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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Shea Stadium: New York’s other MLB home bids farewell, too

It is hard to imagine missing Shea Stadium.

With no ivy on the walls or a green monster in left field, Shea is devoid of the kind of aura and charm of baseball’s relics. Also missing are the plush amenities of today’s grand venues.

A tribute to function over form, the Queens ballpark rises out of a diverse Flushing Meadows’ neighborhood.

With the Mets’ mainstay readying for its final regular-season homestand and its replacement next door being built up for the first pitch of next spring, the era of Shea Stadium will soon be over.

Shea is a dump. Any person who likes Shea Stadium itself is either horribly drunk or horribly stoned (or, quite possibly, both). Too bad I won’t be in New York when they demolish it, so I could break-dance on it’s grave. Maybe to Beatles music, to honor Shea Stadium’s greatest moment*.

*I am a bitter Oriole fan that, having lost all hope for the future, is now trying to change the past. Flux Capacitor, folks. Flux Capacitor.

Gamingboy Posted: September 20, 2008 at 07:27 PM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mets, obituaries

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. devo Posted: September 20, 2008 at 08:57 PM (#2948752)
Even in spite of its age and overall blandness and speaking from a purely analytical standpoint, Shea is just as good a stadium as a number of major league venues. It's not as over-the-top ridiculous as Minute Maid or PETCO, as horribly ill-suited for baseball as Dolphins Stadium, or as downright depressing as Tropicana Field. It's as good a park as the Athletics or Yankees play in.

Everyone bagging on Shea in its final year seems to forget that, for all its faults, it's still superior to a number of newer ballparks with overzealous designs and just as good as the one that's being torn down just across town.
   2. Blackadder Posted: September 20, 2008 at 09:01 PM (#2948757)
The difference is Yankee stadium does not have seas of hideous orange.
   3. JRVJ (formerly Delta Socrates) Posted: September 20, 2008 at 11:11 PM (#2948860)
Dude, you must really hate Manny Sanguillen, Willie Stargell and Ken Tekulve.
   4. Sam M. Posted: September 20, 2008 at 11:42 PM (#2948910)
Everyone bagging on Shea in its final year seems to forget that, for all its faults, it's still superior to a number of newer ballparks with overzealous designs and just as good as the one that's being torn down just across town.

It is not as good as Yankee Stadium, just on pure historical grounds. In terms of quality of experience, history aside, it is at least as good.

It's not as good as any new ballpark that was actually designed as a baseball park (which lets out Dolphins Stadium, for example). Not even close.
   5. Levi Stahl Posted: September 21, 2008 at 12:18 AM (#2948955)
Hell, I've only been to Shea three times, but as someone who grew up going to Busch Stadium, I found it perfectly pleasant. Yeah, it's a bowl, but it's kinda goofy: that whole "bizarre stuff like front-end-loaders and forklifts" behind the outfield wall, the apple, the fact that you can't really see Manhattan from the seats, the excuse it gives you to visit the World's Fair sites . . . I gotta put myself down as a straight-up fan. I'll miss it.
   6. Kiko Sakata Posted: September 21, 2008 at 12:24 AM (#2948961)
Dude, you must really hate Manny Sanguillen, Willie Stargell and Ken Tekulve.


Doesn't everybody? I still tend to fly into uncontrollable rage when I hear that stupid Sister Sledge song.
   7. Lassus Posted: September 21, 2008 at 12:30 AM (#2948966)
It is not as good as Yankee Stadium, just on pure historical grounds. In terms of quality of experience, history aside, it is at least as good.

I agree with this. And I really like Shea Stadium. How many games have you been to there, Gamingboy?
   8. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 21, 2008 at 12:31 AM (#2948967)
Dude, you must really hate Manny Sanguillen, Willie Stargell and Ken Tekulve.


Doesn't everybody? I still tend to fly into uncontrollable rage when I hear that stupid Sister Sledge song.

