— 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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