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Monday, January 11, 2010

In Honor of Shea Stadium

In order to properly honor Shea Stadium, to whom this blog is dedicated, I will list my 9 most memorable games at the well-storied stadium. Feel free to post your favorite moments in the comments section.

9) April 3, 2006 Home Opener. Mets open up versus the Washington Nationals, Tom Glavine pitches a swift 6 innings and leaves leading 3-1. Heilman throws 2 innings, lets up 5 hits, and only 1 run. But the big memory is Billy Wagner making his Mets debut, and on the ride home to CT, we some how cross 3 bridges (thanks GPS; it was set to avoid tolls, that didn't work), and got to listen to Mike and the Mad Dog talk about Wagner's entrance song "Enter Sandman". "Mike, he can't play that song, he just can't do it. not in this town Mike, he can't do it. thats Mariano's song. Not in this town." Oh how I never thought I'd miss those 2 working together. That was the 8th opening day in a row I had attended, a streak that ended last year. Went to the game with Mike Medina

8) 2007 Home Opener, April 10, Mets vs Phillies. After Jimmy Rollins opened his big mouth the prior off-season and said the Phillies were the team to beat (although they hadn't won a darn thing at that point), this turned into the rivalry it is today. Mets scored 7 runs in the 8th inning, highlighted by a J-Roll error, and he was then serenaded for 8 straight batters with "Jimmy Rollins, Jimmy Rollins, Jimmy Rollins". David Wright broke the game open with a bases clearing double during the 8th. Mets win 11-5. Went to the game with Rory

7) April 17, 2006, Pedro wins his 200th career game. Pedro was the 2nd pitcher in the history of the Mets to accomplish the feat as a member of the Mets (Orel Hershiser was the 1st). Delgado hit a HR (off of Jorge Sosa), and Pedro pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowed 3 runs, but Duaner Sanchez and B Wagner came in to close out the game. Mets win 4-3. Pedro comes out of the dugout and gets a standing ovation from those remaining in the crowd. Went with my brother, Stonaha, and Leandra.

6)September 22, 2001. 2nd game in New York after 9/11. Had goosebumps head to toes entering the stadium, with the star spangled banner and God Bless America. Mets won 7-3, but the game didn't mean much. Have never seen/felt the country as united as it was on that day. Mets moved to 3 1/2 games back after this win, but never got closer than that. Steve Traschel got the win and Benitez the save. Went with Amy.

5) Saturday June 15, 2002. Mets vs Yankees, but this was the 1st time Roger Clemens would pitch/hit at Shea Stadium after the Piazza fiasco. It was one of the most highly anticipated pitches and Estes threw it behind Clemens; he sent a message (even tho he wasn't on the team in 2000), and both benches were warned. Clemens got roughed up on the mound, as both Estes and Piazza took him deep, and Mets win 8-0. Went with Katie, Tim and Jess.

4) May 29, 2007. First opportunity to see the phenomn Tim Lincecum. He was unhittable for the 1st time through the line up, striking out Beltran on 99 mph fastball. I truly thought the Mets were going to get no hit. Delgado hit 2 bombs (1st hit was in 4th inning), including walk off HR in the 12th inning. Benitez was booed as he trotted in from the bullpen, yet I stood up and cheered, realizing he was going to allow us to win the game. Benitez balked in Reyes (who ran home with his hands waving in the air like a small little leaguer), the 2nd balk of the inning. Willie still hadn’t learned Shoenweis can’t get righties out and almost lost the game in the 10th. Bonds pinch hit in top of the 10th, and he got booed so viciously I was scared for his life. He walked on 5 pitches. Went with Scat and Rory.

3) Mets vs Phillies June 7, 2007. Mets were down 2-0 going into the bottom of the 6th, and Cole Hamels was dominating the Mets. With 2 outs in the 6th, C Delgado breaks through with a HR, followed by a controversial HR by D Wright, and then Pauly Lo Duca completes the BACK-BACK-BACK HRs, (1st time since D Strawberry, K McReynolds and K Hernandez did it also vs the Phillies), led to one of my favorite text messages "PROTEST THAT" (Charlie Manuel was tossed on the D Wright HR call and played the game under protest). All this was for naught, as we lost 6-3 in extra innings (Pat the Bat owned B Wagner and hit a HR to lead off the 9th inning, amd then Schoenweis lets up 3 er in the 10th). Went with Medina.

Although the final 2 memories have negative feelings associated with it, they are and always will be fresh in my memory.

2) Game 5, 2000 World Series, October 26, 2000. Bernie Williams hit a HR in the 2nd inning for the first hit of his World Series (off Al Leiter), and the Mets responded with 2 unearned runs in the 2nd to take the lead. Mets held the lead until the 6th when Jeter took Leiter deep. Remained tied until the 9th inning with 2 outs, Posada walks, Brosius singles, and Luis Sojo singles to center, both runs score as the ball his Posada as he slid home and the ball went into the dugout. Mets have a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the 9th after Benny Agbayani walks, and I'm still convinced Mike Piazza got all of the ball to send the game to extra innings, but it was too high or something, and the ball easily falls into Bernie Williams glove. Will never forget having to watch the Yankees celebrate on our field. bad day to be a Mets fan. Went with my sister.

