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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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The Shea Countdown: 1

1: Sunday, September 28 vs. Marlins

The following New York State executive order was issued and communicated on a series of banners carried aloft and paraded by officially certified fans of the Metropolitan Baseball Club of New York, Inc. on the field at William A. Shea Municipal Stadium following the last out of the final regular-season baseball game to be played there.

WHEREAS, William A. Shea Municipal Stadium was established on the Seventeenth Day of April in the Year of our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Sixty Four; and

WHEREAS, Shea Stadium has hosted thousands of events of all sorts; and

WHEREAS, Shea Stadium has been home for forty-five seasons to the Metropolitan Baseball Club of New York, Inc.; and

WHEREAS, Shea Stadium has yielded countless memories to millions of New Yorkers and those who have visited New York; and

WHEREAS, Shea Stadium has played an integral role in the lives of countless persons since 1964; and

WHEREAS, neither Shea Stadium nor the events that have taken place inside and around its physical plant can be considered anything less than a rich cultural contribution to the State and City of New York and the Borough of Queens; and

WHEREAS, the circumstances inherent in those events, those people and Shea Stadium itself have been so carefully chronicled since the Eighth Day of April in the Year of our Lord Two Thousand and Eight in what has been known as the Shea Stadium Final Season Countdown Like It Oughta Be; and

WHEREAS, the Shea Stadium Final Season Countdown Like It Oughta Be has demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt the historical significance of Shea Stadium; and

WHEREAS, no facility that has encompassed so much history should be permitted to undergo total and complete demolition; and

WHEREAS, the New York Mets organization relies on certain tax abatements and incidents of government assistance to optimize commercial enterprise profit; and

WHEREAS, the State of New York recognizes a responsibility on behalf of private-sector concerns to function in the public interest; and

WHEREAS, this public servant did, in fact, grow up a fan of the New York Mets baseball team and a devoted patron of Shea Stadium;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DAVID A. PATERSON, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of New York, do hereby order as follows:

1. Upon conclusion of the 2008 New York Mets season or postseason, dependent on the Mets' record in championship season play, the ownership of the New York Mets is required to leave one piece of Shea Stadium standing.

2. The portion of the right field wall on which has been emblazoned the numbers that have signified how many games have remained in the life of Shea Stadium since there were eighty-one on April 8 shall remain standing into perpetuity.

3. That portion of the wall shall be maintained as it appears today, the Twenty Eighth day of September in the Year of our Lord Two Thousand and Eight, painted blue and continuing to display the numeral 1 as it does now.

4. The wall and the number shall stand as part of the foreground of all successor facilities to Shea Stadium on this site in Flushing Meadows Corona Park or whatever structures are erected here in the future should the New York Mets baseball team shift its operations to another locale inside or outside New York City.

5. No plaque or marker shall accompany this section of the wall. It shall be incumbent upon those who witnessed the events that filled Shea Stadium between 1964 and 2008 to communicate to future generations the significance of the wall when asked. All who entered Shea Stadium between 1964 and 2008 shall carry forth a moral obligation to tell the story of Shea Stadium to all who never had the opportunity to experience it.

6. Any person who is not sure what to say to their children or their children's children or anybody's children as to what made Shea Stadium special is encouraged to refer to the transcript of the Shea Stadium Final Season Countdown Like It Oughta Be, available at the blog Faith and Fear in Flushing. But it is the considered opinion of this office that all you will need to do is look into your heart and reach back into your memory and tell those future generations and those individuals who never attended Shea Stadium themselves what you saw, what you heard, what you felt.

7. If you saw the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, let those who never did know what it was like to be here when the stadium shook because a Met hit a home run.

8. If you saw the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, let those who never did know what it was like to be here when the stadium gasped because a Met came close to pitching a no-hitter.

9. If you saw the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, let those who never did know what it was like to be here when the stadium erupted in joy as a championship was secured or a victory was sealed or a nice play was made.

