Years Old And Still Amazin'
New players, a new season, new security measures, new milestones and record setting attendance marked Opening Day at Shea Stadium in Flushing this week as the New York Mets kicked off a hopeful 2002 season marked by history and new beginnings.
A record breaking 53,734 fans were in attendance at Shea Stadium on a sunny and cool April 1 to see a re-vamped Mets team play in their home opener marked by hope for the future and the memory of the tragic events of Sept. 11.
Mets pitcher Al Leiter warmed up for his Opening Day start, Mayor Mike
Bloomberg, sporting a Mets hat and jacket, threw out the ceremonial first
would have thought a kid from Boston would get a chance to throw out the
pitch on Opening Day at the Mets?” Bloomberg told reporters.
Day ceremonies at Shea were also highlighted by an appearance from Lisa
Beamer, wife of Todd Beamer who was killed aboard United Airlines Flight 93,
which crashed in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11.
Following the 2001 terrorist attacks, Todd Beamer has earned posthumous national hero status and his words to a cellular telephone operator, “let’s roll,” have become a rallying cry against terrorism.
is believed to have helped lead a takeover of the flight by passengers that
diverted the plane from crashing into the White House on Sept. 11.
Beamer was awarded a team jacket and announced the partnering of the Todd M.
Beamer Foundation with the Mets.
group was founded to raise money for children of those killed on Sept. 11.
Mets second baseman Robbie Alomar was named the team spokesman for the organization that has raised over $2 million to date.
large block letters, the slogan “Always Believe” on top of the Mets
dugout seemed to sum up the hopes of fans and the Mets team with a vastly
different look from 2001.
the off-season, Mets General Manager Steve Phillips worked to acquire new
sluggers including Roger Cedeño, Alomar, Mo Vaughn, Jeromy Burnitz and
starting pitchers Pedro Astacio and Shawn Estes.
Some baseball experts are predicting a winning season for the team with new additions and previous fan favorites like Leiter, Mike Piazza, Edgardo Alfonzo and John Franco.
Security at Shea Stadium has been a whole new ballgame in the wake of Sept. 11.
opening day, Mets management sent out letters to season ticket holders to
let them know about several new security measures at the stadium, including
metal detector screenings and searches as they enter the stadium.
tight security was evident during the course of Opening Day at Shea, as a
police helicopter hovered overhead during the early innings and an increased
police presence could be seen inside and surrounding the stadium.
new security measures include the addition of concrete barriers around Shea
to separate the parking lot from the stadium entrances.
are no longer allowed to enter Shea stadium with packages, briefcases,
backpacks, bags, camera cases, video equipment, bottles (glass or plastic),
cans and coolers.
the letter Mets management also encouraged fans to avoid the long lines by
arriving at the stadium early to enjoy pre-game activities like batting
A 40-Year Milestone
year was 1962.
was the year that John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth,
the year of the Cuban Missile crisis and the year the New York Metropolitan
Baseball Club was created.
York City Mayor Robert Wagner and an Attorney named William Shea wanted to
bring National League baseball team back to New York to help mend the broken
hearts of fans of the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers, which both left
the Big Apple for California.
did that and then some.
team was a hit with New Yorkers long before they played their first game.
April 12, 1962, the City threw the team a parade up lower Broadway.
as early as Opening Day it became clear that the lovable team were finding
out that they were Amazin’ only in their own minds.
anybody here play this game?” asked Mets manager Casey Stengel.
expression later became the title of a book by newspaper columnist Jimmy
Breslin that detailed how, despite their losing record, New York City loved
their first season, the Mets broke attendance records by drawing
approximately 2 million fans – a figure virtually unheard of at the time.
years late the Amazin’ Mets did the unthinkable by winning their first
World Series in 1969.
They repeated the “miracle” in 1986 and following their appearances in the post-season in 1999 and the World Series in 2001, this year’s Mets fans are looking forward to more Mets magic.
Stadium opened in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park on April 17, 1964, and has
been the site of legendary baseball moments and other historic high notes
there are rumors and echoes of discontent with the 37-year-old stadium. In
recent years the team’s owners have played hardball with state and city
officials over the Mets organization’s plans to leave Shea when the
team’s lease expires in 2004.
But the Mets haven’t started packing yet, since plans have been placed on hold in the wake of Sept. 11.
For more information about tickets to Mets games call the Mets Ticket Office at 507-TIXX.
ticket office is open from Mon.-Fri, 9-5:30, Sat. 9-2 and during all home
games until game time.
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