Last night I visited my second Major League Baseball stadium, Shea Stadium. For most of my life, that’s existed in my head as the place where the Beatles opened their 1965 US tour. I still love the pictures from that event. The colours, the exotic shape of the stadium (for someone not used to seeing baseball stadiums), the police on the field, the band running across the field, the suits they wore; it’d be one of the first events I’d choose to go to in a time machine.
But, for the last three years, Shea has become what it actually is: the home of the New York Mets. Like Yankee Stadium, Shea will be abandoned at the end of this season for a swankier place being built right next door. I’m glad I got the chance to see it. I’d been told by several people that it was a shitty stadium, but I must admit, I enjoyed it. The atmosphere was a tad subdued, but that’s probably due to it being the last of a four game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, it being a Sunday night, and the game as a contest effectively being over when the Mets took a 6-1 lead in the third inning.
I’m still new enough to baseball to get stupidly excited about seeing certain players live, and last night I got to see the Mets’ hot-shot pitcher Johan Santana in action. And David Wright, one of my favourite non-Yankees players.
I really love being at baseball games. Nothing beats the thrill and the pace of a good football (soccer) game, but going to a baseball game is a very close second. I love how it’s, on one level, simply a social event. A chance for Derick and I to sit next to each other, neck a few beers, eat a hot dog covered in sauerkraut, ketchup and mustard, and just chat about all types of rubbish.
Anyway, two stadiums visited, twenty-eight to go. I won’t be doing them all on this trip, but it’s possible that I might have a good stab at it, and hopefully getting to around half of them. The route of my trip across the country is so utterly vague at the moment, so there’s no concrete plans, but hopefully I might get to see the Phillies, Indians, Pirates, White Sox, Cubs, Brewers, Twins, Cardinals, Royals, Mariners, Athletics, Giants, Dodgers, Angels, and Padres; which kinda shows you, on this map (click here or on the map to see large version), the route that I’l be taking across the country. And without wishing to be too outgoing, if you’re a fan of any of those teams and fancy joining a British fellow to go to a game, email me. That might be fun. I say “might” cos I can be a grumpy sod at times, but that’s unlikely to be the case at a game.
Beneath the map are a bunch of pictures from Shea.
We’re standing so that God can bless America here. I even joined in with a few words. I do like the “mountains to the prairies” line. And the “white foam” bit, but that’s just me being a smutty schoolboy.
And, unlike Yankee Stadium, one can smoke at Shea. Not in the stadium itself, but you can go just outside and stand amongst tons of other smokers powering their way through fags so they can get back to the game. An excuse, though, for me to take a couple of pics looking out over Queens.
As the game progressed, and the crowd thinned out, Derick and I began thinking the same thing: let’s go and sit in other seats for the hell of it.
Then we did what we both wanted to do the most: sit in the highest furthest away seat possible. If you go back to the photo after the US map above and look at the stand in the distance, and look at the toppermost seat on the left, that’s where we were heading. And this is the view.