Saturday, July 14, 2007
Day 20: Shea Stadium
All photos of Shea Stadium available on Flickr.
Friday found us with a scenic drive through New England along I-95 on our way to Queens. Rain was predicted throughout the day, but the weather ended up holding up for us once again. One thing that did not work out in our favor, however, was the traffic; we left at 12:30 for what was supposed to be a 4-hour drive from Mary's house, and we ended up rolling in around 6:45, which meant we did not have the opportunity to fundraise. We had at least raised some money in New York on Sunday, so I didn't feel as bad as I normally would. Hey, at least we still made it in time for the Endy Chavez bobblehead giveaway!
Shea Stadium, unlike Yankee Stadium, is in the middle of nowhere. The Yankees play in a neighborhood, albeit a self-admitted "bad" neighborhood, but at least there are things around it besides freeways and parking. We parked across the street for $14, which was one of the more reasonable prices thus far. Stylistically, the stadium is built in the typical "cookie-cutter" fashion that was popular in its time, just like so many others were built in the 1970s - Veterans Stadium, Riverfront Stadium, Three Rivers Stadium, etc. This one is a little different functionally because (A) it is baseball-only, and (B) the back of the stadium is open to the outside. It is a great place to watch a game from right behind homeplate on the upper deck (where we were) or anywhere in the lower seating bowl. Other than that, the other seats seem to be far away. There are four huge decks and only one small section of bleachers, which when juxtaposed with the open back of the stadium, seems incredibly odd, like a piece is missing. The Mets have obviously taken note of these little nuances, and probably many others, as they have decided to finally build a new stadium, Citi Field, scheduled to open next door in 2009. It isn't the $1.6 billion behemoth going up in the Bronx, but it looks potentially just as kitschy, as it is supposed to be a near-aesthetic replica of old Ebbets Field on the outside.
The game itself was not a very good showing for the Mets. John Maine, who has had a sub-2 ERA nearly all season, gave up 7 to the last-place Reds and they could never really catch up in the game. Brandon Phillips for the Reds went 3-4 with a grand slam and 6 RBI, and staff ace Aaron Harang notched his 10th win. One of the lone highlights for Mets was a towering blast by prospect Lastings Milledge, his first in the bigs since last August. It was good to see my adopted-hometown Reds beat down the hometeam and I left the park incredibly happy that it didn't end up raining.
The post-game debacle was one of the more memorable ones on the trip. After getting lost in Queens for a half hour, we finally made it over the river to the Bronx to hit up a bar near Yankee Stadium called the Yankee Tavern. If we had known then that the bar was closing in ten minutes, we may have never walked in, but we were glad we did, because we ended up meeting two very interesting bartenders. They were two cold-blooded, thick-accented New Yorkers who were a real treat to talk to. We sat in the locked bar, just the four of us, having free drinks and listening to hundreds of tales from these two gentlemen (which were mostly about "broads" and Vegas). This was clearly these boys' 2nd job, but it was also obviously their real passion, and it was a great time hanging out with them. So if any of you are ever at a Yankee game...hit up the Yankee Tavern and ask for Pat! After we got "kicked out," we headed over to a friend of a friend's to stay in upper Manhattan. A special thanks to Megan for her hospitality and to Lauren for setting this up. Tomorrow it's off to the City of Brotherly Love to watch some Phillies fans boo Santa Claus.
park stats and rankings:
aesthetics - 3
views from park - 9 (view to new park being built and Queens skyline)
view to field - 5 (our seat view was good, but most are not...)
surrounding area - 1
food variety - 4
nachos - 1 (nasty cheese, chips come in a bag, small portion)
beer - 6 (mostly Bud, but the beer comes in a souvenir Mets bottle!)
vendor price - 7
ticket price - 8
atmosphere - 5
walk to park - 2
parking price/proximity - 9
concourses - 3
team shop - 9
best food - Italian sausage with all the fixins'
most unique stadium feature - Mets "big apple" goes off during home runs
best jumbotron feature - "Who's available in the bullpen" toteboard, brought to you by Just For Men, that was usually incorrect...
best between-inning feature - "Meet the Mets" singalong in the 2nd
field dimensions - 338/410/338
starters - Aaron Harang (CIN) v. John Maine (NYM)
opponent - Cincinnati Reds
time of game - 2:55
attendance - 51305
score - 8-4 L
Brewers score that day - 10-6 L