Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Shea Quest '08: 20 things I must do before bidding farewell

I didn’t see “The Bucket List” because I don’t get to too many movies that don’t involve superheroes or computer-generated talking animals.

But I know it’s about two older guys who decide to do all the crazy things they’ve always wanted to do before they die.

Not my kind of movie, but I’ll steal the idea and provide the list of 20 things I want to do and see at Shea this Saturday, my final trip to the glorious stadium.

1) Buy a program and yearbook immediately after entering the stadium.

2) Meet Mr. Met! The team never had the mascot out there in the 1970s and 1980s when I was able to attend games. After seeing photos of the new and improved Mr. Met – and being subjected to other mascots good and bad in other ballparks – I must have an audience with the ball-headed one.

3) Head to the Clubhouse Shop and find the awesome penny squishing machine for my daughter.
4) Boo Derek F. Jeter when the starting lineups are announced.

5) Eat a ballpark knish. People in the Midwest have absolutely no idea about knishes.

6) Boo Derek F. Jeter when he comes up to bat. Every time. It’s the right thing to do.

7) Somehow get into the picnic area beyond left field. I’ve never been out there, and it’s the closest Shea has to bleachers.

8) Eat a ballpark pretzel – but only if it’s cooked over charcoal. I have no reservations that it will be warmed by the charcoal, but it at least should smell better than the ones spinning on racks under heat lamps.

9) Boo Derek F. Jeter every time he makes a routine play then rolls around in the dirt in a shameless attempt to get on ESPN’s Web Gems.

10) Find that spot in the right field upper deck where Tommie Agee’s epic blast is marked. (Read the comments below to learn that there's a reason I've never found the marker in right field. And that's because it's in left field. Color me embarrassed.)

11) Make my way down to the field level seats deep in left to get as close as possible to the retired numbers for a photo. Then buy a frame when I get home for No. 41.

12) Walk up to a Yankee fan – any fan, it doesn’t matter – and say “Deep down, you know he’s over-rated, right?” That fact that they will know I am talking about Jeter without even saying his name shows that they know the truth.

13) Participate in a “Jose Joooosseee Jose Joooooseeeee” chant.

14) Sneak into the Diamond Club to see the Mets Hall of Fame, pay homage to the Seaver bust.

15) Buy one of those souvenir mini-bats with Mike Piazza on it, find a Yankee fan in a Clemens jersey and pretend to throw it at them, then say, “NOW YOU KNOW HOW MIKEY FELT, PUNK!”

16) Find the one they call “Cow Bell Man.” I hear it’s not wise to engage in conversation with Cow Bell Man or even look him directly in the eyes. But I’m just curious to see what this guy is all about.

17) Walk up to a Yankee fan – any Yankee fan – and say, “So, is this the year he tests positive?” They’ll know who I’m talking about.

18) Refuse to sing along with “Sweet Caroline” when it’s played on the PA. I like the song, but it’s lame to steal a Red Sox tradition.

19) Have my new camera ready on the video setting for when the Mets hit a home run and the glorious apple rises from the top hat in centerfield.

20) After the game ends, I want to stay for a moment and look to the spot in left where Cleon dropped to one knee with the final out in his glove, the mound where Seaver bowed and the place behind first base where Mookie’s dribbler rolled past.

I want to see and the spot midway up the scoreboard where Mo’s blast hit – and the area below it where Robin’s “grand slam single” landed.

I want to look at the foul territory where “Mettle” briefly ran to remember that as bad it is, it’s not as bad as it was.

I want one more look at the outfield wall where Endy leapt and the dirt around second where Pete and Buddy brawled, and the infield grass to speculate when and where Jesse’s glove finally landed and the area near home plate where Say Hey said “Willie, say ‘Good-bye’ to America.”

I want to burn all of these places into my memory, as if to stick them into my backpack with the program and yearbook and camera. Then, finally, I can say, “Good-bye” to Shea.

It's been 17 years, so if there's something that's developed at Shea since then and you think I need to do it, let me know!


G-Fafif said...

