Monday, August 11, 2008

Shea Stadium salutations; Or how the Mets tried and failed to steal the heart of one Tribe fan.

Photo credit: Katy Vallo

I'm watching a fun - if sloppily played and pitched - baseball game right now. As I begin writing this, the Tribe is up 10-8 with Brendan Donnelly making his Tribe debut as the 8th inning begins.

It is, in truth, the second fun - if sloppily played and pitched - ballgame I've watched today.

I took a personal day today and headed out, with two of my three kids, to Shea Stadium for the last time (for me anyway) before the wrecking ball comes to visit at the end of this season.

The kids are Yankee fans (I did my best but sometimes a parent can't be held responsible), but they too wanted to make one last trip to the old park - already overshadowed by Citi Field, which will replace it next season.

(Citi Field would be a great name for a ballpark - simple and old fashioned - except the Citi part is named after the huge bank headquartered in NYC.)

After a delayed start due to rain, the Mets lost to Pittsburgh 7-5, with their pen giving up 6 runs over the last 3 innings to kick away a 5-1 lead.

Sound like anyone you know?

Let me tell you the Met faithful were not happy.


After spending my first 27 years in Cleveland, I've spent the last 25 suburban NYC.

It was Shea Stadium in 1984 and '85 where I sought to put a lifetime of frustration as an Indians fan behind me, watching an exciting young club with the likes of Doc Gooden, Ron Darling and Darryl Strawberry taking the NL by storm.

My first year in NY - 1984 - I sped out to Shea as often as possible. By 1985 I had a Friday night plan. It was going to be great. I had not only found a new, exciting team to root for, I could finally put my obsession with the Tribe in the rear view mirror.

But much to my surprise at the time, with no dish available yet, I found myself sliding the radio dial at night from the Mets over to what was then WWWE (or radio-free Cleveland as my wife used to call it) to listen to Herbie - still the lead dog on the radio at the time.

For some reason I found myself more interested in what Curt Wardle, Roman Romero, Pat Tabler and Mike Fischlin were up to than watching Mookie Wilson, Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter and the rest of the Mets battle for the NL East title, only to fall just short.

It was then that I realized you can take the boy out of Cleveland (blah blah blah).

Even today, in my last trip to Shea (unless someone lays a pair of tickets in my lap sometime in the next 6 weeks), there were "Cleveland moments."

Sitting in the mezzanine about even with 3B in my Omar Vizquel Giants T-shirt (which I had to search for at four souvenir stands at AT&T Park in SF last spring), I felt a tapping on my shoulder.

The woman behind me wanted to know where she could get a T-shirt with Vizquel's name on it.

I suggested she "try Cleveland."

That's when I found out the woman was from Cleveland's Old Brooklynn neighborhood, on a visit to Shea.

Then there was the pinch-hit appearance by Jason Michaels. J-Mike hit a seven-hopper to SS and was thrown out at first. Nothing's changed there.

When the parade of Mets pitchers frittered away a 4-run lead in the final three innings, I almost forgot what stadium I was in - thinking for a second I must be at Ontario and Carnegie.

The Mets and Tribe have almost no history with one-another.

There was the Robbie Alomar deal, the Carlos Baerga/Jeff Kent deal and the trade of a fellow named Byrd from the Tribe to the Mets long ago.

But on the field the two have virtually no history. They've never really done battle over anything that matters- unless, of course, you count the short-lived battle for the allegiance of one transplanted Clevelander more than 20 years ago.

I have to say, in that battle the best team won.



Anonymous said...

mujica got the win - there is no justice in baseball

the moose said...

bye bye bird !!!!!