Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Payson's Place
2008-08-22 05:42
by Alex Belth

What with all my attention focused on the final year of Yankee Stadium, I haven't paid as much notice to what's happening out in Queens. It is the last season at Shea too, and the Mets have more than a decent chance to play baseball in October.

Tom Seaver, the greatest player in Met history, isn't sad to see Shea go (Peace to Repoz for the link):

"Don't take this the wrong way, but I'm not a big fan of the stadium," Seaver said before last night's game against the Braves. "It's strictly an architectural observation.

"I said this before, and got my rear end in a little bit of hot water. It's just a physical presence to me. Now the physical is just going to move across the street."

..."I get sentimental about the people, not the physical structure here," Seaver said. "When I'm here, I see the spot where Gil Hodges used to sit, Rube Walker. I look to see where Tug McGraw used to sit. That's what I see. It's the people who occupied those spaces that are important to me."
(Barbara Barker, Newsday)

Seaver is right on here. In some ways, the same can be said about Yankee Stadium. The rennovated Stadium may not be as grand as the original version, but for a generation of Yankee fans, it is home. And it is the relationships we've had with our family and friends at the park, our relationships with the players, from Steve Balboni to Bernie Williams, that makes the place special.

2008-08-22 06:21:41
1.   JohnnyC
You can only extend the analogy so far and only in the most general terms. Specifically, Seaver is referencing what 3 generations of ML players have thought and said about Shea (or Big Shea as one benighted ex-co-worker of mine used to call it): it's a dump, pure and simple. Crumbling infra-structure, cookie-cutter dimensions, and, up until Keyspan built the stadium in Brooklyn, one of the most under-lit parks in the major leagues. Literally, corner outfielders would simply disappear from sight as they approached the stands. Memories of players and games past, yes, but, the stadium needed to be razed many, many years ago.
2008-08-22 06:54:33
2.   joejoejoe
I like Shea. It's easy to get to for a major stadium with good access to parking AND public transit. That said I was there when the Mets clinched the NL pennant to play the Yanks and I thought I was going to die because the fans were jumping up and down so much that the concrete deck looked like it was flexing 3 feet so maybe for safety's sake it needed replacing. And I'm sure people seeking cheap bodywork and autoglass will miss the Mad Max-area around Shea that is sure to disappear (it may be gone already).

As for the new new Yankee Stadium the upper deck seats are going to be much farther from the field and there will be fewer bleacher seats so the experience of watching a game isn't going to be better, it's going to be worse. The new stadium is subsidized with about a half a billion dollars of public money and subtracts parkland from the people of the New York. It's lose-lose-lose as far as I'm concerned. I'll never be a fan of the new joint.

2008-08-22 07:02:08
3.   JL25and3
2 Nice, succinct statement of my fundamental criticisms of the new Stadium. The upper deck will also have many fewer seats than it does now, to be replaced by more seats at the back of the lower deck - crappier but more expensive.
2008-08-22 07:03:43
4.   JL25and3
"Ironically," I'm going to Shea tonight. I'm pretty sure the last time I was there was game 1 of the 1986 World Series.
2008-08-22 07:54:08
5.   JohnnyC
It's a sad situation but every new stadium except one has been built by exploiting public funds and ravaging local neighborhoods and businesses. At least the new stadium won't be built on a Native American burial ground like Miller Park in Milwaukee was. It wasn't conflict of interest that finally made Selig divest himself of the Brewers. It was the threat of the state of Wisconsin investigating him for criminal misuse of taxpayer dollars. The only ballpark built with private funds is the AT&T in San Francisco and you do realize that Peter Magowan is persona non grata in the commissioner's office.
2008-08-22 07:58:42
6.   Raf
5 The only recent stadium, that is; Dodger Stadium was privately financed.
2008-08-22 08:06:44
7.   pistolpete
5 >> The only ballpark built with private funds is the AT&T in San Francisco >>

Is that what it's called now?

2008-08-22 08:10:32
8.   JL25and3
6 Yes...with a tip of the Hatlo hat to the city of Los Angeles for getting rid of the last residents of Chavez Ravine and giving the land to the Dodgers. (The city had been working to clear the Chicanos out of the area for some time, this was just the last step.)
2008-08-22 08:32:43
9.   Raf
8 They were clearing them out to build a housing project. You know how it goes, "underutilized" prime real estate in the hands of people "who can't appreciate it."

Urban renewal, gotta love it.

2008-08-22 08:40:12
10.   Raf

Interesting to see the many points of views.

Also, this reminds me of the things I read about Robert Moses when he pushed the Cross Bronx Expressway through.

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