Both Yankee and Shea Stadiums Dark in October
When both the Yankees and Mets announced that their new stadiums were going to open in 2009, both organizations had aspirations of extending the tenures of their current digs. Not many believed it possible that two of the highest payroll teams would both miss the postseason, which has not happened since 1993, mostly due to the Bronx Bombers' success.
As the summer wore on and the outfield wall's countdown dwindled, so did the chances of adding a few to those numbers. As each game became official, a small announcement took place and the total would become one less. What started out in April as '81' worked its way down and two mainstays would soon become afterthoughts.
On September 21, Yankee Stadium, it of the stately and regal variety, hosted its last game, one in which the home team celebrated a victory, albeit a small one versus the Baltimore Orioles. But the real celebration took place before the game with 'ghosts' from the past reappearing a la 'Field of Dreams.' Past Yankees 'dead' and alive made the final score of the game irrelevant. Because it was already established that the Yankees would be on the outside looking in come the playoffs, the final game - as well as the 2008 All-Star Game - became the highlights of a disappointing season in the Bronx.
Where as Yankee Stadium has always been glorified, Shea Stadium was sort of like the ugly stepchild, a place that was outdated the day after it was opened. While it does have some sincere qualities, it will never be likened to a shrine or cathedral like Yankee Stadium.
A week after Yankee Stadium closed its gates, Shea held a post-game gala event of its own. If became the final game at the ballpark as the 'Cousin of the Collapse' was complete. The stars of yesterday were there, although there were no premonitions or specters strolling the green grass on an overcast day. No, these former Mets were alive and well, and probably some of them (such as Mike Piazza and Darryl Strawberry) could have helped out an offense that scored a total of five runs the final three games when they needed it most.
Tom Terrific threw out the ceremonial final pitch, which he skipped to Piazza. Yogi Berra had the privilege of attending both, and it would seem to be no contest which one had more meaning.
Perhaps more surprising than the Mets keeping the memory of last September alive was that their fans actually stuck around to watch the celebration while the current players shed tears in the clubhouse. What a strange feeling for not only the present and former players, but also what remained of the 56, 059 in attendance.
Maybe the lights went out first in the Bronx, but it was a week of dark days for the Mets that followed.