In my very first trip to Shea Stadium in 1971, the best pitcher on the Mets – if not all of baseball – lost 3-2 on a rainy afternoon.
In what I expect to be my last trip to Shea on Saturday, the best pitcher on the Mets – if not all of baseball – lost 3-2 on a rainy afternoon.
I am, if nothing else, a creature of routine. And my streak of not seeing the Mets win in person since 1991 continues. But the loss to the vile Yankees put only a slight damper on a glorious day at Shea with my Dad, cousin Tim and Aunt Dee.
There were plenty of adventures, and we’ll get to those during the week. But first let’s see how we did on the official Shea Farewell bucket list.
We’ll hit the first 10 today and offer photographic evidence when possible.
1) Buy a program and yearbook immediately after entering the stadium.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Easy enough. The vendor was right inside the gate. Both the yearbook and program are impressively thick this year. And of course I properly kept score in the program.
2) Meet Mr. Met! The team never had the mascot out there in the 1970s and 1980s when I was able to attend games. After seeing photos of the new and improved Mr. Met – and being subjected to other mascots good and bad in other ballparks – I must have an audience with the ball-headed one.
Partial success. We got to see Mr. Met on the field at atop the dugout.
3) Head to the Clubhouse Shop and find the awesome penny squishing machine for my daughter.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. But I lost two of the four squished pennies, the one of Mr. Met and the one reading “You Gotta Believe.” I think this happened in the gift shop when the security guy wanted to see my receipt and I had to dig trough my pockets.
4) Boo Derek F. Jeter when the starting lineups are announced.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. I don’t think we even waited that long.
5) Eat a ballpark knish. People in the Midwest have absolutely no idea about knishes.
DENIED! The kosher stand was closed on a Saturday.
6) Boo Derek F. Jeter when he comes up to bat. Every time.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Not only did we boo him, but we came up with a Jeter chant: “OVER-RATED clap, clap, clap-clap-clap” People sitting near us in the Loge picked up on it, and by the end of the game we could hear fans in other sections starting the chant even without use leading it. Very exciting.
7) Somehow get into the picnic area beyond left field. I’ve never been out there, and it’s the closest Shea has to bleachers.
DENIED! No one is allowed to pop in for a couple photos.
8) Eat a ballpark pretzel – but only if it’s cooked over charcoal. I have no delusions that it will be warmed by the charcoal, but it at least should smell better than the ones spinning on racks under heat lamps.
DENIED! No outside vendors, and inside stands only had the spinning racks.9) Boo Derek F. Jeter every time he makes a routine play then rolls around in the dirt in a shameless attempt to get on ESPN’s Web Gems.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! We did not lack opportunities or motives to boo Capt. Intangibles.
10) Find that spot in the right, err, left field upper deck where Tommie Agee’s epic blast is marked.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Heck, the only question here is how in the heck I couldn’t find it before. Once I knew where it was, I could see it from any spot in the stadium.
OK, those are the first 10. The rest are coming.