You haven't lived died until you've been sitting in front of a large group of Pirates' wives, in a steady drizzle, during the 1979 World Series, listening to them singing "We are fam-i-lee" for every goddam inning of every goddam game in Baltimore. With Mrs. Omar Moreno in the lead. Talk about torture. Especially since the Pirates won the last three games.
   9. Karl from NY Posted: September 21, 2008 at 04:48 AM (#2949095)
Shea is perfectly serviceable and not actually unpleasant at all. I actually quite like the geometrical bowl motif, and the symmetric playing field. All the new parks try to be unique with their Quirky Angles and Cozy Seating, but end up blending together in doing so. Citi will become lost in that crowd. Twenty years from now, all the retro-intimate ballparks will be seen as cookies cut from the same dough, just like the previous wave of stadiums is now.

BTW, the reason you can't see Manhattan from the Shea seats is because the stadium faces the opposite direction, northeast. The Manhattan skyline is visible from the top of Shea's upper deck if you look out the back side, behind home plate and a little to the left. Both Yankee Stadiums don't face Manhattan either.


With no ivy on the walls or a green monster in left field, Shea is devoid of the kind of aura and charm of baseball’s relics.

Translation: Shea doesn't provide any convenient hooks for a cheap and easy lyrical touch to sportswriting. "In the shadow of the Green Monster" ... "On the shore of McCovey Cove" ... "In the cavernously loud Metrodome" ... what do you get for Shea, something about auto junkyards.
   10. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 21, 2008 at 06:48 AM (#2949143)
Translation: Shea doesn't provide any convenient hooks for a cheap and easy lyrical touch to sportswriting. "In the shadow of the Green Monster" ... "On the shore of McCovey Cove" ... "In the cavernously loud Metrodome" ... what do you get for Shea, something about auto junkyards.


Shea is by far the best major-league ballpark for catching a glimpse of an Aeroflot Il-96.
   11. Gambling Rent Czar Posted: September 21, 2008 at 06:56 AM (#2949146)
i still don't understand why they are tearing it down. They should just relocate the Marlins there. Their attendance would increase in year one.
   12. Chipper Jonestown Massacre Posted: September 21, 2008 at 08:21 AM (#2949157)
All the new parks try to be unique with their Quirky Angles and Cozy Seating, but end up blending together in doing so.


The reason the new mallparks all blend together is that their "Quirky Angles", etc. have absolutely zero authenticity.

The old ballparks had unique features because they had to be shoe-horned into existing city blocks and the architects had to make do the best they could.

These days, vast swaths of land are clear cut for new mallparks so that any character, quirkiness or uniqueness has to be retroactively engineered from some Disney-fied sense of whimsical nostalgia rather than out of necessity.

The new mallparks are about as authentic to baseball as the New York (New York) skyline on Las Vegas Blvd.
   13. PreservedFish Posted: September 21, 2008 at 08:34 AM (#2949158)
I actually quite like the geometrical bowl motif, and the symmetric playing field ... Twenty years from now, all the retro-intimate ballparks will be seen as cookies cut from the same dough, just like the previous wave of stadiums is now.


I began thinking about this probably 10 years ago. Before the Mets had any plan to build a new stadium, I predicted that the opening of the new Mets stadium would herald the death of the retro-park craze. That it would be the New Comiskey of retro parks, a folly that would look out of date very soon as the new trend stuck.

But, having decided that you want to build a new stadium, what else are you supposed to do? I think that the retro thing, as a trend, is going to have long legs. Camden Fields is still wonderful, whereas the SkyDome is almost embarrasing to be seen in (we thought this was the future?). The last cookie-cutter stadiums will seem more charming in future years, but I don't think there is ever going to be a 60s architecture revival craze. You can't hold onto Shea in the anticipation that a future generation will get a non-ironic kick out of its quirky crappiness.
   14. devo Posted: September 21, 2008 at 04:06 PM (#2949239)
I'm leery of what few gimmicks CitiField does have. The whole Ebbets Field/Jackie Robinson rotunda is still a mystery to me - I'm amazed that the Dodgers haven't said anything about it considering that it's their heritage the Mets are paying tribute to. Some of the dimensions and wall heights are pretty goofy. There's a porch in the right field upper deck that hangs above the field of play, which'll turn some high warning track shots into undeserved home runs. Didn't hear about that last one 'til I went to Shea and visited the CitiField preview area.

