|Goodbye to Shea Stadium||| Print ||
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on September 29, 2008
You could see it coming.Â Anyone who has watched the Mets over the past month of the season saw the past rising up to repeat itself.Â The Metsâ€™ bullpen kept crumbling at crucial times and the team just kept giving away leads - and games.
In fact, the Mets bullpen managed to give away 17 games - blowing leads in the late innings and giving the team a handicap which they just couldnâ€™t overcome.Â Especially over the last month against sub .500 teams.Â But the story today shouldnâ€™t have been the Mets collapse, but their goodbye to Shea Stadium.
I have never been a fan of Shea despite the many great moments that I have seen there, but Major League Baseball and the Mets really blew the Shea Goodbye (ok, the Mets blew it in two different ways).Â Somewhere, someway, some genius working for baseball should have said â€śhey, what if the Mets are playing for the playoffs that day?Â And what if they lose?Â Hmm, maybe we shouldnâ€™t schedule the goodbye ceremony for after the game.â€ť
In the last week or so someone in the Mets front office realized that and contacted the offices of MLB to ask if they could push the game back and have the ceremony for the stadium before game time.Â They were told no, baseball, or more importantly commissioner Selig wanted the playoff picture settled as early in the day as possible.Â
To a degree that made sense, if the Brewers were going to have to travel to New York for a playoff game they had a right to know as soon as possible so they could get on a plane and get a decent night of rest.Â But it certainly subtracted from the drama - the Mets and their fans could have had another hour or two of anticipation and feeling the pressure of the Brewers on their tail.Â It would have been good drama.
It also would have sent the Mets into the game in an upbeat mood by honoring not just the stadium but all of the Mets greats who came back to celebrate the special moments in the history of the park.Â It was something todayâ€™s, er, make that yesterdayâ€™s Mets could have happily participated in and given the fans back a true fan appreciation day.
But what it turned out to be was a funeral after a funeral, the first one preceded by a long agonizing death.Â The current Mets never showed their faces and the downcast fans, many of whom were unable to even bear sitting though the post game goodbye, sat mourning, crying and completely unable to enjoy the ceremonies.Â Instead of touting a proud tradition, that of underdogs who finally made good, it was more like rubbing salt into an open wound.
And while MLB missed the boat on this one so did the Mets.Â They could have moved the ceremonies up - opened the park a few hours earlier and celebrated all those magical moments starting around 11 am.Â No doubt that would have caused all sorts of problems, letting the fans know, coordinating with the Mets alumni who were coming back for yesterday, but it would have been the right thing to do.
Even New York Cityâ€™s Metropolitan Transportation Authority got into the act and brought back retired subway cars from the early days of the Mets (from the 1960s) to shuttle fans out to the ballpark and get in on what should have been a celebration, no matter if the Mets won or lost the game.
Instead of a grand farewell, Shea has gone out with a whisper.Â While I may not miss that stadium I do know that she deserved better than this kind of a goodbye.