course, Shea would not leave this world without a fight.
have the post season wrapped up tight on a balmy Indian summer
afternoon. Oh no, we had to go into today tied with the Brewers for the
wild card, our already churning emotions further swirled by the fervor of a pennant race. Today could be the end of Shea, the end of
the season...or the prelude to a wild card tie breaker,
or (with a Cub win) a jaunt into the NLDS and a chance to take my kids
to their first playoff game in Shea's last year.
You could say I was
The weather was as uncooperative as the Phillies. The
Sunday forecasts called for sun and mid-70's.. I woke up to heavy cloud cover
and steady showers as I headed to the train. Figures.
But you knew this is how Shea would go out - cold and wet and in chaos. Just like April, 1985 when Gary Carter hit his first game winning home run as a Met
while we all huddled around heaters in the upper deck bathroom. Just
like that blustery game 7 in 1986, an event delayed one day by massive
downpours Just like Todd Hundley night
when the skies opened up as the Mets honored our new home run catcher
king (just before they exiled him to left field for a new king). Just
like countless April and September nights in our Monday/Wednesday/Thursday plans when the only knuckleheads in the stadium were us and
the ones in uniform on the field.
Shea was going out gritty and nasty today, just like we always knew she would.
ultimately the Mets just went out nasty, doing Shea a massive disservice by
surrendering to the Marlins 4-2, while the Brewers won 3-1 over the Cubbies.
like that the season was over.
And Shea was over.
And my lifetime of
memories had lost their mooring - our precious blue and orange concrete
horseshoe was gone.
So much happened today that one post probably won't do. I will save my thoughts on the closing ceremony for later...after I can think straight again.
began great. I started at Grand Central a bit after 11 AM. I thought I
might get lucky and catch an old 7 train that the MTA had put back into
commission for one more ride to Shea. Instead, as I stood on the
Eastbound platform, a set of old subway cars rode by me heading to Times Square,
a mix and match of antique red and gray ghosts from the 1950's,
1960's, 1970's and 1980's. Before I could get my camera out the trains were gone,
receding into the darkness, now just like Shea.
Here is what the final ride into Shea Stadium looked like on the 7 train:
the crowds were already swelling at 11:30 AM. I hung out near the
Diamond Club offices where some Met legends were already arriving. I got to see Rusty, Bud Harrelson and Ed Charles walk by.
rains were coming down thick and heavy, so I headed in. I slowly
wandered my way up to the Upper Deck, stopping at each section to take
some photos. Here was the Mezzanine view of Shea Stadium's soggy field, before game time.
By the time I made the Upper Deck, above gate A, I could see the red carpet and some of the Met legends coming in from the SNY outdoor studio.
I saw Doc Gooden and Seaver walk in together. Also saw Todd Zeile, Teufel, Dykstra and others. Each time a player came in, the corridors of Shea exploded in joy. The rain wasn't washing out the fan frenzy.
The game finally started at 2:00. Oliver Perez did his best to keep us in the game until the 6th. The story of the day (and the weekend): Mets hitters didn't show up. We scored a total of 5 runs against the Marlins in the series. You can't do that and expect to be competitive. Carlos Beltran's 2-run home run to tie the game was electrifying. Sadly, it was the last Met home run in Shea history.
But not the last home run. In the top of the 8th, with the score still tied, Manuel decided to remove Brian Stokes (why?) for Scott Schoenweis. He promptly gave up a home run and the lead, thus securing his name as the answer to the trivia question: "Who lost the last game in Shea history?"
season ended right there. The Mets could not recover and when the last out was recorded, the 2008 season was finished and Shea Stadium was doomed.
Tomorrow they will begin dismantling Shea Stadium. Someday soon, I will get a refund check from the Mets for the post season tickets not being used this year. Then the denizens of Loge13 will have no more business connection with the New York Mets organization, after 24 years.
It has been an emotional day on many levels. All there is left to say is: thanks for the memories, Shea Stadium. Thanks for the great times at the ballgame, Marv and everyone in Loge13. And thanks to my parents, with whom I shared hundreds of fantastic games at Shea. It's been a big part of our lives and a friend to the family for several generations. You will never be forgotten.