The Parking Lot at the Mall of Death
Imagine the excitement: You're going out the ballpark with Dad for the first time. You've heard so many stories about the park, and its great history, and all the amazing wins Dad has seen there. And now you're finally getting to go.
You ride out on the train together. Dad has his ball cap on, you’ve got your glove in hand.
The train ride seems to take forever. Stop after stop goes by. You ask Dad probably a hundred times when you’re going to arrive. "Almost there," he says, smiling.
Then, finally, as you look out to the right of the train, you see it.
“Awesome,” you say, staring out the window at the stadium. It's smaller than you imagined, but you like the looks of it. It is neat, clean, well-kept, and surrounded by trees.
Dad taps you on the shoulder and and says, “That’s the tennis stadium, buddy. Shea Stadium is over there.”
You wheel around, and look to the left.
And it’s the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen.
* * *
As legend has it, the town is called Flushing because Shea Stadium looks like it came from somebody's ass.
It looks like a spaceship from a B movie, a failed version of the Death Star that sputtered out and crashed years ago and has since grown grass in its hollowed-out middle. It may have looked futuristic in the 1960's, but now it looks like a big round parking lot painted blue and left to rot.
And the inside is no better. If you're not sitting in your seat, it's a guarantee that you're staring at concrete as far as you can see. You are not in a baseball stadium; you're in a parking lot at the Mall of Death. Entry and exit ramps have no logical design. Trying to get to the loge level (the best place to sneak into better seats) is like attempting to navigate an irritatingly difficult level on a video game you hate playing. Time and again you choose the wrong ramp that takes you up one floor too high.
When the game is over, you will be pleased to discover that Shea's architects employed "bottleneck" technology to maximize people traffic and general irritation. But what else would you expect?
Fact: The best team in the National League plays in the worst ballpark in America.
Fact: There are plans for a new Mets stadium in 2009. That's not nearly soon enough.
Some other things to discuss:
- For the record, there is absolutely no connection between the above-vented bitterness and the Mets' three-game sweep of the Braves this past weekend. Okay, maybe there is a slight connection.
- In tennis news, James Blake has signed an endorsement deal with Evian. Says Blake in the press release (which was somehow acquired by reader Frank G. Yak): "Throughout my career, I have enjoyed drinking Evian water on and off the court because I prefer its purity and mineral content to other waters." The OCC hereby gives you permission to slap him if he ever speaks of a water's purity or mineral content.
- This just in: Jeremy Shockey drinks booze; lives hard. This would be a worthwhile revelation if it weren't the most obvious, already-established information ever disseminated.
- The legend of Howie Kendrick grew Sunday night, when the Angels' infielder reached into the stands at Fenway to snag a foul ball from an unsuspecting fan who just so happened to be Ben Affleck. Affleck was heartily booed by Red Sox fans for not properly interfering with Kendrick's effort to catch the ball, at which point Affleck started screaming like O'Bannion from Dazed and Confused when he got covered in white paint. What are you looking at? Huh? I'll kick your fucking ass, right now! Okay, actually he didn't start screaming like that. But he should have. Ben should take every opportunity to channel that character, since it was clearly his finest role of all time.
- Sunday, SportsCenter reported that Cubs' SS Ronny Cedeno had been in a 19-for-122 slump before hitting a homer. The question: By the time you reach 122 AB's, haven't you passed the classification of "slump" and moved on to just being terrible?
- In a reminder that sometimes strange things come flying out of apartment windows, a man was struck down on the streets of Sosnowiec in southern Poland when a 110-pound St. Bernard landed on him. Apparently the dog, named Oskar, was shoved out of the apartment window by its drunken owner, named Mike Tyson. (Okay, the Tyson part is not really true.) But here's the question: Who actually shoves a dog? Doesn't the word "shove" kind of imply that it's a fight of some kind, where the dog is actually implicit in the event? Seems that you don't really shove a dog out a window so much as you throw it, but now we're getting into semantics. Also of note, a police spokesman said that "The dog had a soft landing because it fell on a man." Which is kind of like saying, "The air conditioner was not injured because it landed on somebody's head." The lesson here is obvious: When walking the streets of Sosnowiec, make certain to wear a helmet.