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Shea Stadium

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Shea Stadium
150px
Shea Stadium
Location 123-01 Roosevelt Avenue
Flushing, New York 11368
Broke ground October 28, 1961
Opened April 17, 1964
Owner City of New York
Operator New York Mets
Surface Grass
Construction cost $28.5 million USD
Architect Praeger-Kavanaugh-Waterbury
Tenants
New York Mets (MLB) (1964-present)
New York Jets (AFL/NFL) (1964-1983)
New York Yankees (MLB) (1974-1975, 1998)
New York Giants (NFL) (1975)
Capacity
55,601 (2005)
Dimensions
Left Field - 338 ft
Medium Left-Center - 358 ft
Left-Center - 371 ft
Left-Center (deep) - 396 ft
Center - 410 ft
Right-Center (deep) - 396 ft
Right-Center - 371 ft
Medium Right-Center - 358 ft
Right Field - 338 ft

William A. Shea Municipal Stadium, usually shortened to Shea Stadium, was an American baseball stadium in Flushing, New York.(note) It was the home of the New York Mets from 1964 to 2008, after which time the team took up residence in the new Citi Field.

History and designEdit

The New York Mets' inaugural season was played in the Polo Grounds, with original plans calling for them to move to a new stadium in 1963; however construction was delayed, and they played at the Polo Grounds a second season.

It was originally to be called "Flushing Meadows Stadium" – similar to the name of the public park south of Shea – but a movement was launched to name it in honor of William A. Shea, the man who brought National League baseball back to New York. (Earlier, New York City official Robert Moses tried to interest Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley in this site as the location for a new Dodger stadium, but O'Malley refused, claiming that if the Dodgers played anywhere but Brooklyn, they would cease to be the Brooklyn Dodgers.) After 29 months and $28.5 million, Shea Stadium opened on April 17, 1964.

Shea is a circular stadium, with the grandstand forming a perfect circle around the field and ending a short distance beyond the foul lines. The remainder of the perimeter is mostly empty space beyond the outfield fences. This space is occupied by the bullpens, scoreboards, and a section of bleachers beyond the left field fence. Shea could be converted into a football stadium using two motor-operated stands that move on underground tracks. This had not been done since the New York Jets football team moved to Giants Stadium in 1984. After the Jets left, Shea Stadium's exterior was painted blue, and neon signs of baseball player silhouettes were added.

The original plan called for the stadium to be expanded by extending the grandstand and then building a dome over the stadium. This idea was dropped after studies concluded that the stadium's structure would be unable to support the weight of the dome. The stadium would seat around 90,000 if it were completely enclosed.

The stadium is one of the loudest in the Major Leagues, thanks to the airliners that fly overhead on approach to and departure from nearby LaGuardia Airport.

Home of the New York MetsEdit

File:Shea postcard 1964.JPG

Shea has been the home of the Mets since its opening in 1964 and hosted the Major League Baseball All-Star Game that same year. The New York Yankees played their home games in Shea Stadium during the 1974 and 1975 seasons while Yankee Stadium was being renovated. The Yankees also played one "home" game at Shea in 1998 after a beam collapsed at Yankee Stadium, destroying several rows of seats. Former Mets star Darryl Strawberry, then playing for the Yankees, hit a home run during the game.

Shea Stadium hosted postseason baseball games in 1969, 1973, 1986, 1988, 1999, 2000 and 2006; it hosted World Series games in 1969, 1973, 1986, and 2000. Lenny Dykstra, Todd Pratt, and Benny Agbayani have all had post-season, game-winning home runs at Shea.

For over 40 years, the Mets' theme song, "Meet the Mets", has been played at Shea before every home game.

As of June 10, 2005, the Mets have played more games at Shea Stadium than the Brooklyn Dodgers did at the legendary Ebbets Field.

File:Shea stadium.jpg

National League Division Series at Shea StadiumEdit

Three National League Division Series have been played at Shea Stadium.

+The Mets have never lost a Division Series game at Shea Stadium.

National League Championship Series at Shea StadiumEdit

Seven National League Championship Series have been played at Shea Stadium.

World Series at Shea StadiumEdit

Four World Series have been played in Shea Stadium.

Non-baseball eventsEdit

FootballEdit

The NFL's New York Jets played at Shea for twenty seasons, from 1964 to 1983. The stadium hosted three Jets playoff games: the American Football League Championship in 1968 (beat the Oakland Raiders, 27-23), an AFL Divisional Playoff in 1969 (lost 13-6 to the Kansas City Chiefs) and the 1981 AFC Wild Card Playoff game (lost 31-27 to the Buffalo Bills).

It was at Shea Stadium in 1973 that O.J. Simpson became the first running back to gain 2,000 yards in a single season (and, to date, the only player to do it in 14 games or less).

The NFL's New York Giants played their 1975 season at Shea while Giants Stadium was being built. The Giants were 5-9 that year. Their coach was Bill Arnsparger and their quarterback was Craig Morton.

The football field at Shea extended from around home plate all the way to the outfield. Bleachers filled left and right fields.

SoccerEdit

The first soccer game held at Shea Stadium occurred during tournament play from the International Soccer League in 1965. New York United of the American Soccer League called Shea home in 1980. Recently, the Colombian national football team played a number of exhibition games at Shea.

