Sunday, November 30, 2008

At least Shea didn't have seats with teak armrests

Squawker Lisa, I see you are calling for Citi Field to be renamed something that rhymes with Citi. Well, I have some suggestions for names for your new stadium:

Golden Parachute Stadium
(the only people who will be able to afford to go are disgraced former CEOs)

Mitchell Report Park
(Shouldn't "Oh, my goodness gracious" be among the DVD extras on the "Essential Games of Yankee Stadium" that's part of our giveaway?)

The House That Kabbalah Built
(Will this be the year that A-Rod can sing "Like a virgin/In the World Series for the very first time"?)

But Lisa, I do agree that taking $20 million per year from floundering Citigroup isn't the best timing. But if that deal does get canceled, I hope it happens AFTER the free agent season. I don't want to hear, oh, we were just about to sign K-Rod when Citigroup pulled out, so we're going to give the bullpen guys we already have under contract another chance to get it right. Naming rights or not, the Mets revenue will only go up in the new stadium.

I've been to some of the new stadiums in the Midwest, and I hope Citi Field is a beautiful new stadium along the lines of PNC Park in Pittsburgh or Comerica in Detroit. But Lisa, I was dismayed to read in your entry about the teak armrests on at least some Yankee Stadium seats, and how, according to that CBS sports column, these seats will have to be covered with a tarp during bad winter weather.

Gee, too bad neither of these pricey new stadiums contains the one amenity that could most benefit fans - a retractable dome. But I figured that at least the seats where we poor slobs will sit would at least be weatherproof. Will the seats with teak armrests come with a teak maintenance charge? Will cupholders be banned, lest beer be spilled on the precious teak? And here I thought maple bats were the biggest wood-related problem facing baseball.

* * *

I want to echo Lisa's thanks to our friends at baseball blogs The Musings and Prophecies of Metstradamus, Was Watching, Baseball and the Boogie Down, and The Sommer Frieze for helping us get the word out about our new location, and about our giveaway.

If you haven't already entered our A&E Essential Games DVD giveaway, you can do so here.

I was looking over the list of essential Shea Stadium games and was pleased to see that I was actually at three of them. In 1999, I got a ticket at the last minute through a friend to what would become the Robin Ventura grand-slam single game. Our seats were way out in left field, so I made sure to set the VCR to tape the game so I could have a better view of anything that I missed. I set the tape to run for five hours - surely that would be enough.

Fortunately, our seats were under an overhang, since it was raining steadily. Unfortunately, the overhang blocked our view of fly balls, so when Ventura got his hit, we had to watch what was going on in the infield to see whether the ball was caught and what happened after that.

Well, we quickly figured out that the Mets won, but as far as understanding exactly what happened, that would have to wait until I got home. It's the only game I can remember attending in which I didn't even know for sure what the final score was until after I got home.

The game lasted almost six hours, so I came home to a worthless videotape of the first 12 innings. (After that, when taping a game, I always set my VCR to record for the full six hours.)

At least now that we have SNY, if a game turns out to be a classic, we know we'll get to see it again in its entirety at some point.

In 1986, I had a Saturday plan, which enabled me to get tickets to Game 3 of the NLCS and Games 1 and 7 of the World Series. I was pleased to see Game 3 included on the DVD set, since it was a great game that is overshadowed by the legendary Game 6's of both the World Series and the NLCS.

The most memorable game I ever attended was Game 7 of the 1986 World Series, and it has only gotten more memorable over the years as the Mets have sadly not repeated the experience. But I can understand why the featured game from that Series would be Game 6.

In 1969, my father got tickets to Game 4 of the World Series. I was a little young to fully appreciate just how historic the Miracle Mets' season was, but it was fantastic to be there. But as exciting as that game was, with Ron Swoboda's incredible catch and J.C. Martin running out of the basepath on the winning play, I would have to go with Game 5 as the most memorable game in that Series. The DVD does include the last inning of Game 5 (as well as the last inning of 1986's Game 7).

I did get to go to a few other games in the 1969 season, my first full one as a Jet fan. (I was not a bandwagon fan - I actually started following the Mets during the 1968 season.) One of the games I was lucky enough to attend was Tom Seaver's "imperfect game" - the perfect game broken up by Jimmy Qualls of the Cubs in the 9th inning. Seaver was my idol growing up. And ever since that game, I've always wanted to be watching when the Mets finally got that elusive no-hitter.

It is strange to think that there will never be a no-hitter at Shea. If there's a no-hitter curse on the Mets, I suppose we'd have to call it the Nolan Ryan curse. Maybe moving to a new stadium will break that curse.


"The Expert" said...

There were 2 No-Hitters at Shea stadium
June 21 1964..Jim Bunning of the Phillies
Sept. 21 1969. Bob Moose of the Pirates, The good news is that the Mets recovered to win 9 straight games and went on to win the World Series in the magical year of 1969 that saw The Jets win a Super Bowl. Man walk on the Moon, The Mets, and the Knicks set a Record 18 game winning streak and go on to win the 69-70 NBA World Championship!

Uncle Mike said...

If there's a curse on the Mets, it has to have started after the last World Championship. I've been using the phrase "The Curse of Kevin Mitchell" since the five-game disaster that closed the 1998 season. (Remember? The NL East was lost, but all they had to do was win 1 of their last 5 and they had the wild card, and... ) Kevin McReynolds wasn't a bad player, but Mitchell, whom the Mets traded for him, reached the Playoffs in 2 of the 3 seasons after '86 and won the MVP in '89.

At first, I was just joking about the Mets having a curse. But considering the '88 NLCS, the '98 close, Kenny Rogers in '99, the 2000 Series, the Art Howe years, Yadier Molina in the '06 NLCS, and the '07 and '08 September Swoons, maybe it isn't a joke anymore. (It's still funny, but it's no longer much of a joke.)

As for the Mets never having a no-hitter, that's a quirk of history, not something that really matters. After all, within days of each other, they faced that Bob Moose no-hitter and Steve Carlton's 19-strikeout game (first guy in the NL to do that), which they won anyway. And then they won the NL East, the Pennant and the Series. So the lack of a no-hitter is not a big deal.

Of course, when you consider that Tom Seaver pitched one after leaving the Mets, and Dwight Gooden and David Cone both pitched theirs for the Yankees...

After all, it's not like the Yankees gave up on Whitey Ford, Mel Stottlemyre, Ron Guidry or Dave Righetti, and then those guys went on to pitch no-hitters, or win championships, for the Mets! (Well, Mel did, as a pitching coach, but you get the idea.)

She-Fan said...

Just linked to your site on my "Confessions of a She-Fan" blog. Congrats on your new location and may both new stadiums have way better food than the old ballparks!

Jonmouk71 said...

Hey guys, instead of the silly name of field debate how about something to stir up Yankee and Met fans alike:
1. Rickey Henderson - a first ballot HOF? - stats say yes, but his presence in both Yankee and Met clubhouses were definitely a negative (he helped get Yogi fired in 1985).

2. The Vet Committee: Gil Hodges or Allie Reynolds? Hodges gets a lot of support for his Dodger career (2 rings) and managing the 1969 Mets - but he never won more than 83 games in any other years he managed. Reynolds has 6 rings and the wear and tear of starter-bullpen-starter-bullpen gave him only 182 victories in a short 13 year career. But he was a dominant pitcher in his time and two no-no's in 1951 make him worthy.

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