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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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All These Places Have Their Moments

Loge 13, a blog dedicated to “the last days of Shea” — thus a blog after my own heart as any I’ve ever read — reminds us that today is the 43rd birthday of the place we call home for the next 18 months. The impulse is to stick the requisite number of candles in a four-tiered cake, light only some of them (because a third probably came without wicks), have the frosting from one level drip onto the level beneath it and, after being careful to step around the puddles of icing that have inevitably formed, blow the whole thing out as best we can…then go wait 15 minutes to use the bathroom.

Two trips to Shea in the first week of its second-to-last season remind me as always that the gauzy notions I tote in my sentimental schlep bag never quite match the stark real-time reality of the place. It doesn’t work, it’s rarely worked, it won’t suddenly start working from a form or function standpoint. Most public buildings probably need at least one of those two to be considered a success.

To which I say so what?

It’s too late for the birthday boy to start making resolutions. Besides, it’s a ballpark. Our ballpark. There is no type of structure in the world whose architectural and logistical sins can be held it against it less. When our minds wander back over all the days and nights we’ve indulged our passion and our passion has indulged us, “what were the widths of those concourses again?” probably won’t be the first thought that springs to mind.

Maybe a new ballpark can momentarily attract the curious and entertainment-starved with glossy come-ons relating to “multiple sit-down, climate-controlled restaurants”; “numerous permanent attractions”; and some strange commodity called “enhanced comfort” — and I won’t necessarily sneeze at that stuff when it comes to be — but that’s of primary concern to daytrippers and dilettantes.

We’re Mets fans. We want the memories, the ones we’ve got, the one we’ll get. All of ours since April 17, 1964 and through the early fall of 2008 stand courtesy of Shea Stadium. That’s nothing to sneeze at either.

I was at Shea on its 30th birthday, a win against the Astros. DiamondVision commemorated the milestone with a video montage of momentous occasions set to one of the most beautiful songs our house band the Beatles ever recorded. As John Lennon, who capably filled in for Ron Hunt right around second base, put it:

And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new

My next game is Saturday.

15 comments to All These Places Have Their Moments

  • Anonymous

    I love Shea. I just hate all the idiots who go there.
    I'll be there Friday (again). My April and May are Chock-Full O'Mets.

  • Anonymous

    “today is the 43rd birthday of the place we call home for the next 18 months”
    HI Greg,
    43 years already. At that time it was alleged that North Vietnam attacked a naval destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin, Nikita Krushcev was overthrown, General Douglas McArthur passed away, Bobby Kennedy was running for Senator from New York, and the Beatles first appeared on Ed Sullivan.
    And, when Shea first opened 43 years prior to that (in 1921) a peace treaty was finally signed with Germany for World War I, Warren G. Harding was President, Edith Wharton won the Pultizer Prize for “The Age Of Innocence”, the silent classic “The Shiek” made Rudolph Valentino an international sensation and the world series was broadcast on radio for the first time. To a 13 year old in 1964, those earlier events seemed like the dark ages compared to how those occuring in 1964 feel today.
    If anybody wants to travel back to April 17, 1964, MLB.Com has the complete play-by-play broadcast of that inagural game available on CD. Of course, it's with Bob Murphy, Ralph Kiner and Lindsay Nelson. Just place the CD's in the tray, close your eyes and experience how it was like the day Shea came into the world.

  • Anonymous

    “As John Lennon, who capably filled in for Ron Hunt right around second base, put it: And these memories lose their meaning when I think of love as something new”
    Hi Greg,
    Forgot to mention that Ron Hunt played third base that day.

  • Anonymous

    “As John Lennon, who capably filled in for Ron Hunt right around second base, put it: And these memories lose their meaning when I think of love as something new”
    Hi Greg,
    Forgot to mention that Ron Hunt played third base that day.

  • Anonymous

    The only thing that needs to stay at our new ballpark is the apple in the hat. What would the mets be without that bit of cheese? Someone should start a formal campaign.

  • Anonymous

    Take a close look at centerfield in some of these shots. The apple indeed appears slated for replanting.

