— Days Without Shea —

Filed under: Baseball | Mets
by Kingman on August 2 at 8:29AM
Kingman's vacation starts this weekend. I am off work two weeks and largely off the Internet so apologies in advance if Loge13 is not updated as frequently as you'd like.

I will be at Citi Field Monday night and will try and report in.

The second week of Kingman Summer Vacation, we're heading to upstate NY. One of our rainy day activities will be visiting  Cooperstown. But what are the odds of it raining this summer?

Great win last night. Watched Angel Pagan's grand slam. Everyone's ebullient about the imminent return of our wounded warriors but I'm having fun just watching the kids play. Lets Go Mets!

[August 25, 2009 3:06 AM]  |  link  |  reply
DanTheMetFanInTampa said

Being a Met fan since the mid 60’ when I discovered baseball has been one of the best parts of my life. Living in ’69, seeing the last out of the Series, it’s one of those moments in your life you never forget (in the teacher’s lounge in St Francis Grammar School, in Metuchen, NJ, I didn’t want to go home from school for fear of missing a moment of the game.

In ’86, the thrill of it all over again. I was married in 1986. But compared to a World Series championship, it didn’t come close.

Through the years trips to Shea weren’t frequent. I probably didn’t get there more than 30 times in 20 years. But it was comforting to know it was there and I could go see a game. We had planned on moving to Florida as soon as possible after we were married. South of Tampa, Bradenton to be exact. Not too bad, the Mets were still in St Pete back then, not only could I see them at Al Lang, they would come to Bradenton to play the Pirates and Sarasota to see the White Sox, and I could go to Plant City, Dunedin, Clearwater and see my glorious Mets prepare to win another championship. Then they broke my heart and moved east to newer digs.

Those first few years of the Devil Rays brought the Mets here a few times. I never thought I would actually be grateful for interleague play. Then it all stopped. Met vs Rays became history. Until a couple of years ago. The last Spring Training game in Florida was at “The Trop”. My beloved Mets would be in town. Yeah, they lost. But I saw them lose. In person.

Then came the announcement, the place of comfort, the place I counted on being there if I got north during the summer, glorious Shea Stadium was giving way for a news Mets ballpark. I couldn’t believe it. Even not going all that often, I couldn’t believe what the Mets were doing! In the name of what? Progress? You gotta be kidding me. The Mets and Shea go together. How could they do this?

So, in the summer of ’08, I had to make one last trek to the place that was amazing in ’69, the place that went crazy in ’86, the place that brought the country back after 9/11, the place that the Beatles packed, the place that even a Yankee Fan like Billy Joel respected with the last concert. Planed the trip to NJ for a long weekend the Mets were home. Friday July 11th, Gate E, Mezz, Section 21, Row E, Seats 18 & 19.

The weekend before I was on the east coast. I drove home through Pt St Lucie just so I could stop by Tradition Field, maybe get a new hat. No hats I wanted. But there on the wall was a collectors piece, the framed photo of Shea in ’64 and in ’08. With the last season coin and the infield dirt. It was the last one they had. “I’ll take it I said” And as an afterthought, “Oh, what does it cost?” Like it mattered. It was a piece of history. It was the last one. It was mine.

I went with my friend Cheryl, another long time Met Fan. Early up on the 11th, drive to Tampa , get to Newark, rent the car, check into the hotel in Edison, drive to Flushing, don’t want to get stuck in traffic. I want as much time there as possible.

It was more than 20 years since I was at Shea. A lot had changed in those years. We got there around 3:30. It was odd; it was the first time I ever drove to Shea. I always went with a group by bus or took the train and subway. Hey, I’m a train nut too, since I was little, my grandmother who lived in Woodside always took me on a train ride on the #7 train. Just seeing Shea on those trips was an awesome sight.

We walked around the grand old place. I just looked thinking, how can they tear down this place for THAT thing? I just shook my head wondering “why?”

The Mets won that night, 2-1 to Colorado. I remember it was a nail biter, I think Colorado loaded the bases a lot later in the game. But a Damon Easley homer won the game for the Mets. The night game was important; I wanted to see the place in daylight and at night. See the neon. See the lights inside. See the skyline lit up. See the scoreboard in all its glory. The Mets created a lot of memories for me growing up, even when they lost. They did that night too. My personal farewell to Shea. It was bittersweet. It was sad. It was fun.

I’m still in denial. I think I’ll get up north, hop the 7 train out of Times Square and Shea will still be there. See the one collectible piece they Mets didn’t even own, that subway sign, “Willets Point Shea Stadium”.

We got in the car and Cheryl said to me “Thanks for the game. It meant a lot to me that you asked me to come with you. Here, this is for you.” We spent an hour in the team store before the game. Liar, liar pants on fire. That Mets keychain with the last season logo and infield dirt she bought for “her brother”? Nope, it was for me. People ask me what it is. I say a memory of my growing up. Infield dirt from Shea Stadium. Most don’t get it.

I can only live the demolition of Shea through the blogs and You Tube Videos. It’s sad every time I go look at them. That one You Tube video of the kids that got into the remnants in January is really sad to watch. But I watch it over and over again. The demolition of that other place? I could care less. The last game at Shea I was glued to the TV all day. The other place? I went to the movies. My memories are from a grand stadium that was once in Flushing, next to the World’s Fair, that hosted concerts and the Jets and helped bring NYC back from 9/11.

The auctions are too expensive for me. If I had known what a napkin holder was going for, I would have grabbed one and stuck it in that “free gift” for applying for a credit card at the game. But tonight I saw a brick for sale, $50. So maybe…

Down here we get a lot of flack from local broadcasters about going to Rays games wearing apparel from other teams. I don’t care, I’m a Met Fan. I’ve been a Met Fan since I was in 3rd or 4th grade. I’ll root for the Rays. But I’m wearing my Mets hat. Like I said, most don’t get it. But the Mets and Shea are part of my history. I’m a Mets fan. Part of my growing up in New Jersey. Always a part of me.

Thanks to all of you for keeping the place that’s gone from our eyes alive in our hearts and minds.

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