I remember going to the last ever game at Shea with mixed emotions. One the one hand, I had a tremendous sense of melancholy over the closing of a Stadium I had been going to since I was three years old. I was also excited because the Mets needed to win to either go play a play-in game or go to the postseason (let’s never talk about the game again).
I went to Shea Stadium with the intention of just soaking everything in. I wanted to keep my eyes pealed for anything I would want to have in the future. One thing I really wanted was The Last Game at Shea t-shirt. It was hard to get one for a few reasons. First, I’m a large man requiring an XXL shirt. If you recall, Shea Stadium would usually carry the XXL stuff at different locations, but not all concessions. Second, as this was the last game of the season and the final game at Shea Stadium, the Mets were selling everything at a pretty steep discount. The concessions were mobbed.
Keep in mind, I’m the type of guy who gets to Mets games as the gates open. On that day, so did everyone else. Each and every concession was a madhouse. My first two stops didn’t have them. I then went to the one that I knew was the best stocked. I fought my way to the front. Note, the old style concessions had no lines. You had to find your way up front, get the person’s attention, and get what you could before it was sold out. I got to the front. I got the salesperson’s attention. I overheard the other salesperson say, “I only got three XXL shirts left!”
I was relieved. I was going to get one of them. Then my Dad stepped in, and asked, “How many Bobbleheads do you have left?” The dutiful salesperson went back and counted. I don’t remember the number, but she told us how many were left. My Dad started to do the math in his head as to what it’ll cost and who would get one of those Bobbleheads. At that point, a large man stepped next to me talking about the shirts.
I yelled at the salesperson, “We’ll take them all as long as you can get me an XXL Final Game shirt!” I got the last XXL t-shirt . . . and about 15 Bobbleheads. Guess what my Dad got me as a good gift for Christmas? One of the 15 Bobbleheads (he took a few off my hands).
Here’s the funny thing. After that game, my most treasured souvenir from the Last Game at Shea wasn’t the t-shirt; it was the Bobblehead. That Bobblehead has come to symbolize not just that game, but all the games I attended at Shea with my Dad and brother. It’s also funny that there were enough left over that I could give one to my son when he was born.
So with that, I hope you have a Happy National Bobblehead Day.