  • Anonymous

    I was at Shea on its 30th birthday, a win against the Astros. DiamondVision commemorated the milestone with a video montage of momentous occasions set to one of the most beautiful songs our house band the Beatles ever recorded.
    As I recall, they played that montage throughout the year. it never – never – failed to produce a lump in my throat. Man, I better bring a whole box of Kleenex for the last game next year.
    They should put some of these videos up on the Mets site. I imagine there's probably music rights issues to work around. But a while ago someone posted a link to the long Piazza tribute video (from his last game, not the return) and I treasure that download immensely. Now, if I could only figure out how to get it onto my Ipod…

  • Anonymous

    It had better be there. And I don't want a new one, either. Can we possibly have some remnant of actual Mets tradition in this place?
    I'm getting upset again. I don't want to play in Minute Maid Park 2.0. I just hate this thing. I mean, yeah, I'll obviously go… but I really really do not want this.

  • Anonymous

    The Mets tradition should have been, in my opinion, dupliction of Shea's on-field dimensions. 410 to straightaway center, 396 in the alleys and symmetrical all the way around. That part of Shea was exquisite to me and should be preserved.
    As far as seating, amenities, etc. I couldn't disagree more. For all that is disagreeable about it (on field dimension-wise) I've been in the upper level of Citizens Bank during a sellout and waited in line for nothing. Bathrooms, concessions, etc. In terms of convenience it was like September of '03 at Shea.

  • Anonymous

    It sure does look like a little reddish-orange thing in a black pot is part of the drawing. Of course the apple will be there. Not having it would be like Miller Park not having Bernie Brewer.
    But count me in as someone who likes the new (since 1992) ballpark designs, having been to games at Chase Field, ATT, Safeco, and the one that started it all, Camden. They don't have to all look alike; Chase Field doesn't much resemble ATT, for instance. And I really like the fact that I can get up, stretch, go to the bathroom (no lines!), take a walk around the concourse, and not only not miss anything, but get different angles on the game from different parts of the park.
    The main thing that concerns me (or would, if I lived there) is that the patronage could be so yupped out for the first three years that working-class yobs won't be able to get a seat. Hopefully the yups will choose to colonize the Wankees' new digs instead.

  • Anonymous

    Different strokes, I guess. I for one never leave my seat during a game, so I honestly couldn't care less about stretching, concourses, bathroom breaks etc. I don't care how the outside looks. I don't care about promenades. I don't care about restaurants, concessions, entertainment or any of it. Maybe if I made one or two trips to the ballpark a year and thus needed to cram in the whole “experience” at once, but I don't. I'm there all the time. And I'm there to see a ballgame… I can eat, drink and use the bathroom at home, and buy my Mets paraphernalia at Modell's or the Clubhouse Shop. So for me personally, none of that stuff makes a dent.
    And I wouldn't be so sure about assuming anything will be there. At this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if the Home Run Apple was replaced by a big blue Dodgers cap.

  • Anonymous

    I can't wait — down with the big DMV already. We'll make new memories at Citi Field, and the people I was happy to see at Shea will be at Citi. And presumably I won't see lakes masquerading as bathrooms, busted escalators, and all the other Shea things I've had way more than enough of.
    That said, I would like to see the old apple — who needs some 21st century fancified apple? And it would be great to put the outlines of the old diamond in the new parking lot.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg,
    What I'll miss most about Shea will be the beautiful view of Queens, the bridges and all points beyond as seen from the mezzanine and upper level. At night, when these structures and highways are all lit up, it is sight to behold. While we'll still see the evening sky, most of the landscape will be blocked by Citi's double-decked stands in the outfield.

  • Anonymous

    They did this in ATL with the old Fulton County Stadium field outlined in the parking lot. They even have a little shrine where House caught Aarons #715 in the bullpen.
    Even though it's the Braves, I have to admit it's a pretty cool idea.

  • Anonymous

    Our time has come. Even the Polo Grounds shut the doors for good. And the deeds of those who played there are largely forgotten to time..I will miss Shea like I miss someone I onced loved. And will cry the day it falls to the ground – one more symbol of my youth will become parking spaces..I gotta go to work..
    Pcelli60