Grill room. For a while I used to be able to just walk right in, go right to the bar and oreder a beer. One time I brought my future wife in that way and we sat ourselves down at a table. The waitress came by to take our order and we didn't have a menu. She was surprised we didn't get one when we came in. She was obviously unaware we had snuck in, and just took our order, and we had a lovely meal. Then on one of my trips there, there was a security guard posted. That time, I was denied entry. But I was ready the next time. I was with a friend and said just stay behind me and keep quiet. When I got to the guard, I looked confused and asked, "Isn't there a gift shop down here?" The guard opened the door and said, "walk through the bar, and its in the lobby". "Oh, thank you very much." My friend and walked on through, and when the door closed, we made a quick left toward the bar, and enjoyed ourselves. That method worked another 10 times through the next 5 seasons or so. (That is until this year, when I tried it and there was a security guard who wouldn't even let me go down the hall.) I impressed many friends with that maneuver. When we were done, we would leave through the front door and gazed lovingly at the Mets Hall of Fame along with the two World Series trophies (check out my photos from last season on Loge13). In 2001, there was the extra added pleasure of showcasing the National League Championship Trophy, (which appears to go from team to team much like the Stanley Cup.) So, I will miss the Grill Room too, and the way it used to make me feel it was MY stadium.


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by Kingman on September 30 at 6:47PM
Loge13's Ron Hunt stopped in the Grill Room Sunday to say goodbye to the staff there. And who walked through but baseball's greatest mascot: Mr. Met. The good news: He bought everybody a round!







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Shea Stadium's last day - September 28, 2008
Last night, I wrote up my thoughts on the last game at Shea Stadium. I thought it wise to separate that deflating experience from the final ceremony post.

The closing ceremony for Shea Stadium was a touching affair but the timing could not have been any worse. The crowd was angry and confused. Did our season really just end?

To the Brewers?

Thanks to the Marlins?

Can they open up the beer stands one last time?

And because the 2008 Mets couldn't deliver, Shea Stadium had to pay the ultimate price. There would be no playoff bunting adorning Shea's weary facade this fall. No postseason magic for our cherished ballpark. The construction crews were backing up the trucks and demolition time was nigh. We just had time for one quick farewell.

How bad was the mood? Even Mr. Met got some boos when he pulled down the final number of games left:




But most of the boo's were for Citi Field, whose logo was the last thing revealed under the Shea Stadium final game countdown. Perhaps fans are now starting to get it.

The Mets did a great job bringing out players from their history, not just the obvious (Seaver, Piazza, Willie Mays) but also the true fan gems (Felix Milan, Jerry Koosman, Doug Flynn et al). We got a nice charge seeing Dave Kingman himself trot out from right field. And of course, #33 Ron Hunt was on hand and I was sitting next to the biggest Ron Hunt fan in the stadium, no doubt.

It was also cool that some non-players got their kudos, including longtime groundskeeper Pete Flynn, the family of Tug McGraw, Gil Hodges' widow, Joy Murphy and Ralph Kiner.

And it was moving to see Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden back at Shea Stadium and to see the Shea crowd respond so warmly to them. Here is the ovation they both received:

 

Doc and Straw were the icons of my youth. They were pre-ordained for the Hall of Fame before they were ever assigned a number. We all know how that tale ended. In some ways, the Doc and Straw story is the story of Shea Stadium. So much promise. So many memories but in the end, they left us wanting just a bit more. But no matter what the imperfection, you can't help but love them, forgiving each fault along the way.

Shea Stadium closing ceremony - Seotember 28, 2008

At the ceremony's conclusion, each returning Met player lined up on the first and third base side. They then all proceeded to touch home plate one last time. Finally, Tom Seaver took the mound. He waved to the crowd and then in a classy show of respect, he pointed out to the retired #14 of his manager, and saluted. (In an unclassy move, the Mets have sold that #14 to some anonymous bidder. Ah tradition).

Seaver then bounced a last pitch to Mike Piazza and the two Met legends left the field together, exiting in center field.

Walking out from Shea Stadium was emotional. We left by Gate A where some Met players were being escorted out (Tim Teufel, Strawberry). I paused for a second before crossing from the painted white cement of Shea to the gray sidewalk outside her walls. Now I was gone from Shea Stadium for the last time. No more annual reunions with the Loge13 gang. No more blue and orange seats. No more "Wait till next year" for Shea. It's done.

Walking to the train, I asked my Dad how he felt. He was sad, he admitted, and also more than a little angry at how the Mets have treated us. season ticket holders. He nailed it. As fans, as longtime ticket holders, as lovers of Shea and baseball history - Sunday had no positive side to it.

I've been trying to explain to folks how I feel today about the whole thing. I think I figured it out. Did you ever go on a family vacation, an annual sojourn that you took with your parents, your siblings, cousins or friends? Maybe you went to the beach, or camping in the woods or to some fantasy park where you walk around wearing rodent ears. Whatever the destination, the outcome was the same - your head and heart were filled with sweet memories of a relaxed time with people you cared about, doing something fun.

That's what Shea Stadium was like for us 25-30 times a year. Each ticket to Loge13 was like a family vacation, where we gathered to talk, trade jokes, catch up on each other's lives and occasionally watch a baseball game.

Eventually the vacations end and all you have are those memories. But the first day back from that last trip can be a rough one.

Today is a rough one.

