Shea Stadium, Queens, NY
Number of games: 1
Shea Stadium is no longer in use as of the 2009 season.
First and last game: July 24, 1999 (Mets 2, Cubs 1)
I finished off the 1999 Erotic Love And Baseball Stadium Tour of Boston and New York by taking the #7 train to Flushing Meadow; this, the summer before John Rocker made an ass out of himself and made the #7 the most talked-about subway route in the world. For the record, on the way to and from Shea Stadium I saw none of Rocker’s “queers with AIDS” or “welfare mothers with six kids.” (At least not to my knowledge. I did not take the time to interview my fellow passengers: “Has your HIV become symptomatic?” “How many people do you have to support on your welfare check?”) I also saw no “kids with purple hair”: at least not that I could see underneath their Mets caps. I did hear a few different languages spoken, however, as Rocker found so offensive. So John batted .250 in his assessment of the #7 train, which doesn’t exactly going to get him into the Subway Description Hall of Fame. It did, however, make him look like a complete idiot.
In fact, I had a little bit of a bumpy experience aboard the #7 the middle of Queens. There was construction on my track, so they made everybody get out of the train and switch over to another train. I had to improvise in Queens! But the woman from the Transit Authority was very kind and helpful (in that unemotional New York way) in saying that yes, the train that was going to Main Street/Flushing was also going to Shea Stadium. I even heard her start saying “this way to Shea Stadium” over her bullhorn after I left her. That was my good deed for the folks going to the game–getting the Transit woman to say “Shea Stadium” for them.
If you’re going to attend a baseball game in New York, especially at Shea, be certain to dramatically overeat prior to your arrival at the ballpark. “I’ll just pick up lunch at the ballpark” is a bad idea. The concession stands are overpriced even by New York standards, and the food is quite typical. There are cheap delis and pizzerias near wherever you’re staying. There are corner markets that can sell you food that I bet you can easily sneak in. Do that–don’t eat at the park. At Shea, it won’t be long before loan offices open next to the concession stands so that you can talk to someone about whether you can afford a slice of pizza and a Coke.
The stadium itself is in the middle of the pack of stadiums, I’d say…charming, but not really special. The fans weren’t so choked with anger as their counterparts in the Bronx. I sat next to a family who were enjoying the game and even permitting their kids to root for Sammy Sosa when he was at bat, provided they rooted for the Mets the rest of the time. It was kids’ day, so I got to watch the Mets play wiffle ball with their kids. Its amazing how early you can tell a kid is going to be an athlete, as so many of these kids clearly take after their fathers.
All in all, it was a nice afternoon at a good-looking and, thanks to the #7, easily-accessible ballpark. There’s nothing wrong with this ballpark. Nothing special about it either, except for everything that’s already special about an afternoon watching baseball–and in the end, that’s enough.
BASEBALL STUFF I’VE SEEN HERE:
Sammy Sosa homers. I saw him take the little hop.
Edgardo Alfonzo and Robin Ventura homer. All the runs come on solo homers.
Steve Trachsel pitches very well, but takes the loss to drop to 3-14. Ouch.