Shea Stadium

 Major League Baseball Park #27 out of 39


Saturday, July 29, 2000


NY Mets 4, St. Louis Cardinals 3


W– Rick White

L – Mike James


Attendance – 50,726



          Shea Stadium opened in April of 1964 and was named after an attorney who played an important role in bringing another team to New York after the Giants and Dodgers moved to California. The Mets' first season was 1962 and they played their first two seasons at the Polo Grounds. Apparently, there were few fond memories left behind in 1964 because the Mets lost 120 games their first year and got nine games better in 1963.
         Shea has a few ballpark oddities, but not many and not that strange. Just beyond the center-field fence -- whenever a Met hits a homerun -- a big red apple rises out of a top hat. There are neon representations of generic hitting and pitching stances around the outside of the stadium. Flushing Meadows -- site of the tennis U.S. Open can be seen when looking west. The fences haven't moved much since the first year. LaGuardia Airport is just three miles northwest of the stadium so you can imagine what it must sound like to watch a Mets game in the middle of tourist season. The Beatles played there in August 1965 and August 1966 so the place gains a few cool points because of that.
         In 1969, just their eighth season of existence, they won 100 games, beat the Braves in the first year of the NLCS, and dominated the 109-win Orioles to win their first World Series in five games. The Mets made one playoff appearance in 1973 and didn't play any meaningful games in October until 1986 when they contributed to the so-called Curse of the Bambino, beating the Red Sox in seven games.
        The end of the 2000 season featured a "Subway Series" and the Mets lost to the Yankees in five games. Honestly, no one outside outside New York cared who won that matchup.
        Our road-trip during that 2000 season began with a flight into LaGuardia Airport and then a taxi ride out to our hotel in Queens. Because of New York's fantastic public-transit system, we didn't pick up our rental car until we checked out of our hotel and started heading north to Canada. I guess the trains only go so far.
        When we got to Shea, we stood in line for several minutes to buy tickets and while we were waiting, this particular song blared over the P.A. system and made us feel like we were back in the "It's A Small World" ride at Disneyland. The tune, written by Roberts and Katz, goes like this:

    Meet The Mets,
    Meet The Mets,
    Step right up and greet the Mets!
    Bring your kiddies,
    bring your wife;
    Guaranteed to have the time of your life
    because the Mets are really sockin’ the ball; knocking those home runs over the wall!
    East side, West side,
    everybody’d coming down
    to meet the M-E-T-S Mets of New York town!

Oh, the butcher and the baker and the people on the streets,
    where did they go? To MEET THE METS!
    Oh, they’re hollerin’ and cheerin’ and they’re jumpin’ in their seats,
    where did they go? To MEET THE METS!
    All the fans are tru to the orange and blue,
    so hurry up and come on down -
    ‘cause we’ve got ourselves a ball club,
    The Mets of New York town!
    Give ‘em a yell!
    Give ‘em a hand!
    And let ‘em know your rootin’ in the stand!

             The game itself was fairly uneventful. It happened to be the Mets' debut for Mike Bordick, but he would return to Baltimore to start the 2001 season. Melvin Mora was dealt by the Mets to get Bordick and I'm guessing that New York would love to have him back these days. My wife and I did meet a father and son who -- when they found out why we were there -- became a bit more determined to do the same thing themselves someday. I hope by now they've traveled a bit, but I don't think I'll ever know for sure.
          The pictures below are, in order, the view from our seats, one of the neon figures, looking out to center field, the New York skyline in the distance looking west, and a sign on a streetlight pole attempting to re-create the Amazing Mets season of 1969. They almost did it.





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