In 2003, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced that the Argentina national football team and the Peru national football team would play in New York City’s first (and subsequently last) “Fiesta Cup” soccer game to be held at Giants Stadium in New Jersey. The Latin media in NYC asked the mayor why the game would not be held at Shea, since the majority of the fans attending the game would be coming form the neighborhoods of Astoria, Elmhurst, Corona, and Jackson Heights, all of which are served by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's #7 (Interborough Rapid Transit Company) line. The mayor replied that a scheduling conflict with both the Mets and Yankees existed, thus Giants Stadium was the only feasible option.

There have been recent talks about building a Soccer-specific stadium for an expansion Major League Soccer team next to Shea in Willets Point. Although neighboring Flushing Meadows Park is one of the biggest soccer hotbeds in the country, no concrete plans are currently in place.

Other eventsEdit

One of the most significant concerts in music history occurred at Shea Stadium on Sunday, August 15, 1965, when The Beatles opened their 1965 North American tour at Shea Stadium to a record audience of 56,000. It was the first concert to be held at a major outdoor stadium and set records for attendance and revenue generation, demonstrating that outdoor concerts on a large scale could be successful and profitable. The stadium has hosted numerous concerts since. The most recent was a three-night engagement by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in early October 2003. Other acts that have headlined at Shea are the Police, Simon and Garfunkel, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Grand Funk Railroad, The Who, and the Rolling Stones.

During his tour of America in October 1979, Pope John Paul II was also among those hosted by Shea Stadium, celebrating Mass at the stadium.

The Lawnmower Of Doom: On December 9, 1979 as part of the halftime show of the Jets-Patriots game, a model airplane group put on a remote control airplane display. The grand finale was a red 40-pound lawnmower that’s blade was used as a propeller and flew in the air. The lawnmower plane malfunctioned and plunged into the stands hitting John Bowen, from Nashua New Hampshire. He died six days later. On November 17, 1981 a $10 million damage suit was filed by the man’s father in the Federal District Court in Brooklyn. Named as defendants in the negligence suit were the New York Jets Football Club, the Radio Control Association of Greater New York, and the man who designed, built and furnished the model airplane.

Distinguishing characteristicsEdit

File:Sheastadiumfromtheair.jpg

Because of the large plot of land it is situated on, Shea did not have to conform to the surrounding streets like its brother across town, Yankee Stadium, and has a very geometric shape. Unlike most stadiums, which keep the color of the building material, Shea is blue and white, two of the Mets' team colors. Square sections which hold the ramps from level to level pop out of the stadium's perimeter. Between some of these bays, huge neon lights form the figures of baseball players. In 2003, large murals celebrating the Mets' two world championships were put up, covering the two ends of the grandstand. They were removed after the 2006 season.

The apple, representing the City of New York, emerges from the Mets Magic Top Hat, a giant upside-down black top hat, and flashes whenever a Mets player hits a home run. Located beyond the center field wall, just to the right of the 410 foot mark, the hat features the words home run in big letters. Prior to 1984, the hat featured the words "Mets Magic" in honor of the slogan used in 1980 declaring that "The Magic Is Back."

The scoreboard is topped by the New York Skyline, a prominent part of the team logo. Since the September 11th Terrorist Attacks, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center have been kept unlit, a red, white, and blue ribbon placed over them.

Location and accessEdit

Located adjacent to the neighborhood of Corona in the New York City Borough of Queens, Shea Stadium is given a Flushing mailing address with a Corona ZIP Code.

Shea Stadium can be reached via mass transit systems such as the New York City Subway using the 7 train, at the Willets Point-Shea Stadium station and the Long Island Rail Road at the Shea Stadium station, in addition to several highways including the Grand Central Parkway, the Long Island Expressway, and Northern Boulevard.

It is adjacent to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where the annual US Open grand-slam tennis tournament is held.

Citi FieldEdit

Main article: Citi Field
File:Citi Field Promo.jpg

On June 12 2005, Mets officials announced plans to build a new Mets ballpark in the parking lot of Shea Stadium to be opened in time for the beginning of the 2009 baseball season, with ground breaking on November 13, 2006. The new ballpark's name comes from the Mets' agreement with the financial services company Citigroup Inc., a 20-year partnership that will be worth an average in excess of $20 million per year.

Originally the plan was to use the stadium for the 2012 Olympics with the Mets playing at the New Yankee Stadium in The Bronx for the 2012 season. This would have put the Mets in a similar situation that the Yankees were in 1974–1975 when they played in Shea Stadium while Yankee Stadium was renovated. The Mets and the City of New York continued forward with the building of the stadium despite the 2012 Olympics being awarded to London, with construction beginning in July 2006.

External linksEdit


Preceded by:
Polo Grounds
1962–1963
Home of the
New York Mets

1964–
Succeeded by:
Citi Field
Preceded by:
Yankee Stadium
1923–1973
Home of the
New York Yankees

1974–1975
Succeeded by:
Yankee Stadium
1976–2009
Preceded by:
Municipal Stadium
1963
Host of the
MLB All-Star Game

1964
Succeeded by:
Metropolitan Stadium
1965

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