(No Mas has partnered with Paul Lukas of Uni Watch and the inimitable Reverend Vince Anderson on a campaign to call the new ballpark in Flushing, like the old one, Shea Stadium. As you may have surmised, there will be t-shirts, but our more glorious purpose is here explained by Reverend Vince, who will be performing his singular version of Meet the Mets before my interview with David Wright Tuesday night at 21 Mercer.)
I moved to Queens from California in 1994. I lived in a little apartment right off the 7 train, minutes from Shea Stadium. As a kid in California, I was raised believing that the American League was the league of the Devil, so there was never much of choice for me when deciding which New York team I would root for. I did give Yankee stadium a try and was not impressed. When I ascended the mighty escalator at Shea, to my seats in the Upper Deck for the first time, I felt like I was home.
As I got to know the history of Shea, the immediate connection I had grew deeper. I read about the baptizing of home plate with water from the the Hudson and East rivers, representing the Giants and the Dodgers, the legacy of the National League in New York City. I grew to admire the renegade spirit of Bill Shea, and his several attempts to bring real baseball back to the city.
My memories run deep. Not as deep as the folks that were there since the first opening day, but to me just as valid. Since my first opening day in 1996 I have not missed one. I have attended an average of 40 games a season, always in the upper deck, always with my scorecard and always with my trusty transistor radio, just in case the wind blew in such away, as it often did, that the sound of the public address system would some how bypass theus folks in the cheap seats. Not that I would need it, because the gigantic scoreboard always kept me abreast of the batting order and pitching changes, as well as updates of scores of the dreaded Yankees, Braves, and Phillies.
I remember so vividly the first game back after 9/11 and watching the Piazza moon shot fly across the 1st base line night into the parking lot, taking the care of the city with it, if but for a moment. I remember the sprinklers going off in the middle of a game, and Pedro later calling it a blessing. I remember countless fourth of July’s, soaked in sun and too expensive beer. I remember the triumphs and disappointments, both those of my team, and of me personally, as I used Shea as my cathedral, my place to connect with God, my place to reflect.
It was a dump. But it was our dump. I knew the time had come too say goodbye, but I never truly believed that the name would be sold to the highest bidder. When the name Citifield was announced I cried a little. When I drove by the other day and saw that name in lights, I cried a little more.
So here we are in the great depression of 2009, Citibank has been bailed out. At that time several people wanted to call it Taxpayer Field. I heard this while listening to the FAN, and I remember commenting to my self, “I’m calling it Shea.”
And that’s what I’m calling it. It will never be Citifield in my mind. It will always be Shea. Join us, as we attempt to take back the real name of the park at Flushing Meadows back form those that stole it from us. Join us in always calling it Shea to your friends and loved ones. “Popcorn, peanuts all down at Shea, guaranteed to have a heck of a day.”
Reverend Vince Anderson is an avid Mets fan, musician, and actual minister who spreads the good word both at his weekly residency at the Black Betty in Brooklyn (Monday Nights), occasional Sunday Morning services at the Pete’s Candy Store and frequent weddings in and around the city, including No Mas’s own Buddy Schmeling’s at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. We are proud to have him on the site and in the extended No Mas family.