Not to make like the Washington Nationals and play spoiler, but here's some advance scouting to help you plan for the next series:

No. 5 hasn't been in evidence this season, though I may not have looked hard enough.

No. 16 will not be tough. He's ubiquitous.

No. 18 has been taken care of by popular demand (or lack thereof).

No. 8...don't get your hopes up in terms of cooking method.

No. 10 -- just keep going, up and to left, and you'll find what you seek.

No. 2 is a decent shot to happen.

No. 14 requires no sneaking. The lobby is open to everyone.

No. 15 will still be applicable, of course, but the bat may not have the face you seek (targets, however, will be ample).

No. 20? Enjoy!

dgwPhotography said...

Great list - here's a couple of things to help you (and one to help Greg)
No. 5... The Knishes are sold in the Kosher stand in right field, at the field level.

No. 10... psst.. Agee's marker is in left field...

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

"No. 10... psst.. Agee's marker is in left field..."

Well THAT explains why I've never been able to find it!!!!

Thank you very much for the tips, guys! Deeply appreciated.

caryn said...

no 5: no one at shea has any idea what a knish is. save your money and go to the lower east side and have a knish from russ & daughters on houston st.

no 8: The pretzels - please do not waste your $4.75. They are not heated over charcoal and they are never, ever, EVER 'hot' all the way through. this is one of my pet peeves. the vendors, of course, will lie and tell you that they are perfectly warm.

no 11: you need to make sure you are there when the gates open to get on the field level, and ignore the ushers when they ask you if you've been seated or can they see your ticket. just walk like you know where you are going. BUT, having said that, the subway series has draconian security and you may not be able to get down there. getting there early is your best chance.

16: cowbell man will be there. but given his performance on 'beer money,' you are probably right to just observe.

19: um, yeah. the apple is out when you get there, usually.

have a great time.

2. You don't have to sneak into the diamond club. The bust and trophies are in the lobby, which is open to the public. just say you're going to the diamond club store, which is also open to the public, and the mets want nothing more than to encourage you to spend money.

n if you can't get into the picnic area, which is likely, go up to the mezzanine in left field as far as you can. there's a window that will let you look down into the picnic area.

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Thanks, Mets Grrl!

I was happy to see the pretzels over charcoal in St. Lucie -- and yes, there wasn't much warmth derived from it.

Good tips!

Mike said...

Nice list. You must and I mean must buy and eat a snadwich from "Momma's of Corona". Just ask for the "special." It is located on field level on left field. Momma ia about 80 years old and owns a Italian sandwich store in Corona that has been there forever. The store is located at 46-02 104 St and is a regular hang out for the players. Click on this link:

Enjoy the game!!


Anonymous said...

You''ll have to come up with another one, or change in to 19 things to do, MGIM, because there is no Sweet Caroline anymore.

Steve J. Rogers said...

Also # 5 will be hard on Saturday because the stand closes for the Sabbath all weekend long.

While I wouldn't say its a must, but after genuflecting in front of Mr. Seaver's bust, just walk right into the bar (I believe it was there when you were last there, heh, obviously it wouldn't be until 1998 that I could be served in there) and check out the montages on the wall and maybe you might catch a member of the media having hiself, or herself a brew before (or even during) the game!

You don't need a reservation for that, just say you are saddling up at the bar.

Always Home and Uncool said...

Excellent list, and thanks for the knish tip, DGW. I was wondering where they were this season.

I miss the charcoal pretzel desparately, especially the ones sold by vendors in the parking lot. It was a requirement to buy one for my Mom, whether she attended the game or not, or suffer the consequences.

Enjoy the game!

Sheafaithful said...

Get the pretzels in the parking lot. They're heated over coals. In the stadium they're serving salted rubber.

Liam, Summa Contra said...

Enjoy the game!

And be optimistic. There's a 21st thing you should plan on doing: Hearing "Taking Care Of Business" as the last Yankee batter, preferably one whose last name rhymes with "cheater," walks shamefully back to the dugout while somewhere Tim McCarver mumbles something about clutchness.