For all lore of old Yankee Stadium, you have to start to believe that Shea was the magical field in the city. After all, the big ball-yard was host to two of baseball’s great miracles and most memorable World Series. One more and the Catholic Church would have looked into canonizing the place.
Yet, Shea had to move on in the name of progress. Although, not much to look at, the big blue bowl had to move into memory for the sake of wider concourses, club seats and the Shake Shack.
And the Mets seemed to have suffered for it. As Citi Field arose over the outfield fence, its primary tenant couldn’t get out of its own way, tossing away the 2007 and 2008 seasons on the last day of each season. Could it have been a sign?
More and more you have to wonder, as 2009 is quickly becoming the worst year in the history of the franchise. How can that be, you might say? The Mets have a history of bad clubs. From the 1962 Amazin’ Mets, to the Dr Roulet clubs of the late 1970s, and the “Worst Teams Money Could Buy” in the early 1990s, there have been some stinkers out there.
Yet, this year takes the cake. As the Mets – and the city – proceeded to wipe Shea off the map, the Wilpons were almost bankrupted by Bernie Madoff and Citi Field’s name sponsor had to be bailed out by the government.
Then Citi Field opened it’s doors, filled with obstructed views and devoid of Met history. It took the club four months to realize fans wanted to see memorabilia and the game on the field, and changes were made last week.
It’s probably too little too late, because the season isn’t just a lost cause, but an Edgar Allen Poe horror story. It took only a few weeks into 209 for the Red Death to visit the Met clubhouse and one by one they fell. Seven of the eight in the opening day lineup missed time due to injury. It got so bad that even the replacements started to go down, right down to Jeff Francoeur, who hurt his thumb on Sunday.
As for the starters, John Maine, Oliver Perez, and now Johan Santana have been hurt this season. Livan Hernandez was so bad he was released, and Mike Pelfrey took a huge step back. And much like the lineup, the fill-ins spent time on the DL as well with Fernando Nieve and Tim Redding on the shelf during various parts of the season.
The only thing missing is a ticking ebony clock in the Mets clubhouse which will stop when there are no more players left. With the way things are going, that will probably be next week.
And let’s not forget Omar Minaya, who went from baseball’s darling to almost not having a job after he put his foot in his mouth last month by slandering Daily News reporter Adam Rubin. This year has not been bad, but an embarrassment from top to bottom.
Is all of this bad luck? Maybe. Bad judgment? Perhaps. Yet, maybe the Mets angered some sort of baseball god by wiping Shea Stadium off the map. At least the Yankees had the good sense to keep their old ballpark standing as the Bombers adjusted to their new edifice.
Speaking of the Yankees, they were last team to celebrate a championship on Shea’s field. That type of sacrilege caused them to have a really bad decade. They lost the next World Series on the final pitch, allowed the Red Sox to break their curse and had a boat load of first round defeats. And now, with no more Shea, they are cruising to No. 27.
Maybe there’s nothing to this. But there’s no denying bad karma has hit the Mets hard this year. And all of this started to happen after the team demolished the field of two miracles.
Is it just a coincidence? Maybe or maybe not.