New York Mets – History Making So Long to Shea Stadium
If you weren’t around in 1964, you missed the grand aperture of Shea stadium to the public for business. If you’re a true Mets fan, however, chances are you’ve taken the opportunity to observe countless games in the stadium over the years. Perhaps you were already one of the nearly 57,000 people who attended the sold out closing ceremony recently.
More than 40 of the Mets former managers and players attended and watched the closing game between the Mets and Marlins. No, the Mets didn’t win as the Marlins took home a 4-3 victory. The loss didn’t stop fans from filling the seats and making history as fond farewells were said and history was made. Record holder Ed Kranepool is one of many who is sad to observe Shea stadium go. “When they tear it down, they take their records with them”, Kranepool said, “It was sentimental since I do have records here.” Kranepool holds the records for most hits and most games at Shea stadium.
The closing ceremony opened with the stadium’s former broadcasters and was closed out with an introduction of each player, one by one. Never in the history of Shea has there been such a celebration and never will there be again. But before the wrecking balls made their debut, hall of famers, former and current team players and others were on hand to say so long to the wealth of memories Shea Stadium allowed them to create.
Darryl Strawberry, Dave Kingman, Al Jackson, Jerry Koosman, Dwight Gooden, Willie Mays, Mike Piazza, Tom Seaver, John Franco, Keith Hernandez, Cleon Jones, Robin Ventura, Sid Fernandez, Wally Backman, Lenny Dykstra, Yogi Berra and Al Leiter were all given individual mention and most received loud cheers and yells from the crowd.
Not just ordinary fans turned out to say good bye either. In the crowd were NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, actress Glen Close, crooner Marc Anthony and the exceptional singer and songwriter Billy Joel, who sang “New York State of Mind” as the very last song. The sky was set ablaze with a fireworks characterize as fans booed the Marlins, who were allowed on the field and were unfazed as they were allowed to take a souvenir cup of dirt from the home plate.
“I saw all of them here,” Kranepool said, who hopes to see Opening day 2009. “I hope I’m around to be there. I wish it would have been a happier ending. There have been a lot of ups and downs at Shea Stadium. With the new stadium, they can start building a new organization again.”
With both good and bad memories shared and conclusion of the official so long, fans and current Mets players can look towards the spring and the grand opening of the new Citi Field. There will always be the memories produced in Shea Stadium over the years and fans are already eagerly expecting to make more memories at the new field when it opens.