Other N.Y. stadium closing with flourish

  • Follow Baseball

NEW YORK --- By the way, Shea Stadium is closing, too.

Yankee Stadium's nostalgic goodbye garnered enormous attention across town, but hardly anyone seems affected by the New York Mets moving into a new ballpark next season, as well.

Hello, sparkling Citi Field. Good riddance, dreary Shea Stadium.

"The ballpark really didn't wear well. I thought it got old in a hurry," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.

Opponents haven't exactly been toting tools to the mound so they can scoop up souvenir dirt, the sort of scene that became familiar at Yankee Stadium this year.

History in "The House That Ruth Built" means Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle.

In Queens, it includes "Fat Jack" Fisher and Felix Millan.

But that doesn't mean big Shea, with its leaky ceilings, pungent odors and noisy airplanes overhead, hasn't had its share of stars and unforgettable moments.

Even Willie Mays is scheduled to attend the farewell festivities today.

"I haven't been to Shea in quite a long time," he said. "New York is so big and wonderful, they need two good ballparks, and that's what they got."

Don't forget, this was where Tom Seaver pitched the Miracle Mets to a World Series title in 1969.

Where the ball went through Buckner's legs, The Beatles changed rock 'n' roll, and Joe Willie Namath took the Jets to the Super Bowl.

Where Jackie Robinson's number was retired -- for every big league team.

Where Robin Ventura hit a grand slam-single and Mike Piazza's homer heartened a wounded city in the wake of Sept. 11.

"This atmosphere is what gets you geeked up to play here. The fans being so loyal and so -- just crazy," said Atlanta slugger Chipper Jones, who had so much success in the stadium that he named one of his sons Shea.

The Mets' intimate new digs will be $800 million Citi Field, under construction in the Shea Stadium parking lot. It's designed to resemble Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers through 1957, and it features a Jackie Robinson Rotunda.

The club already has moved its offices to Citi Field, where seating capacity will be about 45,000 -- down from 57,365 at Shea.

A state-of-the-art facility at first, Shea Stadium opened on April 17, 1964, with a 4-3 Mets loss to Pittsburgh. Next door, the World's Fair was held at Flushing Meadows that month.

The ballpark was named for attorney William Shea, instrumental in bringing a National League team to New York after the Giants and Dodgers migrated to California for the 1958 season.

One thing was certain: New York went into its final home series with a legitimate chance to send Shea Stadium out a winner in October.


Top headlines

Christmas Eve storm possible

ATLANTA - Forecasters say strong storms, some with the potential for isolated tornadoes, are possible over large parts of Georgia on Christmas Eve.
Search Augusta jobs