This was a tough ticket to get. Every real Mets fan wanted one. I got mine through the luck of the draw. Since late in the 2006 season, I was part of a group that split up season tickets (4 seats in the Mezz box, first base side, just out from the camera well). We had enough people in the group so that everyone had tickets for 4 games. We also had a rule for the premium games that you could only take 2 tickets instead of 4 (with the tradeoff being 2 tickets to another game at the end of our draft, meaning probably a weeknight in April against the Nationals). For whatever reason, 10 people ahead of me passed on the finale. That made it kind of easy to get.
To gameday itself, I had my dad with me. We had been going to games together at least once per season since my first game in 1986. We arrived at the ballpark around 10am. In all the years of going to games at Shea, including a few opening days and playoff games, I had never seen the place so crowded that early. Lines to get in at every gate. People just kind of looking around. And it started raining, so batting practice was more of a quiet time for fans to walk around and reflect on however many years they had spent there. More chances to walk around taking pictures of "empty Shea". More time to have one last walk down each concourse.
I saw a bit of commotion in the Loge concourse where the MeiGray group was selling for the first time Shea memorabilia (I have many posts accounting my delivery of these items and visiting the warehouse a few times). I figured in order to get what I wanted, I needed to stop, look through the catalog, and figure out what I had written down in the past on my "wish list". I wish I had known they were going to be there selling things.
Rain delay and just too much time to kill before starting the game. You can only walk around slowly so many times. The Mets had a very important game to play. They could clinch at least a tie for the Wild Card, possibly making the game acutally not the last game at Shea (either a playoff game or the playoffs). Confusing. But the Mets by the 7th inning simplified matters, as did the Brewers in their game against the Cubs.
Just like many other games for what Gary Cohen called "team tightrope", the Mets had an early lead, things were looking good, and it didn't last. After the rain delay, the Mets game started around the same time as the Brewers game. Both games ended around the same time. Both games' results were set at about the same time a few innnings earlier.
The season was over. Shea was closing. And then a way for the closing act.
I've decided to make this a 4 part series
Photo Day at Shea | The Santana Game | Shea Goodbye | In My Life
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