Showing posts with label Shea Stadium. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shea Stadium. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Where Are We?

I'd mentioned that I was visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame last weekend. I'd been to the Hall of Fame several times before, but not in over 10 years. The Hall itself is, of course, Baseball Mecca as it were, but for those in my audience who haven't ever visited, I'll give a brief background.

The Baseball Hall of Fame is located in Cooperstown, NY, a sleepy little village located in Upstate New York, somewhere in between Binghamton, Albany and Syracuse. Cooperstown itself is a charming little town with one stoplight and a small main drag where the Hall of Fame is located. Also on this drag are a number of charming little stores selling all sorts of Baseball-related tchochkes. The Hall itself is constantly evolving; their collection ranges far beyond what's actually on display and they have exhibits that rotate in and out from time to time.

That said, every time I've visited Cooperstown, there has always been a wide array of Mets items on display.

For some reason, this was not the case this time around. I can't think of a good reason why this has happened.

I spent a good few hours browsing the shops along Main Street, where I found only one store that had any kind of decent selection of Mets items (mostly overpriced T-shirts). Baseball cards, forget it. But if you rooted for a team like the Yankees, or the Red Sox, or even the Phillies, you could pick and choose from whatever you wanted. Just not the Mets. This didn't sit well with me.

Then, I went into the Hall of Fame.

I know that the Mets don't have the storied history of certain franchises, but they do have a history, and a pretty damn good one at that. But if you want to go to the Hall of Fame and learn about the Mets, don't waste your time, because they've barely bothered to acknowledge them. And that's a crime.

Don't get me wrong, there's some Mets-related displays here and there. There's a small photo of Joan Payson located in a "Women in Baseball" section. Further along, there's a photo of Tom Seaver, the lone Met represented in the Hall of Fame, aside from a jersey of his in the Baseball History timeline section. Moving further along, into the "Locker Room" section, where items from each team are shown, there's a baseball that Johan Santana used in his No Hitter this season, which quickly made its way to Cooperstown. But if you're looking for something interesting in the Mets display, well, I can't really share that with you, because I didn't see anything of note.

There's a few things worth mentioning in the Hall of Records section, somewhat begrudgingly, as if they had to mention these token Mets because they hold records of some significance. Mike Piazza's bat, which he used to break the Catching Home Run record in 2004, is there, as is Tom Seaver's glove that he used when he struck out 10 batters in a row. Also buried in the back of a display case is a "K" sign that was "one of many used to count strikeouts notched by Mets rookie Dwight Gooden during games at Shea Stadium in 1984."

The World Series section also gives the Mets short shrift. There is a video display that does show the 1969 Mets winning their World Series Championship, but once that video loops around to the 1980s, there's the Dodgers, and the Cardinals, and the Tigers, and the Twins...

...But no Mets. Where are the 1986 Mets? Where is, perhaps, the most memorable little roller in the History of Baseball? The only thing there is a small photo of Ray Knight, in a corner on an adjacent wall. Not even worth a photo.

But that's not the most galling part of this trip.

On the 3rd floor, is a hall of Ballparks. There are displays and items from all sorts of ballparks, from those long gone to the current time. You're greeted with a full panorama display of Ebbets Field when you enter the room. On one side is an Astrodome display. On the other side, a full row of seats from Veterans Stadium, right next to a giant Philly Phanatic costume. There's displays from Three Rivers Stadium, Riverfront Stadium, any stadium you could think of. I was delighted to see this, and went searching around, because certainly, there had to be some items from Shea Stadium, right?

RIGHT???

Well, there wasn't anything. Just a little ignominious sign on a timeline, that said something like Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets, 1964-2008. No seats. No bricks. No photos. No nothing.

So, let me get this straight. You can put out a row of seats from boring, decrepit, doughnut-shaped Veterans Stadium, but Shea Stadium, which was unique and iconic for its time (and outlasted The Vet by several years) gets nothing? That ruined my visit right then and there.

Well, I guess I can't say there's nothing whatsoever from Shea. Buried somewhere in the recesses of the Hall, by the Kids Klubhouse or whatever it's called, there was one piece from Shea, though. It was the retired number circle for Casey Stengel from the outfield wall. You know, back where nobody would notice it.

The gift shop was no better. There was a Mets shirt that listed "Mets Hall of Famers," and right at the top of it was Roberto Alomar. Roberto Alomar was certainly a Met, although we'd rather forget that, and he's certainly a Hall of Famer. But a Met Hall of Famer? No thank you.

