I’m sitting at the dinner table with my wife discussing tickets for the upcoming season, and for some reason the subject of Citi Field came up. I came out and said how I just couldn’t get into the new stadium – it’s simply impossible. Of course she stated, “Why?” and that was all it took.
I know it’s been three years, but I guess it never sat with me well. Yes we needed a new stadium, it was old and not up to modern day standards – but it was Shea – my second home, the place of history, the die hards in the Uppers, the zig zagging stairs and the porch out in center field.
Shea Stadium was not Fenway or Wrigley, but it was ours. I still remember how to get around Shea. It was a treat to sit in field level and all the good eats were down there – yet I still preferred a hot dog. You felt special in the Loge, but Mezz was just as good. You always found yourself in the Uppers with your second family, but that was the best spot in the park. You saw everything from up there and with your people. The fans who knew the stats, the history, the good times, the bad times – and the bad times.
You cannot deny the greatness that was experienced at Shea. From last to first – and against the Baltimore Orioles of all teams. The black cat and the Cubs. Tommie Agee’s shot to the upper deck. Carter’s homerun Opening Day 1985. Pratt’s homerun in 1999. Piazza’s post 9/11 homerun (The greatest moment in NY sports history).
I was there to witness Estes hit a homer against Clemens. I saw Endy’s catch. I was there for the final Opening Day and the final game ever. I watched Tom & Mike walk off the field. I took my daughter to her first ball game there like my parents did when I was a kid. When my second daughter came along, I made sure it was one of the first things we did together.
My romance with the Mets began in that building back in 1987 when they lost to the Montreal Expos, which may be the most important reason why I miss Shea so much. My love for baseball and the Mets is so strong, I find myself bummed out about an old building that once sat in Flushing, NY – but because it marked the beginning of my love affair with the greatest sport ever, I will always cherish the big blue building with it’s neon lights.