1) Sunday Sept 28, 2008. Last game ever at Shea. Went with my brother, and met up with Scat, his dad, and Medina and his brother before the game. Brutal loss. The Mets entered the game tied for the wild card with Milw. and had a 50 min rain delay to start the game, so the game started at the same time as Milw and Cubs. Cubs jumped out to an early 1-0 lead and the place was as loud as if the mets scored. It was scoreless until the 6th, when Ollie Perez let up 2 runs and left with the bases loaded. Beltran hits the biggest HR in his Mets career and ties the game at 2. In the 8th inning of the Brewers game (scoreboard watching), Braun drives in 2 runs and makes it 3-1. Mets crowd goes silent, knowing the mets need to win to force 1 game playoff. Jerry Manuel gets outmanaged by bringing in Schoenweis to start an inning, which allows Wes Helms to pinch hit for Mike Jacobs and Helms greets him with a HR. Manuel comes out, makes a double switch, and Schoenweis gets booed out of the stadium (Schoenweis was crying and needed to be consoled after the game). Luis Ayala then comes in and promptly lets up another HR, this one to Uggla. Church had a chance to tie the game in the 9th, but fell about 30 feet short of the fence. Loss 4-2. Post game ceremony was very nice, with the marlins celebrating on the field and fans yelling “off the field! Off the field” Very emotional and they did a nice job, although Seaver bounced the last pitch in shea to Piazza. Good bye Shea, you will always be home.

Hope you guys have as good of memories as I have of that stadium. Feel free to post your favorites that you went to.


  1. Good list.

    You're 10th spot would have to be Bruce's last show of his 2003(?) tour with a special guest of Bob Dylan?

  2. Let me continue with a comment from game #7. Yes, I was there with Leandra and Anthony. The thing I remember most is Anythony's brother LEAVING IN THE 5TH INNING to beat traffic! We were all over him. You can't leave Shea early, especially when Pedro is going for #200. Still can't believe he left early...

    My earliest memories of Shea were as a kid going with my dad. I can remember sitting in the orange seats in right field about 15 rows up (we knew somebody who had tickets). One game as a kid Dr. K was on the hill and just blowing people away and I was like "yeah, this is cool" (before he starting blowing it up his nose)...

    The other game (and Anthony I am surprised you didn't mention this one) was the Mets-Yankees game we went to and sat in the first row of the upper deck just to the fair territory side of the left field foul pole. That was the night Delgado and Wright went back to back with Wright's clearing the picnic area and almost landing in the parking lot. Also that night, A Rod was up in a big spot in the 8th and hit into a double play and Torre took him out as the whole place chanted "A Rod" for about 10 minutes.

    Now that I think of it, I was in the stadium in 2007 when the Mets lost to the Marlins after Glavine gave up 7 runs in the first. My brother and I went to the game, scalped tickets and after about 19 minutes, were ready to jump out of the mezzanine because a) we knew the game was over and b) we paid a lot of money for the "sold out" game (by the way, the upper deck was maybe 3/4 full at best. Luis Castillo struck out to end the game on a low inside curve ball and it pretty much blew...

    Mets gotta battle...and I wonder what Leandra is up to these days?....

  3. 1) Sunday Sept 28, 2008. Last game ever at Shea. Spent the horrible rain delay and even worse game watching Scott BLOWenweis, and the rest of the sMETS losing in a chance to make the playoffs. I can't forget the Marlins coming back onto the field after the game to take SACRED HOMEPLATE DIRT in plastic bags. I still don't think the Booos were loud enough.

    Thanks to Ant for inviting me to watch this blog. I will try to be an avid pessimistic Mets fan who can always put a realistic spin on the bullshit Omar, Jerry, and the Wilpon's put in the headlines.

    Thanks again

    Ken K
    PS- Jason Bay can't through fucking strikes, and why the hell do we still have Castillo.... Another non-productive off season. As Mets fans we better start practicing ... the famous four words... WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR.

  4. 10. Date unknown, 2000: It was a Sunday day game and I have no idea who the Mets were playing but it must have been of relative importance because Christopher Russo was broadcasting from the WFAN box. On the way to my concession stand I decided to walk inside the stadium along the Loge level to get a glimpse of batting practice. As I walked below the WFAN booth I stopped to listen. When I heard it go to commercial I shouted out, “Hey Mad Dog!” Russo stuck his head outside the booth, waived and shouted back “How ya doing buddy!!!”

    9. July 11th 1999: Another Sunday day game and the Mets were going for a series sweep against the Yankees. I was working concessions for the game at the Kosher stand in the right field corner on field level. I don’t remember much about the game but we were required to get to the stadium extra early for the Yankees games. Waiting for the stadium to open I took a seat in right field and watched John Franco throw batting practice to his son, who was using the right field corner as the backstop. His son fouled one off into the stands not too far from me. Faced with the decision of keeping a batting practice ball or giving it back I decided to throw it back to Franco. I threw a perfect strike to Johnny. He thanked me. Unfortunately, Mets lost 6-3.