So, in summation, this is an open complaint to the Hall of Fame. I came to see the Mets well and rightly represented, and I was sorely let down. This is the fifth time I've visited the Hall, and every time prior, there was plenty of Mets stuff on display. Now, they're being shoved off into corners, only acknowledged because it appears like they have to be, not because they should be. This isn't right. Even my girlfriend, not a Baseball fan, noticed this. Why are the Mets being ignored? Am I the only one who's made this trip recently to notice this? What have the Mets done to merit this treatment? I'm incensed enough by all this that I'm compelled to write a letter to the Hall expressing my displeasure. Maybe I'm nuts, but the Mets deserve more recognition then they're receiving, all over Cooperstown.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Final Tip of the Cap


This was my final glimpse of Shea Stadium, as I left on September 28th, 2008. I, like others, did not return to the Shea site after that date. I did, however, diligently follow the destruction of Shea, piece by piece, through sites like Stadiumpage.com, and the work of people like citi_field on Webshots. But I never went in person. Even in the years that they weren't tearing down Shea, I preferred not to go out there between October and April. I preferred to remember Shea as it was when I was going there with purpose, not just passing through on my way to someplace else. In other words, I prefer to remember Shea as it was on a night like this:
(Photo from October 12, 2006)

as opposed to today, February 18th, 2009, where, in a rather ignominius bit of symmetry, Shea finally fell to the ground on my 30th Birthday.

I have, previously, said my peace on Shea, and I know my feelings are echoed by multitudes of Mets fans around me. It's gone now. But it's never dead.

Just look here.

Or here.

Or here.

Or here.

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.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Shea Statistics, Mets2Moon Style

It's been a little too easy to be negative around here lately, obviously due to recent events involving the Mets and their rivals, and while I still have plenty to say in regard to this, I think it more appropriate to do a little something I'd planned for a while, which is a summation of my life at Shea Stadium, for 22 seasons and 269 games. I did a brief rundown of my game statistics last year, in commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of my first Mets game in 1987, but that was somewhat bare-bones. It's always been my tradition to buy and keep a scorecard of every game I've been to (This practice has become a pricey proposition as time has passed, but I'm incredibly superstitious about these things), and I keep them stored in a series of binders encompassing the history I've witnessed (Postseason games are kept separately). Shea is being dismantled more and more with each passing day, and though I've done several photo-heavy posts about it, this one's for me.

Highlights of the 269:
Regular Season W-L: 155-109
Postseason W-L: 5-0

The First: August 23, 1987 (Mets 9, Padres 2)
The Last: September 28, 2008 (Marlins 4, Mets 2)

W-L By Team:
Atlanta Braves: 13-12
Florida Marlins: 8-9
Philadelphia Phillies 14-11
Montreal Expos: 10-9
Washington Nationals: 3-3
(Expos/Nationals Combined: 13-12)
Chicago Cubs: 8-8
Cincinnati Reds: 9-5
Houston Astros: 9-4
Milwaukee Brewers: 8-2
Pittsburgh Pirates: 6-6
St. Louis Cardinals: 14-9
Arizona Diamondbacks: 5-3
Colorado Rockies: 10-3
Los Angeles Dodgers: 7-3
San Diego Padres: 6-7
San Francisco Giants: 12-5
Baltimore Orioles: 0-1
Boston Red Sox: 2-3
New York Yankees: 5-4
Tampa Bay Rays: 2-1
Toronto Blue Jays: 3-0
Anaheim Angels: 0-1
Seattle Mariners: 1-0

W-L By Year:
1987: 1-0
1988: 6-1
1989: 6-5
1990: 7-4
1991: 5-4
1992: 5-5
1993: 3-5
1994: 2-0
1995: 5-3
1996: 6-4
1997: 8-4
1998: 18-10
1999: 17-12
2000: 8-3
2001: 8-6
2002: 4-4
2003: 3-3
2004: 6-4
2005: 7-11
2006: 12-4
2007: 8-11
2008: 10-6

