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Volume 26 No. 65
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Mets, Fans Bid Adieu To Shea Stadium Following Elimination

Mets Play Final Game At Shea Stadium
After Failing To Make MLB's Postseason
The Mets played their final game at Shea Stadium yesterday after being eliminated from playoff contention with a 4-2 loss to the Marlins, and "once the farewell ceremony began, the mood in the stands began to shift," according to Joshua Robinson of the N.Y. TIMES. Mets fans, "surly and bruised," booed when Marlins players "came out to collect dirt from the basepaths." The fans "booed every time the Mets announced anything over the public-address system -- 'Our Shea goodbye ceremony will begin in five minutes,' was particularly unpopular." The Yankees last Sunday hosted the final game at Yankee Stadium, and the Mets "had a difficult act to follow" yesterday, as the Mets "had a far more modest history to work with." But "make it work, they did." When former Mets players were introduced in the postgame ceremony, "they entered the field from behind the outfield wall, as if emerging from a 'Field of Dreams' cornfield." The Mets' '86 World Series team "was especially well represented," with the loudest ovations going to former MLBers Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez (N.Y. TIMES, 9/29).

TOUGH TO SAY GOODBYE: In N.Y., George Vecsey writes of the postgame farewell, "Nobody's heart was in it, not after the end of this season, in heartbreaking Metsian fashion." Nobody "has ever called Shea Stadium a cathedral," as "in style, it was more like the old warehouse or outdated movie theater that Korean worshipers have transformed into a church in the borough of Queens" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/29). NBC’s Matt Lauer said, “They lose the game, they’re out of the playoffs and then they gear up for this celebration at Shea Stadium. That’s tough” (“Today,” NBC, 9/29). In N.Y., Lenkowitz, Fenner & Goldsmith report "about half the fans stayed fora heartfelt tribute to the team's all-time greats." Mets fan Mike Drobnis: "This is one of the biggest celebrations at Shea and all the fans are leaving." N.Y. city police said that they "made 10 arrests -- nine for petit larceny" (N.Y. POST, 9/29). On Long Island, Arthur Staple writes, "Strange days, indeed. How else to report a cheerful goodbye ceremony just an hour after the Mets' 2008 season ended with such a thud?" The 50-minute ceremony ended with Baseball HOFer Tom Seaver throwing the final ceremonial pitch to former MLBer Mike Piazza. In total, "45 former Mets celebrated on the field," and the "biggest ovation may have been" for Gooden. But a few "big names were absent," including MLB Rangers President and Baseball HOFer Nolan Ryan. Mets fans "were especially upset when the Marlins celebrated the win on the field," as they started chanting, "Off our field!" Mr. Met, "who had the privilege of taking down the last 'games remaining' sign, got booed pretty loudly." Mets Owner Fred Wilpon before the game said, "I've got a lot of memories about this place, but I think it's time for it to go" (NEWSDAY, 9/29).

A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY: On Long Island, Neil Best reported there are "options for those inclined to take pieces of Shea Stadium home when the Mets no longer have use for the place." New Jersey-based MeiGray Group is handling sales of Shea Stadium memorabilia. The city of N.Y. and the Mets "are expected to share the proceeds 70-30, with the team's portion bound for the Mets Foundation." The Mets are "handling sales of seats -- at $869 per pair -- themselves," and while the blue and orange seats are sold out, the "greens and reds are not." Items that have not been sold by October 6 "will be sold on the Internet via auction or fixed-price sale" (NEWSDAY, 9/28).

REMEMBER WHEN: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir wrote Shea Stadium, which opened in '64, "was never a beautiful place," but Mets Exec VP/Business Operations Dave Howard said, "The emotional connection to Shea surpasses the deficiencies of its design." Architecture critic John Pastier said, "Shea was modern when it opened." Dodger Stadium, which opened just two years later, "has endured far better, but the critical difference is that [former Dodgers Owner] Walter O'Malley built it solely for baseball." Sandomir noted Shea's design "might have been more memorable if not for compromises made by the city." Praeger-Kavanagh-Waterbury Project Engineer Robert Schoenfeld, whose company designed Shea, said, "The city said, 'Design and build it for $15[M] and make it convertible for two sports.'" Former Mets VP Bob Mandt said, "To convince someone that Shea looked like the eighth wonder of the world in 1964 is tough to do now. But it did look fabulous" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/28).

Mets' Citi Field Nearing 85% Completion
NEW FIELD OF DREAMS: MLB.com's Barry Bloom reported Citi Field, the Mets' new ballpark, is "about 85[%] complete with 80[%] of the dark green seats already installed." The foul poles "have been installed and they're orange instead of the usual bright yellow." Also, the ballpark's escalators and the "foundation for the famous faux marble 'Terrazzo' flooring is now being set." The park's lighting "is in place, as well as the scoreboards." The field turf "is growing on a Long Island farm and will be laid down this offseason," which "puts the project right where it should be."  Queen's Ballpark Co. Project Manager Richard Browne, whose company is managing the ballpark's construction, said, "On time and on budget" (MLB.com, 9/27).

THORNY GARDEN: N.Y. TIMES architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff wrote even the "most majestic cities are pockmarked with horrors," and N.Y. should "refocus our energies on knocking down the structures that not only fail to bring us joy, but actually bring us down," including MSG and Pennsylvania Station. Ouroussoff: "Demolish the Garden. As arenas go, it is cramped and decrepit. And with it gone we could begin to imagine what a contemporary version of the old Penn Station might look like, with light and airy spaces and cavernous entry halls" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/28).