Shea Stadium

Editorial Note:  I know, it’s been rather a while (over a month!) since I last wrote.  Once upon a time, I pretty reliably had at least a half-hour a day for contemplation and… blogging.  But it is a harder world out there, and one of the ways that it is harder is that one has less time for such things.

On Thursday, my work took me out to Queens.  Riding the 7 train, I saw the nearly-completed Citi Field.  But what had happened to Shea Stadium?

I had sort of expected that it would be demolished in a grand theatrical style, but I guess that Citi Field is too close for that. Or perhaps we’re still in shock over 11 September, and can’t stand to see something blown up.

Instead, it was quietly taken down, piece by piece, leaving only piles of rubble.  By April, it should all be carted away and replaced by a parking lot, as one cannot have a modern stadium without ample parking.

Citi Field, the new stadium, looks vaguely like pictures I’ve seen of Ebbets Field.  It’s charming, I’m sure.  But Ebbets Field doesn’t mean anything to me: it was gone before I was born.  My baseball memories all live at Shea.

And now it’s gone, in the name of… what?  A ‘more intimate venue for baseball’?  It’s baseball, dammit, not ballroom dancing!  One can only pack so many seats close to the field: for the rest of us, baseball is something that is inherently witnessed from a distance.

What else is Citi Field supposed to give us?  I’ve bought Mets tickets often enough that they sent me a flyer in the mail:

  • Superior sightlines:  Does this mean, ‘you can see the field better’?  Shea had some really crappy seats with only a partial view of the field.  But from the rest of the seats, you looked out and saw… a ballfield.  Maybe you’ll be able to see it better now, but a billion dollars’ worth better?
  • Wide, comfortable seats:  I never had a problem fitting in the seats, and I’m watching a baseball game, not flying to Europe.  (Or is it that the general population has gotten wider?)
  • Spacious aisles and rows, with generous legroom:  OK, I’m 6′ tall and always can go for a little more legroom.  If you give me a foot more legroom, I’ll be tickled.  But from the pictures, it looks like only a few more inches.
  • Wide concourses that invite fans to move around the entire ballpark:  Why, why, why???  When I go to a baseball game, I make one trip to the concession stand, and one trip to the can.  If I want to go wandering around, I can walk around the neighborhood with my wife: it’s much cheaper.
  • Upscale dining options, including… a climate-controlled restaurant:  Spare me!  Part of the live baseball experience is the concession-stand food, eaten alfresco in the stands.  If you want air conditioning, stay home!  (And if they’ve gotten rid of the sausage sandwiches, my preferred downscale dining option, I may consider becoming a Yankees fan.)

At Shea, there were ten major categories of seats, not counting the really fancy seats behind home plate.  Now there are 26, a feat accomplished by zoning each level into ‘infield’ and ‘outfield,’ and further charging extra for the first few rows. The better to juice the fans, I guess.

Yes, I’ll go to see the Mets at Citi Field.  I may even like the new stadium when I see it.

But for now, I’m ticked.

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