    8. July 16th 2008: Billy Joel’s Last Play at Shea…almost. Only the second time I felt the Upper Deck rock. The national anthem and Take Me Out to the Ballgame never sounded so good. It was a great night that couldn’t be spoiled by a Mets loss.

    7. May 19th, 2006: I had never been so unexcited to go to a Subway Series game. It was a Friday night and the pitching matchup of Geremi Gonzalez vs. Randy Johnson really made me wish I was home watching the game on the couch with some pizza. It started as anticipated with the Yankees scoring 4 runs in the top of the first. Delightfully, the Mets responded in the bottom half with 3 runs and later tied it at 6 in the bottom of the 5th. Darren Oliver and Aaron Heilman combined for 5 scoreless innings of relief and Billy Wagner struck out the side in the 9th. The great Mariano Rivera came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth. With two outs and two on David Wright hit a drive to deep center well over Johnny Damon’s head for the walk off victory.

    6. October 4th 2006 NLDS Game 1: Got to the ballpark for my first ever playoff game expecting to see Orlando Hernandez pitch. Amazingly he hurt himself in warm-ups and John Maine took the mound. My biggest memory from the game was Jeff Kent and JD Drew being tagged out by Paul Lo Duca at home plate on the same relay throw. After Mota blew the game by giving up 3 runs in the 7th, the Mets took the lead back in the bottom half. Wagner tried to blow it the 9th but the Mets held on 6-5.

    5. April 11th 2005: Unlike some people, I didn’t get to cut school to go to Opening Day back in high school and Michigan was a little too far to come home during college so this was my first chance to go to a Home Opener. It was also the first time Mets fans got to greet Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran. Pedro got the loudest pre-game cheer I had ever heard and was winning over the crowd with his dugout antics. The pregame excitement ended early as the Astros scored in the top of the first. That would be all Glavine would allow over 6 innings and the Mets took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the 6th. But the Astros scored one in the 7th and took the lead with two more in the 8th. The day became memorable as the Mets scored 5 runs in the bottom of the 8th. John Franco gave up runs 4 and 5 in that inning on a single by Cliff Floyd. It was the only batter he faced in his first return to Shea. The scoring ended there as the Mets won 8-4.

  5. 4. June 11th 2005: Down from my usual bird’s eye view in the Upper Deck I got to watch this one from Field Level. Mets were trailing 2-1 with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th when Marlon Anderson tied it on a thrilling pinch-hit Inside-the-park Home Run. It appeared to be for nothing when the Angels scored an unearned run in the 10th thanks to an error by Doug Mientkiewicz. But the bottom of the 10th proved to be more exciting than the 9th. Reyes led off with a single and Mike Cameron followed with a walk that put the tying run in scoring position and the winning run on with Beltran and Piazza coming up. Carlos and Mike both struck out swinging leaving it up to Cliff. Floyd hit a bomb over the right center field wall creating a great scene at Shea.

    3. September 28, 2008: To add my own personal experience from the last game at Shea, I was sitting way up in the Upper Deck all the way out in right field. I couldn’t see the scoreboard and therefore couldn’t see the score of the Brewer’s game. I could only judge by the reaction of the crowd. Not being used to the view from my seat combined with the desire I had for Church to hit a home run I thought he got enough of it to drive it out. Instead, I had a perfect view of the last out in Shea Stadium history.

    2. June 30th 2000: Trailing the hated Braves 8-1 heading into the bottom of the 8th inning they closed my concession stand in the Upper Deck. That allowed me to stand inside Section 11 to witness the greatest comeback I’ve ever seen. Single, fly out, single, ground out, single, single, walk, walk, walk, walk, single and the game is tied 8-8. Up steps Mike Piazza for the second time in the inning. He hits a laser beam down the left field line that bounces off the retired numbers. I am jumping up and down high-fiving complete strangers. And to think I was being paid to watch that.

    1. October 19th 2006 NLCS Game 7: I don’t have to tell you the details of this game but sitting in the Upper Deck out in left field I actually saw the ball going into Endy’s glove, and I’ll never forget how the Upper Deck shook afterwards. There is no way they would lose now, right? Endy would add to the legend when he came up with men on in the bottom half of that inning, right? Cliff Floyd was going to do his best Kirk Gibson impersonation, no? But when Carlos left the bat on his shoulders I learned how quiet 56,000 people really could be. Everyone filed down the ramp in silence and disbelief. I took the train to Port Washington. When I got into my car at the train station I couldn’t stand to listen to WFAN. So I switched from AM to CD and the first song that just happened to play was “Bitter End” by the Dixie Chicks. And it goes “It’s not alright, I can’t sleep tonight, Knowing you should have played on, On and on.”