37 2 mins 13 yrs

I attended my first professional sports event at Shea Stadium. It was a baseball game of course, and it was the NY Mets of course. In those sixties days, there were nearly no Yankees fans in Brooklyn. All of us, children of fathers who had followed the Brooklyn Dodgers, automatically had allegiance to New York’s new National League team, the one that replaced the NL team that Walter O’Malley ( may he burn in hell ) transferred to California on day in 1958.

We still had black and white TV in our house, so I was somehow astonished at the fact that Shea Stadium was multicolored. The greenness of the grass was astonishing to me. I guess I expected it to be grey, as it was on TV. Shea Stadium was just the most beautiful place I’d ever seen.

Over the years, I’ve seen probably 200 games at Shea Stadium, maybe more.  With family and friends, and at a couple of times solo, I’ve seen the Mets field good teams and bad times. I even saw the Rolling Stones play there once – a tremendous show. All the fun ended earlier this week. A five month demolition was completed, and Shea Stadium is no more.

The Mets will be playing in a new stadium next year, named Madoff Field or Citibank Bankruptcy  Stadium or something. It will be filled with luxury boxes and $10 cups of coffee and there will be armed guards and foaming dobermans to keep the ordinary people out.

But one, there was a Shea Stadium and it was full of life. A lot of great things happened there.

 Above, a scene from the Beatles’ earthshaking concert at Shea Stadium in 1965.

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37 thoughts on “Sunday Music : ” Help! “, the Beatles at Shea Stadium

  1. Out of interest, what would be the biggest sport in the USA; baseball, American football or, possibly, basketball?

    I suppose that it is American football as that seems to be talked about the most.

  2. American football in its violent glory,unfortunately, is number one.

    Baseball is number two, But number one among smart people ( and, coincidentally, in the Northeast US.)

    The most knowledgable baseball fans like the National League variety, where all players, including the pitcher takes a turn at bat. It has more strategy and is better to watch.

    The American League, which mahons admires, wheels out a steroids / HGH infested goon in place of the pitcher when it would otherwise be the pitchers turn to bat. This places an unnatural emphasis on the offense, and leads to higher and abnormal run totals.

  3. Baseball is the national pastime, but American football draws bigger ratings per game (although it should be noted that there are 162 games in a baseball season and only 16 or so in a football season).

    Most American children play soccer (your football) but it seems to taper off as they get older, and professional soccer has never really made it here.

  4. That’s one of the best things about America – that the rest of the world loves soccer, and we could care less about it. Televised poker matches generate more interest here. I just love that.

    The recent thing with the Bend Over Like Beckham guy trying to leave the LA Galaxy will help ensure that soccer remains a minor sport for the next 50 years.

  5. The National League, to which Phantom pledges allegiance, is generally followed by Satanists, bedwetters, circus geeks, shut-ins and guys who think Star Trek conventions have too many chicks.

    The American League, as the name implies, is the preferred choice of the thinking fan, the Mt. Olympus of rooting, and the shining City upon a Hill where we, the Chosen, root root root for the home team.

  6. I hold the American League, and to a significant extent you personally, responsible for the steroids epidemic in baseball

    It’s no coincidence that steroids came into the sport after the DH came about.

    There’s more to the sport than Giambi hitting six home runs a game. There has to be a place for strategy and tactics. The DH is a form of legalized cheating.

    Even Joe Torre I recall said that managing a game was harder in the NL since you had to think of more variables.

    Guba could manage in the AL.

  7. McGwire, Bonds, Sosa – three National League steroiders chasing the records of American League Legends Ruth and Maris.

  8. Look, I’m sure that i could stand in one place, swing a stick about, and run around in a circle, adequately in the American League or the National League.

    I’ve got a feeling that I’m the only one who plays sport here regularly and probably the only one here with a full head of hair 😉

    I will have you know that soccer has not taken over Ireland either. Hurling and real (Gaelic) football are still, by along way, the biggest sports here. Soccer is about number 4 and only played by settled knackers (young ruffians from council estates).