10. If you saw the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, let those who never did know what it was like to anticipate the trip here, to wander through the gate, to walk up a stalled escalator, to emerge into a dark and damp concourse and then be assaulted with more light and color than television could ever relay.

11. If you saw the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, let those who never did know the delight of being a New York Mets fan at Shea Stadium, the frustration of being a New York Mets fan at Shea Stadium, the absolute totality of being a New York Mets fan at Shea Stadium.

12. Whatever you experienced at Shea Stadium, for whatever reason you were at Shea Stadium, pass the word along.

13. If you attended Shea Stadium, idealized Shea Stadium, adored Shea Stadium, loathed Shea Stadium…don't forget Shea Stadium. The portion of the right field wall that shall remain standing with the numeral 1 is intended to serve as no more than a well-meaning cue to bring out your stories of Shea Stadium and allow you to share them for the rest of your lives so they, in turn, can be shared into perpetuity, which is how long this section of the wall shall stand.

14. No commercial enterprise shall be permitted to sponsor this section of the wall where the Shea Stadium Final Season Countdown Like It Oughta Be was commemorated. The idea that something as substantive as a seasonlong retrospective of a cherished institution's history — a history that belongs to all — could be diluted for commercial gain is reprehensible even in theory.

15. The removal of this portion of the wall and/or the numeral 1 shall result in the forfeit of all favorable financial considerations granted by any and all agencies of the State and City governments, the kind on which all professional sports organizations depend to function optimally. All highway and public transit infrastructure relevant to successor facilities to Shea Stadium on this site shall commence to be completely and totally unfunded if this portion of the wall and/or the numeral 1 are not lovingly and carefully preserved.

16. The number 1 is never to be removed from the portion of this wall that shall remain standing. As long as 1 remains posted on this site, Shea Stadium shall never truly be gone. It shall always be, as in the hearts and minds of millions of Mets fans since 1964, the 1.

17. That is how the Shea Stadium Final Season Countdown Like It Oughta Be oughta end.

Given under my hand and the Privy Seal of the State in William A. Shea Municipal Stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in the Borough of Queens in the City of New York this Twenty Eighth Day of September in the Year of our Lord Two Thousand and Eight.

David A. Paterson

Governor and Mets Fan

***

Number 2 was revealed here.

***

On Monday, July 21, we will offer a revealing Q&A that will describe the process by which the Shea Stadium Final Season Countdown Like It Oughta Be was conceived, constructed and executed.

6 comments to The Shea Countdown: 1

  • Anonymous

    Nicely done, Greg.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Charlie.

  • Anonymous

    Well done, well done. I wish the Wilpons had this kind of insight. Unfortunately, I'm sure that they're more concerned with the 3 parking spaces such a memento would block.
    I was thinking about something similar on Saturday. I was trying to judge the distance from the Home Run Apple to CitiField so that next year I can stand on the spot. Then I gathered, if they use a new Home Run Apple (more or less a guarantee), why not leave the old one where it stands? It's a great meeting point, great photo spot, great piece of Shea nostalgia, etc.
    Of course, we could go on all day with great, fan-friendly ideas for CitiField, but it would fall on deaf ears–unless the idea was, say, dedicate 30 prime seats in the bleachers for a hired sym-phony band. Now there's an idea Fred would jump at.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Kevin…and good idea on the Apple as meeting spot. I'm sure it will be filed away by the PTB.

  • Anonymous

    HI Greg,
    Enjoyed the entire countdown, from 81 through 1. A warm series of tributes that shows a lot of love and affection for the place most of us called home for 45 years.
    I do hope Shea is remembered as it originally was — a less cluttered, gorgeous ballpark with brightly colored seats and a multitude of lights imposed upon the white shell surrounding the large but simplier scoreboard in right, when the only sounds to rev up an already reved up fan base came from Jane Jarvis (and the first greeting to the fans was to join in on a sing-along of “Meet The Mets” accompanied by Jane on the Hammond Organ)..

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Joe. I think we'll all remember it exactly the way we see it and hear it in our minds.