The Zionist Conspiracy
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Memories Of Shea - The Last Game
Shea was tense and excited on Sunday evening, September 7, 2008. After entering the weekend series with a three game lead, the Mets had lost the first two games to the Phillies, including that afternoon's opener of a day-night doubleheader.
The lead was down to one game. And the pitching matchup was Johan Santana vs. Cole Hamels.
Santana was shaky in the first, lucky to escape with only a one-run deficit. But the Mets scored three in the bottom of the inning. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was ejected, to the delight of the very loud Shea crowd.
From then on, Santana was masterful, pitching into the eighth and giving up only one more run. Carlos Delgado's two homers sealed the win for the Mets, who could exhale just a little with a two game lead.
As I was leaving, it sort of occurred to me that this could possibly be my last visit to Shea. But there were still three weeks left in the season, and then hopefully the playoffs - to which I had tickets.
I long ago lost count of the number of times I've been to Shea. A rough estimate would be 175 Mets game and three Jets games.
Last week I visited Citi Field for the first time. It felt cold and distant, like the way it felt when my parents upgraded from our close-knit dumpy Monticello bungalow colony to a nicer place in South Fallsburg. As for Shea, most of its remains hadn't yet been paved for parking.
A few have quoted Joni Mitchell. They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot.
Shea wasn't really paradise, not for a long time. Soon enough, Citi Field will feel like home, and it will probably be a better place to watch a game.
Still, for those of us whose earliest sports experiences were at Shea, who had a sense of wonderment at the first glimpse of the stadium from the train or car and loved watching the planes, no new stadium can replicate the memories.