Citi Field Is Already A Huge Architectural Disaster

I used to sit in the press box at Shea Stadium for several years, and since I wasn’t exactly the most important guy in the room, my seat was below a large pipe whose purpose I never quite understood. All I know is that it often dripped what I assume was water, though I usually try not to think about the source. I’m just glad they have a nice new stadium there now so this kind of stuff doesn’t happen anymore.

Citi Field Subway Stop

(New name, same problems.)

What’s that? Citi Field is already a crumbling mess? FANHOUSE’s Tom Fornelli, citing a NEW YORK POST report, says the new stadium is riddled with structural issues even though the debut season isn’t even over yet. No word on whether the issues are related to a shirtless Tony Bernazard challenging the stadium to a fight.

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With No One Left To Screw, Mets Turn To Subway

Citi Field cost $800 million to build. In contrast, New York’s transit authority is facing a $1.2 billion budget deficit. So when the MTA asked the Mets to chip in to help with the $40 million in renovations to the train stations that bring fans and their wallets to the stadium, it seems logical that the Mets might throw in a little cash. Especially in New York, where everyone takes the subway to the game. But if that were the case, we wouldn’t have a story here.

Citi Field Subway Stop

The MTA is in dire straits, financially. We’re two weeks away from $103 monthly passes if they don’t come up with some more money quickly. So if they’re spending some of what little money they have to fix up the stations by Citi Field (including replacing the signs that say Shea Stadium), you’d think the Mets would be grateful. You obviously haven’t read enough articles about how greedy teams are.

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Speed Read: Penn St. & Illinois Stink Up The Joint

Basketball: it’s a beautiful game. Or fantastically ugly, depending on which game you watched last night. On one hand, you had the Phoenix Suns putting up 140 points for the second straight game in their 142-119 victory over the depleted Los Angeles Clippers. On the other, there was Penn State and Illinois, who combined scored exactly one-half as many points as the Suns did in the Nittany Lions’ 38-33 upset victory over the Fighting Illini.

Penn State vs Illinois

Let’s talk about the latter game first. It wasn’t the lowest scoring game since the 45-second shot clock was introduced in 1986, but it was close. (That distinction belongs to Monmouth’s 41-21 win over Princeton in 2006.) They also flirted with the record for fewest combined points in a half, with the two team’s output of 32 just eclipsing the record of 28 set by Mississippi and South Carolina back in 2003.

The box score tells you all you need to know about the debacle. Exactly one player scored in double digits: Penn State’s Talor Battle, who put up 11 points on 3-for-11 shooting. Heck, the Nittany Lions as a team shot 28.3 percent from the field, and they won.

At least the two teams didn’t let a little thing like not being able to hit the broadside of a barn stop them from shooting the deep ball: they combined to go 6-for-33 from the three-point line. And Illinois didn’t attempt a free throw. For the game. Way to be aggressive, guys. But I guess a win’s a win, even if it’s the most embarrassing and pathetic kind possible. Congratulations, Penn State, I guess.

Steve Nash and Al Thorton

And then there are the Suns. You’ll excuse me if I don’t get too excited by the sudden return of the high-scoring, fast-paced, exciting Suns with Alvin Gentry as head coach after putting a hurting on the Clippers on back-to-back nights. First off, it’s the Clippers to begin with, but if a team with Amare Stoudemire (for now) can’t murder a team that’s missing Chris Kaman, Marcus Camby, Brian Skinner and Zach Randolph, then something is seriously wrong.

Check back with me on Sunday after you guys visit Boston, and we’ll see how you’re doing.

But the Suns have a date with Oklahoma City before then on Friday, which will be without newly-acquired Tyson Chandler. Permanently. That’s because the Thunder rescinded their trade with New Orleans from Tuesday and sent Chandler back to the Hornets after he failed a physical with their team doctor.

Tyson Chandler

As TRUEHOOP notes, it’s probably going to be pretty awkward in New Orleans as Chandler has to return to the team that just unloaded him for Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox. (By the way, is Joe Smith involved with every strange trade or free agent signing in the NBA?) What makes things even more odd is that Chandler didn’t fail the physical because of his sprained left ankle - it was because of a big toe injury he suffered in 2007. And the Thunder’s doctor was the one who performed the surgery.

And speaking of injuries…Ken Griffey Jr. is back with the Mariners! All joking aside, I think most people of my generation will think it’s pretty neat to see Junior back in a Mariners uniform (presumably) for the rest of his career. And the story of his signing with the Mariners is unique; the SEATTLE TIMES says that apparently the No. 1 salesman for Seattle was Harold Reynolds, a close friend of Griffey’s. He had been working on Griffey to sell him on the move to Seattle when he played his trump card: hugging Willie Mays.

Ken Griffey Jr.

