Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Change of a Different Kind

I seemed to be one of the few people rather nonplussed from yesterday's Inaugural Ceremonies in Washington DC. While the word "Change" was thrown around enough times to make you want to scream, it's going to be a while before we actually see a change. And even then, there's no guarantee what kind of changes we will see. But it requires patience and temperance, and a lot of effort on our own part. Changes have to begin at home before they can be felt across the nation.

We have our own change coming as Mets fans, and this too has been a change that we've been waiting for. We've been waiting for a couple of years now for our change, and come April 13th, the Change will be here at last. The change, of course, is the move from Shea Stadium to Citi Field. But whereas Barack Obama's promise of change is met with widespread hopefulness, it seems like many of us seem to treat this change with a degree of disdain.

Assumedly, and given the attitude of Fabulous Freddie and the Boy-King, Change, for the Mets fan, could very well mean abandoning the rich history and culture we developed over the 45 seasons at Shea Stadium. Change, in moving to Citi Field, would mean adopting a new way of life, where the past is given a faint nod, but it's not our past. It's someone else's past. And it's not the past that we want to remember, it's the past they want us to remember. Mets history has sometimes been dotted with moments when it was more "They" than "Us," and though it's purely speculative that this will become the norm once Citi Field opens for business, the Wilpons have given us enough of an indication to make us fear that this will be the case. Citi Field, after all, isn't going to be known as "The House David Wright Built" unless the Mets go out and win a bunch of World Series Championships, and right now, it's being derided as "Taxpayer Field" or "The House Fred Wilpon Built."

I often feel that we're going into Citi Field with the wrong attitude. Perhaps it's the conglomeration of the way the last two seasons have ended. Combine that with the relatively lax attitude Freddie and Jeffy-poo have taken towards the team itself, and the state of the economy, and the way Shea has basically been auctioned off to the highest bidder, have combined to leave a pretty bad taste in all of our mouths. Yet, I'm excited to go into Citi Field on April 13th. It should be the start of a new era for Mets fans, but not the kind of era the Wilpons seem to want, it should be an era that we, the fans, create. It shouldn't be a time of silent loathing towards ownership, it should be a time of hope, and moving forward. It shouldn't be a time to ignore the past, it should be a time to embrace it, remember it, and continue to build on it.

Shea Lives! Shea will continue to live, for as long as anyone whoever sat inside there on a sun-soaked Sunday Afternoon with 55,000 in the house, or for anyone who came on a Chilly Mid-April Wednesday night with 17,000 fans will remember it. For as long as we continue to have highlight films, DVDs, photos and video of games played there, as long as we have people who write and continue to write about what a magical place it was, and as long as we remember the players who played there, Shea Stadium will always live on. Change will only mean giving up Shea Stadium if we, as fans, change who we are. And we will never change our identity. As Mets fans, Shea Stadium is always a part of us. A new Stadium can only change our vantage point for watching the Mets, but it can't change our memories and it can't change our History. Shea Stadium may be gone physically, but it will endure and continue to move forward with us into Citi Field.

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