As everybody knows, they’re not just selling the seats, they’re selling everything from the napkin holders to the foul poles. Shea stadium is becoming the site of the biggest sale of holy relics since the Middle Ages. It’s not going to implode and crumble into the Flushing Meadows. It is about to be scattered through the dens, basements, and attics of Greater New York and beyond.
Nevertheless, a lot of the things I might want the most from old Shea are not for sale. At least I don’t see them on the 500-page price list that has been sent out by the Meigray Group, the memorabilia company that is selling it all. Here’s my list of the stuff I’d really consider buying.
1) Those blue and orange ruffly pieces of metal that used to hang on the stadium in the Sixties
2) Empty bottles of champagne certified by the Meigray Group to have actually been opened and either sprayed or consumed during celebrations in 1969, 1973, 1986, 1988, 1999, 2000, or 2006.
3) Comparably authenticated Keith Hernandez cigarette butts
4) Any watercoolers or batting helmets damaged in anger
5) The stadium’s original wooden seats.
6) Bobby Valentine’s glasses and moustache disguise
7) Gil Hodges’s pocket bottle of shoe polish
8) Howard Johnson bats with cork centers
9) Discarded and used Mr. Mets heads
10) Anything that might have been part of Mrs. Met or Lady Met, who made a few appearances but hasn’t been seen at the stadium for more than 40 years
11) The deer they used to have in the vegetable garden in the bullpen
12) Pieces of the U-Haul tower, now forever obscured
13) The carriage, pulled by the mule Met-Al, in which Whitney and Bebe de Roulet used to ride down the right field line to the bullpen
14) Anything associated with Met-Al or with the Mets’ first animal mascot, the basset hound Homer, e.g. leashes, harnesses, pooper scoopers
15) The very learned-looking library backdrop of the Kiner’s Korner set
16) The futuristic white Shea stadium World’s Fair bus shelters by the bay
17) Those magic toy security wands the guys wave over you before they pronounce you fit to enter the stadium
18) The Flo-Max signs over the urinals that ask you why you’ve come back again
19) Those nets they put out during batting practice to make sure that nobody gets hit by anything
20) Any extant “Sign Man” signs
21) Used cowbells
22) The electronic console whose buttons play the trumpet sounding the charge, everybody clap your hands, etc.
23) Pieces of the old subway ramp
24) Turk Wendell’s rosin bags
25) Davey Johnson’s 1980s era computer
26) Pieces of the original scoreboard, especially the video screen that never worked
27) Pieces of the big old Rheingold sign, especially the foam, which made me want to grow up fast so that I could drink beer
28) Used Conehead cones
29) Pieces of broken bats, particularly if they are shaped in such a way that they have been mistaken for baseballs and thrown at anyone
30) Any stray cats, lucky or otherwise
31) The brooms that get dragged over the infield
32) The dirty water buckets that keep the hot dogs warm, especially if they are really old and beat up, I mean the buckets, not the hot dogs
33) The old Longines clock
34) Any of the banners people used to hang that made Shea feel so messy and fun and unique
35) The pickle pin from the Heinz pavilion at the World’s Fair that I lost at Shea in 1964
36) Various ghosts, spells, curses, and ectoplasmic epiphenomena
I’m not going to buy anything. As I said, I don’t do relics. But if any of the above were available, I’d be tempted.