Love Affair

the weather was perfect, too

The first time I caught a glimpse of Shea Stadium through the windows of the 7 train, I shivered. And got all teary. The second time, too. Every time since then? I crane my neck, waiting for that first peek, all thoughts of the endless train rides to get to this point forgotten. And yeah, I still get a little shiver.

Sure, I’ve been a baseball fan for most of my life. But truly? It’s only been for the past few years that I’m obsessed, emotional, sputtering with the latest rumors, watching every game I can get my eyes on, waxing poetic about why baseball is like, totally the best thing ever, omg. There doesn’t seem to be any turning back at this point, regardless of what loving this PARTICULAR team does to my mental health.

Magic.

My brother, his best friend Matthew, and I got ourselves some tickets for Thursday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves. I’ve said over and over that I want to go to as many games as I can this season, the last one the Mets will play at Shea. But in reality, it just isn’t that easy, given the cost and the schedule and the interminable train rides (the train rides that I really don’t mind, but my unsuspecting compadres? You better believe they mind. My brother not as much, but he definitely minds a little). So when the stars aligned so that the three of us could make it to a weeknight game, you better believe I was all over that. I was a tiny bit worried, especially after our last trip to Shea was a rainout (which was quite an experience in and of itself, one that I am glad we had, in some weird way), but on Thursday? The weather was perfect – not hot, not too cool, a bit of a breeze, and just beautiful.

I know I probably say it too much, but oh! It is just the best thing, watching a baseball game in person. Even as the Mets’ new stadium looms near-completion just over the center field fence, all shiny and wonderful next to poor, dilapidated ol’ Shea, there is something about Shea Stadium. It’s not glamorous and the seats are rickety, but man, is it something. The lights glow and you groan and yell and jump up out of your seat and cheer and you eat a giant hot dog and try to ignore the fact that the guy behind you keeps dropping peanut shells down your pants (not on purpose, but ew) and you missed your chance for a beer but you sing “Meet the Mets” as loud as you can and and the little girl in front of you just got some completely melted ice cream and it’s a weeknight so half of the men are in remains of their work clothes and oh look, there’s Mr. Met and did you see that guy’s tshirt? and they’re winning and they’re losing and then the most unlikely guy, the one you’ve sort of hated all season because god, he just sucks, except not today, he belts a walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth and it doesn’t get any better than this.

the MAGIC of Shea Stadium

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9 thoughts on “Love Affair

  1. I love this post! I especially love the b/w pictures of Shea!

    I totally understand being sad to lose Shea, even when there’s a beautiful new building taking its place. I love the new stadia and arenas that are popping up now, but there’s something to be sad for the old places, too. I really miss the Meadowlands, to be honest. To me, the older places make the experience about the game. As long as you have a view of green grass and blue skies (or dark, dramatic skies behind blinding stadium lights) and you can get a beer, what more do you need at a ballpark? As long as you have a view of the ice surface and the out-of-town scoreboard* and can get a decent bag of popcorn at a hockey game, what more do you need at an arena? Between the game and the crazy people around you, what more entertainment do you need? Are jumbotron features and blaring music and fan giveaways really necessary? Back when I watched baseball a lot, I wanted to start a movement called “Take Back the Game”. Once a year, each team would host a “Take Back the Game” game, during which the jumbotron would be turned off and there would be no loud music. It would just be the game, the fans, and the announcer telling us who’s at bat and all that good stuff. And it would be heaven. HEAVEN!

    *I went to a new hockey arena recently and couldn’t find an out-of-town scoreboard! Who’s designing these places? Idiots?!?

  2. To me, the older places make the experience about the game. As long as you have a view of green grass and blue skies (or dark, dramatic skies behind blinding stadium lights) and you can get a beer, what more do you need at a ballpark? As long as you have a view of the ice surface and the out-of-town scoreboard* and can get a decent bag of popcorn at a hockey game, what more do you need at an arena?

    THAT’S EXACTLY IT. I love, love, love the idea of “Take back the game”. And you know, now that I look back, these things are probably why I had such a spectacular time at that minor league game I went to this month. Sure, there were wacky fan hijinks, but there weren’t replays on the jumbotron or swanky amenities. Just baseball, and to find out what happened? You had to oh, I don’t know, pay attention to the game. Or learn how to read a line score. Which, honestly.

    (And I’m glad you like the black and white photos… I felt like I was being even more overly sentimental than normal when I made them that way, but somehow it seemed artsily appropriate for how freaking weepy I get about baseball, lol.)

    No out-of-town scoreboard? How is that even possible?

  3. I hadn’t thought about how the experience of a minor league game would be better than a major league game. That makes a lot of sense, now that you mention it.

    No out-of-town scoreboard? How is that even possible?

    I know! It was terrible! It was a game between two teams I don’t care much for, so I needed to know there were better teams out there playing that night. It was a bad scene. I almost broke out in hives. Must. Have. Out-of-town scores!

  4. Must. Have. Out-of-town scores!

    This was also one of the entertaining parts of being at this particular Mets game – the Yankees were losing horribly that day so we’d boo the Yankees every couple of innings, and the Phillies were doing poorly for a while, so thanks to the out-of-town scoreboard, we got our hate on, as well.

  5. Pingback: Oh, Shea Stadium. « throwing waffles

  6. Pingback: Oh, Shea Stadium. « she likes stripes

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