Most Home Runs, Mets:
27 - Mike Piazza (Because I'm totally crazy, I give you 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27)
17 - Carlos Delgado
14 - Edgardo Alfonzo
12 - David Wright
10 - Carlos Beltran, Darryl Strawberry
9 - Cliff Floyd, Robin Ventura
8 - Howard Johnson, Todd Hundley, John Olerud
7 - Brian McRae
6 - Butch Huskey
5 - Benny Agbayani, Bobby Bonilla, Todd Zeile
4 - Kevin Elster, Carl Everett
3 - Mike Cameron, Damion Easley, Jose Valentin, Jeff Kent, Kevin McReynolds, Eddie Murray, Xavier Nady, Roger Cedeno
2 - Kurt Abbott, Mike Bordick, Mark Carreon, Ramon Castro, Keith Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Lenny Harris, Marlon Anderson, Matt Franco, Kaz Matsui, Joe Orsulak, Shawn Green, Victor Diaz
1 - Jermaine Allensworth, Moises Alou, Carlos Baerga, Daryl Boston, Rico Brogna, Hubie Brooks, Jeromy Burnitz, Chris Jones, Ryan Church, Vince Coleman, Derek Bell, Darren Reed, Alvaro Espinoza, Dave Gallagher, Bernard Gilkey, Dwight Gooden, Ruben Gotay, Richard Hidalgo, Gregg Jefferies, John Valentin, Luis Lopez, Paul LoDuca, Mark Clark, Mike Jacobs, Mark Johnson, Dave Magadan, Joe McEwing, Jeff McKnight, Lastings Milledge, Melvin Mora, Roberto Petagine, Ryan Thompson, Jose Reyes, Armando Reynoso, Mackey Sasser, Brian Schneider, Dick Schofield, David Segui, Shane Spencer, Garry Templeton, Tim Teufel, Eric Valent, Mo Vaughn, Ty Wigginton, Chris Woodward

(NOTE: Does not include the following Postseason HRs: Edgardo Alfonzo, Todd Pratt, Robin Ventura, Carlos Delgado, Cliff Floyd, Carlos Beltran - 1 each)

Most Starts, Mets Pitchers:
22 - Al Leiter (10-4 record)
15 - Bobby J. Jones (4-5)
14 - Rick Reed (7-2)
13 - Pedro Martinez (5-5)
12 - Steve Trachsel (3-4)
11 - Tom Glavine (3-6)
10 - Dwight Gooden (5-3), Sid Fernandez (1-3)
9 - David Cone (6-2)
8 - Ron Darling (3-2), John Maine (1-4), Oliver Perez (2-2)
7 - Kris Benson (4-2), Frank Viola (5-2)
6 - Masato Yoshii (1-1)
5 - Octavio Dotel (1-0), Dave Mlicki (0-3), Mike Pelfrey (2-1), Glendon Rusch (0-3), Bret Saberhagen (1-2)
4 - Mike Hampton (3-0), Orel Hershiser (1-3), Mark Clark (2-0), Armando Reynoso (3-0)
3 - Kevin Appier (0-1), Shawn Estes (0-0), Pete Harnisch (1-1), Jason Isringhausen (2-0), Hideo Nomo (1-1), Orlando Hernandez (2-1), Bob Ojeda (2-1), Jae Seo (2-0), Victor Zambrano (0-3)
2 - Pedro Astacio (2-0), Aaron Heilman (0-1), Kaz Ishii (0-1), Jorge Sosa (2-0), Kenny Rogers (0-0), Johan Santana (2-0), Pete Schourek (0-1), Frank Tanana (1-1), Paul Wilson (0-1)
1 - Anthony Young (0-1), Brian Bohanon (1-0), Claudio Vargas (0-1), Bruce Chen (0-0), Reid Cornelius (0-1), Jeff D'Amico (0-1), Jeremy Griffiths (0-0), Jeremi Gonzalez (0-0), Jose Lima (0-1), Matt Ginter (0-0), Pat Mahomes (0-0), Pete Smith (1-0), Chan Ho Park (0-1), Bill Pulsipher (0-1), Alay Soler (0-0), David Telgheder (1-0), Willie Blair (0-1), Wally Whitehurst (0-1)

(Note: Does not include the following Postseason starts: Darling (0-0), Leiter (0-0), Bobby J. Jones (1-0), John Maine (0-0), Tom Glavine (1-0))

EXTRA INNINGS:
10 innings: 4-4 (96, 96, 98, 00, 01, 03, 04, 08)
11 innings: 4-2 (95, 98, 98, 01, 04, 05)
12 innings: 5-2 (91, 99, 02, 02, 06, 07, 08)
13 innings: 3-0 (88, 06, 08)
14 innings: 3-0 (89, 99, 06)

WALKOFFS (36):
1988: 1, 2
1989: 1
1990: 1
1991: 1
1992: 1
1993: 1
1995: 1
1996: 1, 2, 3
1997: 1
1998: 1, 2
1999: 1, 2, 3, 4 (+1 Postseason)
2000: 1, 2
2001: 1, 2
2002: 1
2004: 1
2005: 1
2006: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
2007: 1
2008: 1, 2, 3, 4

BY LEVEL:
Field: 14 (Last, June 1, 2007)
Loge: 50 (Last, September 24, 2008)
Mezzanine: 51 (Last, September 28, 2008)
Upper: 149 (Last, September 10, 2008)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Shea Goodbye, Musically

A few years ago, Nirvana released a box set of unreleased songs and live recordings, after years upon years of legal battles and delays caused by Kurt Cobain's insane widow.

