It's pretty much common knowledge around New York that the best stadium resides in the Bronx. It's got the history, the championships, the retired numbers, Monument Park, and countless other attributes that suggest that this is (or should be) true. The general consensus about Shea Stadium is that it's got the charm of a monkey whorehouse. And the majority of Mets fans can't wait to see the thing imploded, so that they'll have a place to park next year when they visit the Mets' brand new home, Citi Field.
But here's a bold statement: since the 1974-5 renovation of Yankee Stadium, the best place to watch a baseball game (without rooting interest) is in Queens.
I'm not suggesting that the best team plays there, nor am I talking about what will be the case next year, when they each pull the cover off their shiny new taxpayer-funded ballparks. Nor am I saying that Shea Stadium is the most aesthetically pleasing or best place to see a game. This isn't a race to finish first. It's a race to not finish last.
The Yankee Stadium in which the Yankees play today is not the same stadium that Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle called home. In fact, much more fittingly, it's the stadium that George Costanza called home. It's an eyesore, almost completely devoid of any kind of charm. Walking through its concourses is next to impossible between innings, bathrooms are ridiculously crowded, and if you stay until the last pitch, good luck getting to your car or to the train in less than 20 minutes. Parking is a complete nightmare, and it's inaccessible by Metro-North Railroad, meaning that if you're coming from Westchester and you don't want to drive, you've got to go into Manhattan to get back to the Bronx (which is like eating only peanut butter to lose weight. It may work, but it ain't right).
Shea Stadium, however, is accessible by Long Island Railroad if you're coming from the East. You can take the 7 train from Manhattan (the one John Rocker loves so much). If you want to drive, it isn't the easiest ride, but it's at the intersection of a few major highways, and when they're not doing major construction on the grounds, there's plenty of parking on site. It's not the prettiest building in the world, but you can see the field from most of the concourses. Jose Reyes will teach you remedial Spanish between innings. And the stupid red apple that pops out of the top hat when someone hits a home run is kitschy, but there isn't a person in the crowd that doesn't love it.
In fairness, I don't think anyone's going to miss either of these eyesores. Still, Shea doesn't get its due. UR: -7
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