So Long, Big Shea

Well we are four days removed from the final game of the season and the final game of Shea Stadium. I’ve had time to digest the fateful end am beginning to digest what happened this season.

I was very lucky to have had the opportunity to attend the final game and closing ceremonies at Shea Stadium. My father and I had amazing seats in the Loge section immediately behind the plate. I firmly believe that the humidity and heavy air that day played a huge role in the outcome of the game. The shots hit by Delgado and Church should have left that park. It was not meant to be, I guess. Throughout the game, their were video montages detailing the history of the stadium (none more poignant than the one with Mr. Met walking through an empty Shea Stadium remembering its storied past). Many of these montages, as nice as they were to see, were somber. During the final push to the offseason, I don’t think they should have been setting a somber, reflective tone when the team needed a fire lit under them. I have no doubts that anyone in the stadium would have complained if they saved this footage for the post-game ceremonies. The ceremony itself, was very touching. To watch all of our greats say goodbye by crossing home plate one more time was nothing short of breathtaking. And the final touch
of having Seaver throw the last pitch to Piazza before they exit and lock the doors on the way out just turned the waterworks on in every section.

The 2008 season for the Mets was either feast or famine. The Mets had long stretches where they couldn’t get out of their own way, and they had periods where they looked like a dominant force. Unfortunately, their downs outweighed the ups in relation to other teams in the division and the league. The thing about this season is that the Mets were “in” every game that I can recall. At no point can I look back to any game where the Mets were being blown out by the other team. If they were down in any game, they typically found a way to claw back into it. Unfortunately though, they also had so many games where the pen seemed to be looking to give it away like it was prom night.

Looking back, I think I’m taking this year’s finish in better stride than last year’s stumbling conclusion. My mood is not as down in the dumps. I’m more optimistic about the possibilities that lie ahead for this team. I think the main difference for me is the expectations I placed on the Mets. Last year, I expected them to dominate. Last year, I expected them to win it all. Coming off of the ’06 season, I thought they would be going through the season with a fire, kicking butt and taking names. This year, I don’t think I had the same expectations. Very shortly into the season, the injury bug was starting to bite like a hungry mosquito.  First it was Pedro’s early exit in his first start. Shortly afterward, Alou went down. With the amount of injuries that this team experienced this year, I can’t be anything than surprised that they came as close as they did to going to the postseason. 

This offseason has already started out with an explosion of activity and rumors and looks like it might be an exciting one. The Mets are certain to be actively looking to plug the holes in the team that we all know exist. You gotta believe that the Mets want their inaugural season at Citi Field to be a successful one. I only hope that they don’t roll out with the slogan of “’09 is our time to
shine” or anything as corny as such. Omar, you know what you need to do.