Hello-and-Goodbye, Shea Stadium (9/7/08)

When early September 2008 rolled around, I thought to myself, “Self, Tim has never been to Shea Stadium and it is about to close.  Let’s not let that happen without getting Tim up to Queens.”

So, early in the morning on September 7, 2008, Tim and I hopped in the car and made our way up to Manhatten.  As is my standard practice, we parked on the upper west side.  We then walked with Tim on my shoulders from approximately 84th & Amsterdam to 42nd & Seventh Ave.  After a 7-train ride from Times Square station to Willets Point, we arrived at Shea Stadium.

1 - shea exterior.jpgIt was a day-night doubleheader.  We would attent only the day game.  As we made our way up to our seats in Upper Reserve section 10, Row M, the visitors’ dugout (occupied by the Phillies) welcomed us to Shea:

1a - Welcome to Shea.jpgIf there was batting practice, we didn’t make it in time for it.  As we made out way to out seats, the grounds crew was putting the final touches on the field.  We decided to head up to the last row…

2 - climbing to top of shea.jpg…to see the sights.  And I was interested to discover that we could see the Empire State Building off in the distance in Manhatten…

3 - shea empire state building.jpg…that’s it just above the bill of Tim’s hat.

And here was our view of Shea from the upper deck:

4 - shea upper reserve section 10 panorama.jpgAt least as I perceived it, Shea always got a bad rap.  Particularly, because everyone glorified Yankee Stadium (which to me was utterly unimpressive — particularly when compared to the other “old” ballparks, Wrigley Field and Fenway Park).  Anyway, I always liked Shea Stadium.  I probably attended 8 games total at Shea between 2000-2008 and I always found it to be a much more pleasant place to watch a ballgame than its neighbor in the Bronx.

Some kind Mets fan agreed to take our picture:

5 - TJCs at Shea.jpgNote how Citi Field appears to be about 2 feet away from Shea beyond the outfield fence.  I was both amazed and saddened the following April when Tim and I attended our first game at Citi Field and we discovered that Shea was already demolished and hauled away.

Soon, it was time for the game to begin.  The atmosphere in the stadium was electric.  The Phillies and Mets are pretty big rivals.  Entering the day, the Mets were leading the Phillies atop the N.L. East by two games.

The pitching was an epic battle between two “old goats” — my favorite pitcher of all-time, Jamie Moyer, and future Hall of Famer, Pedro Martinez…

6 - Moyer v. Pedro Martinez.jpg…by the way, “old goats” is Pedro’s description of himself and Moyer, not mine.

Early on, both old goats were dealing…

7 - Old Goats Dealing.jpg…my man, Moyer, would keep it up giving up only 2 hits and zero earned runs in 7 innings of work.  Pedro, however, would struggle starting in the second inning.

In the second inning, Pedro walked Jayson Werth.  Former Mariner Greg Dobbs followed with a double, Matt Stairs with a sac fly, and Carlos Ruiz hit a double.  And just like that, the Phillies led 2-0.

Two batters Pedro did manage to retire in the second were Ryan Howard and Jamie Moyer…

8 - Howard Whiffs Moyer Grounds Out.jpg…Howard looked silly flailing at several pitches and ultimately striking out.  Moyer at least put the ball in play.

It was a big snack day for Tim.  We started off with some french fries.  Then, it was time for a Shea Stadium Mets ice cream helmet:


9 - Shea Ice Cream Helmet.jpgA couple innings into the game, we decided to explore the stadium a bit.  I knew this would be Tim’s only chance to ever see Shea.  So I wanted us to see what it had to offer.

Here are a couple stadium views from inside the concourses and ramps on our way down to the field level…

10 - concourses.jpg…I think that picture to the left is pretty interesting.  It shows that Shea Stadium had two sets of ramps circling the stadium.

Moyer was still pitching a gem.

11 - Moyer continues to deal.jpgWith a win in this game, Moyer would run his record to 13-7 on the season and it was his 243rd win of his excellent career.

Since the stadium would soon be history, I wanted to document as much of it as possible.  Here is a stadium map that hung inside the concourse behind section 31 in the Loge level:

12 - loge level map.jpgI had never done much exploring at Shea before.  But I knew there were some standing room areas down each foul line.  So that’s where we headed out in RF.

13 - RF field level standing room.jpgAs you can see, the standing room area is in an inside concourse with a screen in front of it.  Back in 2003, I watched almost an entire game from the corresponding standing room area down the LF foul line.  Its a nice little spot.  Interestingly, that other game I watched from the standing room area was also part of a Sunday doubleheader and it was also a 7 inning, 2 hit, zero earned run win by Jamie Moyer.

Tim and I hung out there a little while so Tim could run around in circles.