But overall, I really can't think of anything that'll become grating as the years go by. There's no train, no riverboat, no other cutesy mode of transportation that whirs to life whenever the home team hits a dinger. No body of water beyond the field of play that it's apparently important to get a ball into. No outfield sandbox so that parents who wasted money on tickets for kids who don't like baseball can keep their brood quiet for a couple hours.

I'm rambling a little. But the point is, CitiField looks to be in the model of parks like PNC and Citizens Bank, which are fine molds to base a new stadium off of. I have few complaints about the design and they're mostly piddling. Can't ask for much more.
   15. Sam M. Posted: September 21, 2008 at 04:29 PM (#2949247)
The whole Ebbets Field/Jackie Robinson rotunda is still a mystery to me - I'm amazed that the Dodgers haven't said anything about it considering that it's their heritage the Mets are paying tribute to.

"Their" heritage? It's as much Brooklyn's heritage as it is the Dodgers. Not one or the other -- both. And the Mets, as the National League baseball team in New York, are very much the heir to the Brooklyn heritage, in ways too numerous to name. If the Mets are making a mistake here, and perhaps they are, it's in not integrating enough of the Giants/Polo Grounds into the new ballyard to make it truly interesting and a nod to the full heritage they represent.

I find the Citi Field design actually quite good, even apart from the fact that it honors Jackie Robinson (which frankly is enough to set it apart from every other park that's been build). The double deck of arches is eye-catching, and the angle at which the curved entrance to the rotunda moves off to the verticle brick walls along the street is just right, too. Best off all, to me, the way the steel structure of the seating area seems to be placed inside, and separate from, the brick of the outside structure (almost like a bowl placed inside a box) is a great piece urban architecture, and very suggestive of different dimensions of New York itself, a city of both brick and steel, and different elements combining. And very unlike that monstrosity in the Bronx, which is just endless tons of boring concrete, nothing offsetting anything else visually whatsoever. There's nothing New York about it at all, other than perhaps a confirmation of an outsider's view that New York is insufferably arrogant. But hey, the Yankees represent that idea of New York better than any other symbol, so I guess their new park should, too.
   16. Bowling Baseball Fan Posted: September 21, 2008 at 04:41 PM (#2949250)
Lets notice that the dimensions are larger than Shea's by a little bit. Another park continuing the trend of larger fields over the past 15 years or so.
   17. TerpNats Posted: September 21, 2008 at 05:04 PM (#2949264)
And the Mets, as the National League baseball team in New York, are very much the heir to the Brooklyn heritage, in ways too numerous to name. If the Mets are making a mistake here, and perhaps they are, it's in not integrating enough of the Giants/Polo Grounds into the new ballyard to make it truly interesting and a nod to the full heritage they represent.
Blame Fred Wilpon and his Brooklyn obsession for that. The irony is that the old and new Mets' ballparks are difficult to reach by subway from Brooklyn, as the 7 line goes from midtown Manhattan through northern Queens out to Flushing Meadows. Brooklynites who want to see a Mets game by train are almost forced to go via Manhattan to do so (unless they use the creaky G local through Greenpoint to transfer). That's why there have been charter express buses to Shea from Flatbush Avenue for many years. In contrast, it's easier to go to Yankee Stadium from Brooklyn directly on the 4 or D lines.
   18. Sam M. Posted: September 21, 2008 at 05:07 PM (#2949265)
The irony is that the old and new Mets' ballparks are difficult to reach by subway from Brooklyn, as the 7 line goes from midtown Manhattan through northern Queens out to Flushing Meadows.

That, of course, isn't Wilpon's fault. It's Robert Moses's, for insisting that the new New York ballpark be built on that particular site in Queens. That's why the Dodgers ended up in L.A. in the first place.

But the part about the park's nod to the N.Y. NL past being 98% Dodgers and 2% Giants . . . yeah, that's all Wilpon.
   19. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: September 21, 2008 at 08:50 PM (#2949510)
That the taxpayers are footing ten cents of the cost of New Shea Stadium sickens me, but some of the details, such as the concrete "bunting" filling in the tops of the veneer arches, are nicely handled.

This, [edit: crap. I guess Newsday doesn't link to individual shots in this gallery. #23 is a thoroughly dull seating arrangement] on the other hand, is prosaic. I'd love to see a baseball stadium that had seating more like this.

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