Here’s the second part of my 20-point Shea Quest “Bucket List,” with photo evidence where possible.
And I’d be remiss in not thanking all the folks who left comments and sent e-mail offering tips and suggested. Some of these would not have been possible without your assistance.
The previous post had numbers 1-10, so we pick this up at No. 11.
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.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Taking advice, I walked straight to that section like I knew what I was doing moved all the way to the rail and snapped off all the shots I needed. My wife has declared veto rights on the frame and hanging spot.
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.
MISSION ACOMPLISHED! Tim gets credit for this. There was guy in our section with Yankee gear, and he dropped the “Jeter is over-rated line” masterfully. The guy didn’t dare strike back, offering up a feeble, “Yeah, so is ARod.”
I think this happened for one of two reasons. The first is that the fan knows that Jeter is in fact over-rated. And throwing ARod under the bus is second nature for these people.
But the other is that I think the guy was just plain scared. Tim, Dad and I geared up before the game with Mets temporary tattoos purchased in the gift shop. We each had the Mets logo on one cheek, and a huge Mr. Met on the other. You have to be a pretty big bad ass to feel confident enough to walk around with a huge Mr. Met on your face. Because clearly, we were capable of almost anything at that point and were not to be messed with.
MISSION ACCPMPLISHED! Well, kind of. There was no stadium-wide chant, but a couple smaller chants. Probably because Reyes was doing nothing more spectacular than getting picked off second.
14) Sneak into the Diamond Club to see the Mets Hall of Fame, pay tribute to the Seaver bust.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Oh, and in glorious fashion. This was one of the best adventures of the trip. I took an elevator from the Loge to get there, and actress/Mets fan Glenn Close walked on. A brush with fame is always pretty sweet. I tried to not look like I was looking at her and blend in. But then, I did have a large Mr. Met on my face.
I stepped off the elevator and saw the gift store straight ahead and a maze of velvet ropes. An employee asked if I had Diamond Club reservations. Following advice, I asked to go to the gift shop and was let through the ropes. Then I asked where the Hall of Fame was located, and the employee said, “Ah, turn around. And there they were.
Tributes were paid, but it is not an especially impressive-looking display. Then again, anything that holds two World Series trophies and a Tom Seaver bust is by definition impressive.
One question: All of the players are depicted from their playing days and in uniform. But Cleon Jones’ bust shows him in a suit and tie and looks to be around the age he was when he was enshrined, long after his career was over. Anybody know what happened there?
After all this glory, I came back with the whole gang. And who steps on the elevator. Glenn Close – again! Either that’s an amazing coincidence or she likes to ride the elevator.
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!”
DENIED! The souvenir bats were $12, and that’s too much try to teach a lesson to a Clemens fan.
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.
DENIED! I saw plenty of strange looking and behaving people, but none were “Cow Bell Man.” Maybe he doesn’t get into the Loge. But I did a lot of walking and was listening for cow bells, and did not hear them. How is it possible to share an elevator with an Oscar-nominated actress – twice! – and not even catch a glimpse of a guy everyone called ubiquitous.
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.
KIND OF. I threw a pretty week taunt at a Yankee fan after the game when he made some Jeter crack. But Jeter’s not the one we’re all thinking of. Nothing to be proud of.
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.
MISSION DENIED! As several friends commented, the Mets have already stopped playing this. So I can’t take credit, nor could I not participate as planned.
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.
FAILURE. Both Castro and Wright hit homers, and both time the apple went up and down before I could even get the camera out. But I enjoyed watching it.
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.
I look at this and see Tom, Willie, Yogi and Rusty walking out to ask the fans in left to stop throwing garbage at Pete Rose.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. I actually did this through out the day – and the hour-long rain delay. James Earl Jones’ line in “Field of Dreams” about the memories being so thick that you have the swat them away is true. There wasn’t a part of the ballpark that didn’t summon a memory of a game, a play or a special day.
Dad said he found it hard to believe that this building that Shea simply wouldn’t exist a year from now.
We’re going to look out on Citi Field and not see Cleon or Willie or Tom. Nothing will need to be swatted.
Which is not to say there won’t be new memories. It’s just a little hard to let go of the old ones.