The journey to Shea Stadium was a long one for us. We waited a long time to get there and there were times in which we doubted if we’d ever make it, but we finally did and it was somewhat surreal to us.
Any journey to Shea Stadium begins and ends with a ride on the number 7 train, that same famous 7 train that John Rocker got pretty particular about many years ago:
“I would retire first. It’s the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the [Number] 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you’re [riding through] Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It’s depressing.”
We have to say it–we know what Rocker meant as we stood there shoulder to shoulder, stop to stop with hundreds of other patrons of the 7-train. We just wanted the ride to end and we longed for taking a car ride to Shea Stadium. We longed for personal space. We talked with a local that lived in Queens, a nice and well to do man who had been riding the 7-train every day his whole life. He told us tales of a dead man riding the 7-train for several days without anyone else noticing he was actually dead, that no one else had noticed because they thought he was sleeping (or they were just so caught up in their own destination and happenings). He also told us he’s seen people jump on the track to kill themselves. Rocker was right, it’s just a crazy scene.
This was a shot we almost missed, and we got it. As we sat there at Shea we thought countless times about this is where it all went down when we were falling in love with baseball and Darryl Strawberry was one of the most feared sluggers in the game. We thought about The Bad Guys Won and the 1986 Mets, and Dwight Gooden, Dallas Green, and Davey Johnson.
Then we looked to the above spot and thought of that fate turning moment when Bill Buckner let one dribble between his legs, allowing Mookie Wilson to score. The history that’s taken place at Shea is more rich to us than that of Yankee Stadium, because it’s just more modern to us.