February 18, 2009 [LINK / comment]

R.I.P Shea Stadium (1964-2009)

The last remaining steel beams of Shea Stadium, [part of what used to be one of the entry/exit ramps on the southwest side, were pulled] down at or about 11:21 this morning, and all that's left to do is clean up the rubble. Read all about it in the New York Times and watch the video clip at newsday.com. Thanks as always to Mike Zurawski for letting me know.

The guys at baseball-fever.com maintained a constant cyber-vigil until the very end, and some of them want to continue the Shea Stadium Demolition thread, even though Shea Stadium Demolition has come to an end. Sports fans whose cherished memories are tied so intimately with the venues are subject to a special kind of separation anxiety that "normal" people will never understand. I wonder what kind of emotions the impending demise of Yankee Stadium will elicit...

To mark the sad occasion, I have updated the text on the Shea Stadium page. I sure am glad I took the opportunity to see it in person last October before it was gone forever.

T.J. Zmina recently let me know that many Jets football games at Shea Stadium did not include "the full complement of lower-deck seating." In other words, the extra seating sections in what would have been left-center and right-center field were not installed, perhaps for the pre-season or in September games before the Mets' season ended. I got a similar query last summer, from "die hard Mets fan" Nicholas Tzoumas. He asked me "what was done to cover the dugouts" when they shifted the field-level seating around for football games. (Unlike Three Rivers Stadium and Riverfront Stadium, he notes, the dugouts at Shea were below ground.) Does anyone know the answer to either of those questions? Feel free to comment or send me an e-mail.

Bay Area stadium news

More news tidbits from Mike: The Oakland Athletics have pushed back their hoped-for new stadium in Fremont for another two years, or more. Team co-owner Keith Wolff sounds pessimistic: "I have no idea when this thing will be built... The process is just endless." See insidebayarea.com, via . Meanwhile, the Oakland Raiders say they want their own new stadium, whereas the cross-bay rival San Francisco 49ers expressed interest in sharing a new stadium, but are open to a variety of options. Weird. See footballstadiumdigest.com.

D.C. United to leave RFK

I was surprised to see the report on Washington's FOX-5 TV last night that the D.C. United soccer team has reached an agreement to build a new stadium somewhere in suburban Maryland. It would almost certainly be in Prince George's County. The deal must be approved by the Maryland legislature, however, so it's not a done deal. See the Major League Soccer Web site. As a consequence of the (short-distance) relocation, the team may have to cange their name from "D.C. United" to "P.G. United." It's sad that RFK Stadium's days may be coming to an end. I'd still like to know why they didn't try to build a new stadium at the same site, or perhaps reduce the size of RFK Stadium.