(Metal Mike and Tom Terrific, acknowledging the cheers of
Sam Champion ungrateful jerks Flushing’s adoring fans)
There’s so much blame to go around after the New York Mets’ 2nd consecutive September collapse ; David Wright, Joe Smith, Jeff Wilpon, Tony Bernazard, Joe McEwing, Kevin Elster, Gregg Jeffries, Rusty Staub…..tell me when to stop, please. Former SportsChannel mouthpiece Ted Robinson, however, suggests a group addition to the above list ; Shea Stadium’s paying customers. From MSNBC.com (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory) :
What struck me most Friday was the negativity. Florida scored two runs in the first inning and the rest of the night was mired in a cloud of gloom.
Yes, the economy is part of the reason. Shea Stadium crowds are always littered with Wall Streeters and last Friday night seemed to have a large percentage of those who were blowing off steam and getting Heinekenized and Budweisered.
Before the game I saw Mets general manager Omar Minaya and told him something that appeared in this blog last September — I believe the Mets would have made the playoffs last year if they had played the final week on the road. I still believe that and double down on the thought this year.
By Sunday, I was back in California for the best seat available on baseball™s best day — my couch with DirecTV. As I flipped between games at Shea Stadium, Milwaukee, Minnesota and Chicago, I was struck by the enthusiasm in three parks. Only Shea Stadium didn™t offer its team an obvious home-field advantage.
A stadium whose character was defined by its occupants rather than its structure was closed in grand style. The Mets lone member of the Hall of Fame, Seaver, and his eventual partner in Cooperstown, Piazza, teamed as the battery for the final pitch and walked together out the centerfield gate.
All the while most of the sellout crowd stayed and cheered. It was wonderful, yet bizarre. They love their team, the National League heritage started by the Dodgers and Giants when they played in New York, and the great players who have worn the orange and blue. But the fans seem to love the players more after the fact, more after they are through playing.
During my years as a broadcaster for the Mets, I wondered why the booing at Shea Stadium was so vicious. I have heard such booing often during the final Mets games of the last two seasons. After Sunday™s game “ which turned out to be the last ever at Shea Stadium — I heard cheers. And I can™t help but wonder why over my years of watching the Mets I had not heard them more often.