  9. McGwire and Sosa had origins in the American League, and Alex Roidriguez has always played there.

    I have a magnificent head of hair, Mr. Guba. Jealousy will get you nowhere.

    Hurling is a wonderful sport, pity it’s so unknown outside Ireland.

    I hope that you are correct about soccer being No. 4 there, but am not sure that is correct. That may be a west Ireland perspective.

    When Ireland was in the World Cup competition in America, it sure seemed like a number one sport or close to it.

  10. I will back Phantom up on his flowing locks and he can attest that I am not among the follicle-challenged.

    You wouldn’t have to run around the bases, merely return to the dugout after striking out on three pitches.

  11. ‘I have a magnificent head of hair, Mr. Guba. Jealousy will get you nowhere.’

    well, i’ll take your word for it.

    ‘Hurling is a wonderful sport, pity it’s so unknown outside Ireland.’

    It is indeed, but is probably a bit too rough for others to handle. I was playing a game last week and one of my teammates broke a few fingers. They were tapped up and he was sent out to play again with the coach saying: ‘stop your f**ken complaining and go in corner back, you have five more on the other f**ken hand.’

    I don’t think ye yanks with your baseball and basketball and body armour would be tough enough for it!

  12. NFL Football is extremely brutal and the retired players have the knee replacements and concussions to prove it.

    I appreciate the toughness of hurling ( and rugby, and Irish football ) but don’t let the NFL armor fool you. The NFL is one ferocious place where the timid need not apply.

    They wear a lot of gear, but they also endure ferocious full speed, full body, tackles by one or more players all the time.

  13. ‘You wouldn’t have to run around the bases, merely return to the dugout after striking out on three pitches.’

    I cannot recognize baseball as a man’s sport until it becomes legal and necessary to hit your opponent across the back of the legs with the bat. As of now, i would regard it as a unisex sport, like Tennis or show-jumping. In order words, you might tell your mother that you played it, but you sure as hell wouldn’t tell your father.

  14. Michael Jordan, great world athlete that he was, could not achieve his greatest dream – to become a major league baseball player. He devoted a couple of years of his life to the pursuit of this dream.

    The hardest thing in all of sport is to hit a baseball thrown with bad intent by a major league pitcher, who has a hundred different ways to deceive the hitter.

    If you don’t think that baseball is a man’s business try blocking Home Plate when the runner is trying to score. Or observe various plays in the infield when you try to catch and throw a ball when the runner "accidentally" runs into you, or when outfielders collide with one another or with the outfield fence.

    Not as brutal as rugby or the NFL, but why should it be? Baseball is meant to be a fine pastime for a summers day rather than the ultraviolence of the NFL.

    Besides, if you want violence, you can go watch a boxing match.

  15. If i want a fine pastime for a summer day, I’d get pissed on cider! Baseball has a lot of potential to be a man’s sport, you get to wield a pretty big bat, but it is retarded by the player’s inability to use the said implement in combat with another bat wielding participant.

    There really are minimal differences between baseball and that god-awful embarrassment Cricket. Ireland beating Pakistan in that Cricket world cup was one of the most shameful days in this countries history, because Irish people, for the first time, found out that they had a cricket team and the rest of the sporting world, who usually tremble at our feet, also found out, and were, undoubtedly laughing their asses’ off.

  16. GUBA – The Book of Irish International Sports victories is as thin as the Book of Italian War Heroes.

  17. ‘The Book of Irish International Sports victories is as thin as the Book of Italian War Heroes.’

    Ireland – with its little population of 4 million – has one of the top rugby teams in the world, a pretty good soccer team, and until recently a very good one. We also regularly trounce the Aussies in Australian compromise rules. It does this even though these are minor sports here.

    We also do very well in some of the lesser sports, like horse racing and boxing.

    America with its 300 million has not exactly set the world alight. Its soccer team struggling to beat Jamaica and Canada is … well … a bit embarrassing.

  18. We don’t care about soccer, Guba

    Our best athletes have no interest in it. They play other sports..

