Saturday, September 27, 2008

Baseball fans never forget. Heartless bastards.

I took the family to the pre-penultimate game at Shea Stadium last night (and watched the Mets bullpen make one final attempt to justify being taken over by the Fed).

On the big video scoreboard they counted down the "Top 10 Plays at Shea of All Time as Voted By the Fans" and showed them on the big TV screen. #3 ... #2 ... #1... It's not a great achievement by a Mets player like a no-hitter or a grand-slam or something from the year of the Miracle Mets, it's...

"... and the ball goes BETWEEN BILL BUCKNER'S LEGS!!!"

Poor Bill. I don't suppose he's ever going to cure cancer or negotiate final lasting peace in the middle east or anything quite like that -- but if he does, you know what will still be on his gravestone.*

I take my kids to play T-ball and their coaches go, "OK kiddies, always put your bodies before a ground ball, because who don't you want to be?" And the kids all chant: "Bill Buckner! Bill Buckner!" That play occurred long before these kids were born. It's like if when I was playing Little League we all had an anti-hero from the 1940s.

Anyhow, the reason I was at the game was because the kids wanted to go to one last game at Shea knowing full well it's going to be the last MLB game they ever see that I pay for. There ain't no way I'm going to pay what they'll be charging for the seats at the new stadiums next year, like Citi Field** where the Mets will play, now being constructed in Shea's former parking lot, or the New Yankee Stadium where the Yankees will be showing off their $200 million third-place payroll.

I don't want to say the big corporations*** are taking over the ballparks, but at Shea they now run a ticker tape with closing stock prices across the scoreboard. I sure don't remember that from my days as a kid in the bleacher seats. (And hot dogs already are $5. I don't remember that either.)

By the way, just wondering, how much did Wrigley pay for the naming rights to Wrigley Field?

* The ball that Buckner hit, and a video of it taking its famous bounce, on display. Also, a picture of the bottle of celebratory champagne that the Red Sox never drank, heartless bastard that I am.

** Assuming there will be a Citibank next year.

*** Assuming there will be any big corporations next year.