This is from Howie Mansfield, a long time reader and friend of the blog. Enjoy...
The place where my boyhood dreams were played out -- the place where my heroes lived forever -- where the Mets always won and where the hope for another World Series championship lived forever, has passed away.
Shea Stadium, the old mare of a ballpark that had seen its better days, the great jewel of Flushing, is no longer.
In a pile of rubble beyond the parking lot. Snuffed out and erased from existence.
As I sat here by the computer and heard the news of Shea's demise, I just thought...
I thought about the Home Run Apple. I thought about the pennants on the outfield wall. I thought about the retired numbers...37, 14, 41, and 42. I thought about the smell of beer and hot dogs. I thought about the green grass that seemed to go on forever. I thought about my experiences there and what the place meant to me and my baseball dreams.
In April 2007, my family and I took our last trip to Shea. It was only my second time there (I went once before in 1983 when I was 7), but it was the first for my wife and my daughter. It's only fitting that the two people more important to me saw the place where all of my greatest baseball dreams were housed. We watched the Mets dominate the Rockies, and had a great time. But it was hard to leave, because of what I was leaving behind. I took many pictures that day, and I will cherish those as the years go on.
So many stories of my family going down for games -- just too many to name. My aunt and uncle that live on Long Island attended the 1969 World Series. My dad talking about his visits in the early days. My brother lived in Long Island for a while and he went to a number of games, we always talked about what Shea was like, and it was always electric. And my own experience chanting "Jose, Jose, Jose" with the rest of the Mets faithful, and of course, "Let's Go Mets, Let's Go Mets." Those images are stamped on my brain.
Maybe today would be easier had the last two seasons not ended in a 7 Train wreck on the way to the World Series. Mets fans deserved better. Shea deserved better. Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS was one of the last shining moments for Shea, a great performance, an amazing catch, but just not enough. And there really wasn't a memorable game played after that. The last game was not the way it should have been, but it was.
But there is hope. A new day is dawning just across the way, in our new Citi Field. We can only believe that this team will find a way to honor Shea and its memory by playing an amazin' inaugural season.
The old has passed away. And our hopes and dreams of a world championship starts April 13. The new hope. Our mecca and our home. May Citi Field someday hold the same memories that Shea will forever have in my mind.
You Gotta Believe.
Thanks, Howie. That was great.