RIP Shea Stadium

End of Shea Stadium - September 28, 2008





[September 29, 2008 7:08 PM]  |  link  |  reply
NatKiller said

My heartfelt condolences to you and your loyal fan base on the passage of Shea Stadium and the demise of the Mets' season (choke - excuse me). Hopefully the transition to the new Stadium will force management to make the necessary changes to fix the team when it debuts next season, and more hopefully CitiBank still will be around so that the stadium retains its sponsor. Look on the bright side though - either the Mets finally will come through for you and restore partial season ticket plans, or else you can use the money you save and double the net worth of your current 401k plan. I just want to know if Art Shamsky was there - no offense, but you are much too old to claim that Doc Goooden and Darryl Strawberry were your boyhood idols. Till next season.

[September 29, 2008 9:03 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Bobster said

Well done, sir.

[September 29, 2008 11:16 PM]  |  link  |  reply
dyhrdmet said

well said. I have the feeling that there are quite a few of us that felt a huge loss leaving on Sunday, and not because of how the team played on the field in the closing days, or just the fact that the offseason is underway. you can get into debates over 'this guy' or 'that team' that called Shea home were not included, but the point and impact of the ceremony was the same. maybe Mr. Met was left alone to unveil the Citi Field logo under the number 1 on the countdown because Fred Wilpon wouldn't dare show his face to the crowd. on the other side of the coin, it looks like only those that watched the players instead of the video on Diamond Vision saw how the players reacted to seeing and being around Doc Gooden. seeing Doc & Daryl embrace would have been a great made-for-TV moment had a TV camera caught it (I have a small grainy shot of them alone together, but never saw it on TV). I'll shed a tear for Shea whenever I hear "In My Life" now, like I did sitting there and watching it from 3 decks above 1st base. The memories will always be there, in everyone's pictures and video clips, scorecards, yearbooks, video highlights, tapes of old games, the DVDs that are available, and the stories...but it just won't be the same. I heard someone say that the place in the Bronx was a 'house', and Shea was a 'home'. We're now homeless.

[September 30, 2008 7:50 AM]  |  link  |  reply
frank said

Wow, Shea is gone, The only stadium most of us knew ( i'm as old as it was ) listen I feel Shea madethe Mets look different on the highlight reels, its was familiar and comfortable, but now we have to move on, Citifield is the new place to be , new friends , new experiences and 40 years from now whi knows. I thing to remember we took Shea to the last day, no it did not work out , but we had a chance once again, i rather have that then 25 games out in August, Mets did a good job this year , better then last , it was fun and sad to see the ICON gone , but we gotta a new one next yr and the story will continue....

[September 30, 2008 9:14 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Kingman said

Dyhrdmet, you are right on. I was watching the players when Doc took the field. Darling came from across the diamond to hug Doc. Strawberry and Keith started play-acting as if they were going to re-enact their famous spring training brawl. Keith went around and took photos of everybody. I wonder if he has a blog...

[September 30, 2008 4:32 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Doug said

I did not get a chance to see any of the games this weekend (except Santana's gem on Saturday, because it was on the CW11), as I was away and not near SNY.

I was told the closing ceremony was nice. But I have to tell you, I am not going to miss Shea Stadium when it gets dismantled later this fall.

What will I miss? I will miss the friends with whom I have spent time with at Shea. I will miss all the Opening Day games I went to. I will miss the annual Saturday tailgate games I used to go to. I will miss the times I spent as a youngster in the then brand new picnic area with the Lions Club. I will miss the conversations I have had with my fellow Tuesday / Friday Plan holders. I will miss heckling those who tried to get a Wave through the backbone of the Mezzanine. Basically, I will miss the time I spent there and the people I was with, some of whom I rarely get to see anymore, more than the ballpark itself. I have those memories. No wrecking ball can take that away.

A high school teacher wrote in my yearbook 20 years ago, "Remember, endings are only new beginnings."

I am looking forward to moving on, and making new memories.

Keep Loge13 dot com going... Maybe you will have to rename it Promenade 403?

Hope springs eternal....

Cheers!
-Doug

[September 30, 2008 5:16 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Kingman said

Thanks, Doug, for all the great comments. I better go register that domain name, just in case...

[September 30, 2008 5:25 PM]  |  link  |  reply
dyhrdmet said

i think you should keep the name loge13.com. it's a tribute to shea stadium and the mets fan experience, the latter of which doesn't really end. should be some real interesting posts on the early days of citi field. and i like the 'kaboom' on the doomsday clock. but how did you know that's how it would end on sunday?

[September 30, 2008 6:47 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Kingman said

We were all set to re-set the Doomsday clock if the Mets provided a stay of execution. Otherwise it was set to expire at 11:59 PM on 9/28. I really thought it was going to be ticking in October.

[September 30, 2008 7:48 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Ron Hunt said

One way or another Loge13.com, like Loge 13 itself, will live forever.

It is our responsibility and duty. This much we know.

[April 3, 2009 4:11 PM]  |  link  |  reply
John said

Does anyone know where I could get a full copy of the Shea Stadium closing ceremonies? I have been waiting to see if one showed up on Ebay, but I have not seen one so far.
Thanks
John


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When the Mets stepped on the field Sunday afternoon, they were tied for the wild card, with the fate of both their season and Shea Stadium within control.

Nine innings later, both were history.

Here is the last time the Mets charged onto Shea's field of dreams.


Final record at Shea: 1859 wins, 1713 losses




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