— Days Without Shea —

Shea Stadium and Citi Field on September 10, 2008
I have taken lots of photos of Shea and Citi from this angle but I especially like this one from Wednesday night. Under an early autumn sky, Shea shimmers in all its blue and orange gaudiness. CitiField (with its corporate logo...er i mean name) now affixed upon its top, sorta blends into the background, its not yet arrived.

I have been posting the best of Shea tributes as I find them. The Queens Tribune ran a few yesterday (read them here). One in particular stands out. So many of us associate Shea Stadium and baseball to great moments with our Dads, Moms and/or families. This memory is especially poignant:

A Lasting Memory With Dad

My father took me to my first baseball game sometime in September 1972. It was such an unforgettable experience that I can still recall images from that game today, as if it just happened yesterday. It was a beautiful evening- late September. From a very young age, I was crazy about baseball. My big hero was Tom Seaver.

The stadium was Shea Stadium, in my opinion, the world capital of baseball. Until then my only visual contact with big-league baseball had been on a 10-inch, black-and-white television screen, so I was not prepared when the subway train shot into the sunlight of the elevated tracks at the 74th Street-Broadway / Roosevelt Avenue stop in Jackson Heights. Color was everywhere. My father lifted me up so I could see.

I remember my eyes taking in the beautiful, green field, the baselines, and the bases. That day has stayed with me through these 40 years and I can see it just as clearly as way back then. The best part was coming in to take our seats. We had seats along the first base line in the second deck. The Mets were playing the Pirates. My father had just gotten me just gotten me a program and my father was starting to explain keeping score. A player on the Pirates had made history that day by hitting a milestone homerun. However, I do not remember who it was. Then the game was over. In retrospect, it was an ordinary ballgame. But, to me it was just so special-my first baseball game and I was with my dad. The Mets lost, 5-0.

After that, it was time for us to leave. We had talked about batting and hitting and home runs and players, but nine innings on a cool September night with a little boy who loved every minute of being there was a great start to what should be many years of total fun.

We headed out of the gate to our parking lot. On our way out, I remember talking to my dad about how much fun we had. I was glad that the day was everything I had hoped it would be, and a little more. We took the subway back to Penn Station and found seats together on a crowded commuter train. Looking out the window at the creeping twilight, I felt sadness. My father, reading my face, asked me what was wrong. I told him I didn’t know. He said it was okay to be sad and not know why. It seems to me now that this ride marked the first time my father had really taken me anywhere-as he was very, very sick. He had blood clots in his legs and was in and out of the hospital. Mom had always prepared me for the worst.

When we got home, my I couldn’t wait to tell my mom all about our day. I didn’t leave out a detail, from telling her how quickly the ice cream melted, to how many people were there (“there must have been a million”, I said; there were more like 40,000), and how men walked around selling lemonade. I told mom in my sweet, little-girl voice, with a big, wide-eyed smile on my face, “today was the best day of my entire life.”

One night, nearly 6 months later in March 1973, my father died at the age of 47. This day has stayed with me through these 40 years and I can see it just as clearly as way back then. The remembrance of sharing one of the greatest days’ of my life with my father coupled with a profound love for the game, is now passed along to my own son.

Michelle Grasberg
Ozone Park

[September 12, 2008 10:50 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Bobster1985 said

That's a really wonderful story. Very poignant. Thanks for printing it.

[February 12, 2009 1:02 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Todd Grasberg said

Hello Michelle,

I came accross this article and realize you are my cousin. Your fathers name was Seymour.
Great. Love to hear from you.

Your cousin, Todd

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