  19. ‘We don’t care about soccer, Guba’

    We don’t either. I don’t know anyone who plays soccer. We don’t even have a real full-time pro league here. America has a large one.

    There are also only 4 full-time rugby teams on the entire Island. Again, i don’t actually know anyone who plays rugby, even amateur.
    Our top athletes play other sports too, but we remain competitive at major international sports.

    The US has a population 75 times larger than ours, you should be hammering us off the field!

  20. ‘One of the top rugby teams in the world is like being the tallest building in Kansas.’

    Rugby is a major sport in many European countries, Oceania, southern African countries and Argentina. Your just jealous!

  21. GUBA – not at all, go ahead and grab onto another bunch of grunting men all bent over and grabbing each other.

  22. ‘go ahead and grab onto another bunch of grunting men all bent over and grabbing each other.’

    ah mahon, you are jealous. Cheer up, I’m sure NFL armour is not impenetrable to a quick reach-around.

  23. Guba

    I dunno. Someone in Ireland cares about soccer.

    Again, when Ireland advanced in the 1994 World Cup tournament, the country shut down when the games were played

    That never happens here for any event including the Olympics or Super Bowl or World Series.

    Soccer ( and international competition ) appeals to someone in Ireland an awful lot.

    There may be nothing wrong with its popularity there that a few more good players would not cure.

  24. GUBA – try a quick reach around on an NFL player and come back and tell me if it works. I’ll help you find your teeth.

  25. ‘Again, when Ireland advanced in the 1994 World Cup tournament, the country shut down when the games were played’

    Ireland was a pretty crappy place in 1994. I am not surprised they got excited and the country hardly shut down.

    i’m sure that Arizona and whoever else was in that Super bowel thing got pretty excited. They are both alot bigger then Ireland. Ireland is a small place. I drink in the same pub as Brian O’driscoll and the other Munster players.

    Besides, the super bowel and world series (is that Japan, Cuba and the USA?) are not really international sporting events.

    The simple fact is that Ireland punches way above its weight in international competition.

  26. Thanks for the advice. I wasn’t actually suggesting that you try it! Check out Turkey, you can get your teeth fixed their for a tuppance.

  27. They’re not country vs country as we don’t believe in that fascist concept

    But baseballs Major Leagues are very international and attract large and increasing audiences outside Europe, where folks don’t know better. A steady diet of soccer on SKY TV has dulled all their sports appreciation skills

    The NY Yankees have a Japanese outfielder and one of their better pitchers is from Taiwan. Both are immensely popular in their home countries, and for a time ( maybe still ) all the Yankees’ games were broadcast live in both Japan and Taiwan.

    It is growing rapidly in China.

    Baseball is really popular in much of northern Latin America. Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, including in Cuba. One thing that Fidel Castro, the Venezuelan pineapple headed demagogue and GW Bush agree on is that baseball is the best sport.

  28. US sports are far behind soccer though in terms of international appeal. South and central America, Africa aad now the far east are soccer crazy.

    And, according to Mahons, soccer is making a big impact among young Americans. I would be weary. Soccer destroys all before it, and, though American football and baseball may seem impregnable now, they are still in danger.

  29. In the US, soccer is the sport of the future and always will be.

    We’ve seen our Peles come and go, and still the TV ratings are nothing. The idiots who run the sport put the interesting games ( live English League matches ) on pay TV, so no one gets the chance to sample them at home.

    The problem as respects the US are:

    virtually no scoring

    perception as a " foreign game "

    perception as a " kids game " – it has been a popular game for kids for some time, but is now a sport that young kids grow out of.

    Soccer has made nearly no inroads as a big time sport. They’ve actually gone backwards as a professional sport – in the 70s, with Pele and Beckenbauer, the NY Cosmos sold out their 80,000 seat stadium all the time. It would be unthinkable now.

    Brazil and Argentina were always soccer countries where other sports were far down the ladder. The historic baseball countries of Venezuela, Cuba Dominican Republic are baseball mad still.

    The prime growth area will be Asia. Look to China. Their government wants to beat Japan at everything, including baseball.

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