Here is a panoramic view of Shea Stadium from the seats closest to the standing room area:

13a - shea RF corner field level.jpgNext, we started to make our way toward home plate.  On the way, I saw this interesting ketchup and mustard packet dispenser…

14 - ketchup mets mustard.jpg….which I thought was pretty interesting.  Seems like most stadiums have ketchup and mustard pumps, not little packets.  I wonder if someone bought this ketchup and mustard contraption once the Mets started trying to sell off any-and-everything from Shea Stadium.  Actually, if you want one of these, click here.

We saw that there were plenty of empty seats toward the home plate area.  This wasn’t a planned doubleheader and it wasn’t a make-up of a game from early in the season.  No.  This game was supposed to be played the night before.  In fact, we had planned to attend the game on September 6th.  Anyway, it appeared that some of the people who planned to attend the game on the 6th couldn’t make it on the 7th.  And we were the beneficiaries.

I snapped some pictures of the Phillies stellar corps of infielders on our way to our final seats of the day…

15 - phils infielders.jpg…Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmie Rollins each had one hit on the day.  But the big hitting star of the day was Greg “The Dobbers” Dobbs who was 2-4 with a 3-run 4th inning homerun off of Pedro Martinez.  He also scored 2 runs.  After the 4th inning, the Phillies led 6-0.

And here are our final seats of the day in (I believe) section 215:

16 - infield box seats.jpgAnd here is my best effort at patching together a panoramic view from these seats:

17 - shea 1B field panorama.jpgIt was a great spot to see the action up close…

18 - Pedro Feliz at bat.jpg…like this pitch to Phils third basemen, Pedro Feliz.

And it was nice to see Mets first basemen and big-time slugger, Carlos Delgado…

19 - Mets infield.jpg…who went 0-4 on the day.

Here is a shot of the Phillies dugout and the Mets logo behind home plate as Shane “The Flying Hawaiian” Victorino approaches the plate:

20 - Victorino approaches plate.jpgPedro Martinez only lasted 4 innings and left trailing 6-0.  A host of Mets relievers finished off the fifth through ninth innings without giving up any more runs.

Moyer lasted 7 innings before Scott Eyre came in and gave up the only two Mets runs in the 8th inning.  The Phillies won the game by a final score of 6-2 to move to 1-game back of the Mets.  In the nightcap, Johan Santana beat Cole Hamels and the Mets re-took a 2-game lead in the N.L. East, a lead they would build to 3.5 games a few days later and then squander to miss the playoffs completely.

This was the 14th to last game game at Shea Stadium.  It was great to add Shea to Tim’s baseball stadium resume.  We got one more picture to commemorate the day…

21 - TJCs lower Shea and cowbell man.jpg…by the way, in that picture “Cow-Bell Man” is standing behind us.  He let Tim clank his cowbell during the game.  “MORE COWBELL!”

On our way out of Shea Stadium for the final time, I took a picture of the four seating decks above the field level…

22 - 5 levels of Shea.jpgOn this sign, Mr. Met thanked the exiting crowd for coming out to Shea Stadium:

23 - goodbye from shea.jpgThe crowd made its way out of the Stadium, many of them like us never to return.

24 - Goodbye Shea.jpgThe next time we traveled to Queens, it would be to visit the new Citi Field, and many people like us would miss the simple and stripped down charm of Shea Stadium and its brightly colored seats.

Goodbye, Shea Stadium.

3 Comments

That is a COOL photo of the two pitchers together on the mound. Cool photos all around. I have to say, though, that it was hard for me to look at them. Shea was practically my second home. I experienced the highest highs (catching the last Mets homer ever at Shea) and the lowest lows (being ejected four times when I was younger and being made to cry by a swat team of security goons who ganged up on me). I snagged my first balls ever at Shea in 1990, and I finally conquered the damn place on September 28, 2008. I always complained about Shea a lot, but I now miss it terribly.

ZACK-
Thanks. Its too bad I didn’t have my current camera at the time. The pictures could have been so much better if I had a decent zoom. Although I never caught any game homeruns and was never ejected from a game, my feelings about the Kingdome are very similar to yours of Shea. Fortunately for me, however, I love Safeco Field. Sorry you can’t say the same about Citi Field. Maybe someday you will. Hopefully, because I have it on pretty good authority that Shea is never coming back.
-Todd

You’re like the second best dad in the entire world! (Uhh mine’s first sorry heh heh heh!) I know I say this every time but your son is really gonna appreciate what you and your father continue to do for him! Maybe mom can come along one of these days ;)

I love your photos (esp. Tim with the ice cream :D so cute) as always and I’m glad you had a great time! Well I can only go to Citi Field from now on since Shea is gone. I too would like to travel to as many ball parks as possible! Hopefully I can!

best of luck to the M’s (but not really :D) this season!

http://mimi.mlblogs.com

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