Being a child of the Grunge era who never really grew out of it, I, of course, bought it. On one of the discs was an early demo recording of the song "Milk It," which appears on the In Utero album, and contains a chorus in which Kurt Cobain screams "TEST MEEEEEEEEEAT!" over and over. This demo version, however, contained lyrics vastly different from the finished product, and a chorus in which Cobain screamed over and over, but he was screaming something else. I had to listen to the song a few times before I could figure it out. But when I did, I was even more confused.

Apparently, Kurt Cobain is screaming "SHEA STAAAAAAAAADIUM!"

Being from Seattle, and not being a sports fan, I thought it rather odd that Kurt would be screaming about Shea Stadium. In fact, he's probably not. But as far as I can make out the words, he is.

This anecdote probably further proves my insanity and has little to do with the latest single from Prog-rocker Marnie Stern, "Shea Stadium," which, although you might not be able to tell from listening to it, is actually all about Shea Stadium. It's definitely not the traditional stadium anthem, with a grinding guitar against a frenetic drum beat, with lyrics echoing throughout, but as it was pointed out to me, and I agree, it's a hell of a lot better than "Everybody Clap Your Hands" or "I'm A Believer." Much in the Cobain vein, the lyrics take a few listens to understand, but Stern is trying to convey her message in the music just as much as in the words.

There seems to be a recent vogue towards writing songs about Major League baseball teams. The Mets had two such songs a couple of years ago, one an embarassing rap that quickly vanished, and the similarly annoying Lucas Prata (OK, I admit I thought it was pretty good when the Mets were in the midst of the postseason, but he basically names the entire roster in the song, and after that year was over, it didn't make too much sense anymore). Now, you have that stupid "Can't Stop The Blue" song in LA, the Dropkick Murphys making an entire career around the Red Sox, and even Eddie Vedder writing about the Cubs. There was a Yankee Stadium tribute song by former Springsteen cohort Nils Lofgren floating around.

But where was a Shea song? Nobody wrote one, or so I'd thought. Turns out Marnie Stern's song has been kicking around for about a month or so, but unless you were a fan of hers, or hung around the New York Indie Rock scene, you wouldn't have noticed. But MLB.com knew enough to pick up on it. So, why was it never played at Shea? Unfortunately, the chances of that happening are over, and with the Mets apparent desire to eradicate any memory of Shea, this song may never see the light of day at a Mets game, and that's a shame. Songs about the Mets are few and far between, and good songs about the Mets are rarer still.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Requiem

I attended my first game at Shea Stadium on Sunday, August 23rd, 1987, a 9-2 Mets victory over the Padres. I was 8 years old, and sat in the Upper Box, Section 39, Box 853B, Seat 7. My final game was Sunday, although I didn't think I'd be there until I secured tickets earlier in the week, Mezzanine Reserved, Section 26, Row J, Seat 16. In between, 22 seasons passed, with my attendance at 262 games and another 5 in the Postseason. In that time, I've witnessed a lot, more good than bad, and forged memories that will last a lifetime. Shea Stadium may be gone, but it will certainly never be forgotten.

I wasn't quite sure about how to adequately document my final day at Shea on Sunday. I knew, for sure, that I would be bringing my camera with me, and I knew I was going to take a lot of photos and video of the game and the ceremony, no matter how things turned out. But I wasn't quite sure how to go about things. I didn't want to take a lot of photos of the innards of Shea, after all, I'd already done that earlier this year. I knew it might get a little repetitive if I just took a lot of photos from my seat, but this is how I had to do it. Shea Stadium, one final time, from my own eyes.

It seems like every time I take my camera to a game, I take a picture of the Starting lineup outside Shea. Looks like things haven't been updated since Friday. In typical Shea Stadium fashion, the park itself is charming, but the operations staff only seemed moderately prepared for the 55,000+ people that were going to show up.

One final Batting Practice. Usually, when I'm early, I'll slip into the Field Level. Today, they were checking tickets. I arrived at around 11:30, and the stadium was already packed and buzzing in a way I'd never really seen before. If I'd wanted to take some photos inside Shea, that wouldn't have been possible because the halls and ramps just seemed jam packed.

Looking down towards the LF corner. The clock appears ready for the end.



I started up to the Mezzanine, and noticed that there was a bit of a buzz and a crowd forming around the ramps, way out in Left Field. I walked around to get a closer look.

People were crowded around the SNY stage outside Gate A. But there were also a lot of people gathered around the ramps, looking down towards the entrance inside Gate A.

I looked outside some more. The ticket booth by Gate A was silent. This booth was always a mystery to me; I don't think I ever bought a ticket there. In fact, I only ever seemed to pass it if I left Shea from Gate A and walked around behind the stadium to the Subway. This became impossible once the construction for Citi Field began. But here it was, one last look.

And then, I saw why the crowds were gathered around the ramps. Here, inside Gate A, was the red carpet for the returning players to come in to Shea. Everyone was crowded around, snapping pictures and cheering as players came in. I found a good vantage point and did my best to get some good pictures. Here's Al Leiter and John Franco...

...John Stearns, who prompted me to scream "THE MONSTER IS OUT OF THE CAGE!" one final time...

...Blurry, but here's Doc, who got a huge ovation, standing next to Craig Swan...

...Doc started leading Let's Go Mets chants. George Foster quietly entered behind him...

...Then, Robin Ventura, along with Jesse Orosco...

...Doc, once again, coming back in with Tom Seaver.

And, with that, off to my seat...

...Only to discover that I would have one last Rain Delay at Shea. So, I ventured back inside to have one final Shea Lunch...

...Yeah. One Final, Grand, Delicious Shea Lunch. A Hot Dog in a Box.

The tarp did, eventually, come off the field.

Close up of the Apple, apparently in too much disrepair to make the trip to Citi Field. The plan involves having something they're calling an "Apple Garage" at the new stadium. That doesn't sound so good. El Guapo had the right idea: Why not just make a new Apple in a Hat? How hard could that be?

I've always had an odd obsession with taking pictures of the scoreboard. This is the first of the day. Won't be the last.

The tarp was pretty wet, and most of the water got dumped into the Outfield. Here, they're wet-vac-ing the grass.

We always do, don't we?

Wide angle shot.

Bonus video! Here's one last introduction of the Starting Lineups.

They could have done more with this. I tried to start a chant of "OLLIE! BOMAYE!" It didn't quite catch on.

More video. Here's Tom Seaver, removing #2 from the countdown, playing to the crowd as he always does.

One last time, away we go!


Ollie departs, and things begin to go downhill.

And with hope all but gone, and flashbulbs popping all over the Stadium, it's one last pitch from Matt Lindstrom to Ryan Church...

Squeezed on the warning track by Cameron Maybin, and that, my friends, would be that.

And so, we sat, mostly silent, thinking about how things had come apart, and waited for the ceremonies to begin, to create that one final memory for everyone at Shea Stadium.

It seemed to take unnecessarily long for them to get everything ready. Maybe they wanted everyone to simmer down a little bit. Some people left. Some people threw their caps away. Most people stayed, remaining mostly silent.

The ceremonies finally began, after about 25 minutes of setting things up, with Mr. Met removing #1 from the outfield wall and revealing a Citi Field logo, which the fans booed. We were still stinging a little bit.

But everyone seemed to have their spirits lifted when the players began to walk out. Dave Kingman, for one, got a nice ovation.

Al Leiter took a few boos, but not from me. I'll always remember him for games like this one.

Edgardo Alfonzo, another one of my favorites, whose departure never sat well with anyone, was warmly and heartily welcomed back.

But the largest and loudest ovation was, not surprisingly, reserved for Mike Piazza, returning to the scene of many of his greatest moments as a player and as a person, for the first time since his retirement.

This was just cool to watch. Even the players on the field were taking pictures. Here, Keith and Lenny photograph Doc, Koosman, Leiter, Franco, Darling and (I believe) Al Jackson.

Everyone lined up and watched as a video salute to Shea and its conquering heroes played.

And then, lined up for one final trip across Home Plate.

From Willie Mays...

...to Piazza and Seaver.

And finally, poignantly, one last pitch, from the Greatest Met to play in Shea, to the Greatest Met I ever saw play in Shea. They then hugged, waved to the fans, walked out to Center Field, waved one final Goodbye, and closed the doors.

El Guapo and I tipped our caps towards the diamond as we took one last look at the field, and then exited, to one last trip down the ramps...

...And one final look at our Palace in Queens.