Reynolds set up a phone call between Griffey and the Say Hey Kid, who was Griffey’s idol and the reason he wears No. 24. And sure enough, soon after having the phone conversation with Mays, Griffey told the Mariners that he would sign with them. A great story, although I’m not sure I’d take advice from Willie Mays on how to end your career gracefully.

More sports stories to learn about as you ponder if anyone’s life could be stranger than Tracy Morgan’s

Which star athlete’s end of career death spiral was most painful to watch?

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Your Obligatory Shea Stadium Demolition Porn

I really have to apologize to Mets fans for today. First came Adam’s post on the Phillies’ celebration, when every Utley f-bomb must’ve felt like a dagger in the heart. Now I have to show you some pretty rad videos of the demolition of Shea Stadium.

Mr. Met

Because of New York City’s buzzkill law against building implosions, there won’t be any Michael Bay-esque footage of the stadium being vaporized, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t memories to be painfully pulled down by heavy machinery. I’m not sure an entire baseball season can be captured in a 41-second video, but this does seem to be a pretty good metaphor for the 2008 New York Mets:

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One More Chair Shot, But This Time With Feeling

Pissing On The Mets’ Grave For Fun And Profit

Shea Stadium toilets will still be flushing, just not in Flushing.

Flushing Meadows

Demolition of Shea Stadium begins tomorrow, but not before the most precious artifacts are spirited away for safekeeping. The New York City Parks Department has begun removing toilets, urinals, sinks, and anything else of value before the scrapyards in Willets Point get their hands on the junk.

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America’s Funniest Zapruder-Style Football Videos

• It was a big day for grainy video of youth football controversy. First, some high school kicker abused the the goal post support, Phil Dawson-style (but didn’t get the call). Then, some youth coach just flat-out abused an opposing player.

Gooseneck goalpost betrays high school officials

• Paraguayan javelin-thrower Leryn Franco is nippin’ out on the runway. She’ll use the photo for her Christmas card like Elaine Benes did.

• Don’t expect a closing baseball stadium to just let you stroll in and scoop up your dead father.

Brett Favre’s home in Wisconsin has decided it’s time to move on, and is going forward in finding a new owner.

• Lions fans should be pretty excited that they’re still going to go 12-4, according to Roy Williams. The Cubs are also going to be the only team to come back from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-five series.

• Just when you thought we’d gotten rid of Kevin Costner once and for all, it’s time for a Bull Durham sequel. Read more…

Now Taking The Mound: Some Dead Guy’s Ashes

Scattering ashes on a baseball mound: a grand gesture or simply ghoulish? I asked myself that question after reading about Lisa Hasson, who had secretly scattered her father’s ashes on the mound at Shea Stadium 12 years ago, and had been told by team officials that she couldn’t get into the field to scoop some of the mound up to re-scatter it at the new ball park. After an initial story about Hasson’s plight ran in the DAILY NEWS, Mets fans who had been able to scoop up dirt from the mound volunteered to send some to her.

Mets fan's ashes

It sounds like a sweet story that these fans would give a piece of Mets history to someone they don’t know. But I think it’s more likely that people read the story, looked at their commemorative clump of the mound and realized, “Oh my God, my hands have been all over SOME GUY’S DEAD ASHES!!!” Followed by them puking liberally and taking an industrial, Karen Silkwood-style shower to wash his remains away.

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Speed Read: Time To Perform Last Rites On Cubs

Apparently, not even God can save the Cubs. The CHICAGO TRIBUNE reports that team brought in a priest to spread Holy Water on their bench before Game 1 to exorcise the demons of collapses past. But after last night’s wretched 10-3 loss to the Dodgers in Game 2, the Cubs look ready to call the priest back - this time to perform Last Rites.

Crying Cubs fan

How bad was it last night? How about every starting infielder making an error. Not the kind of night the Cubs needed when Carlos Zambrano decided to bring his less-than-A Game to the mound - more like his Z Game. The only bad news for the Dodgers was that Takashi Saito got shelled, giving up three hits and two runs without recording an out. Somehow I think the Dodgers will take the results.

Eva and Evan Longoria

In other playoff news, it turns out the Rays are pretty good after all. At least we know that Evan Longoria is. Tampa Bay’s rookie sensation became the second player in baseball history to smack homers in his first two post-season at-bats in the team’s 6-4 win over the White Sox. (The first? Gary Gaetti, now a coach with in the Rays’ farm system.) If almost-namesake Eva Longoria sent him champagne to celebrate the Rays’ playoff berth, what’s she going to get him now?

But it wasn’t all sunshine and roses in Tampa last night. As the Rays were doing something historic, the No. 10 South Florida football team was doing something familiar: getting upset on an ESPN Thursday night game. In this case it was Pittsburgh doing the honors, with Dave Wannstedt pulling of the type of victory that will somehow save his job after the team finishes 7-5.

As for other sports news, here’s what you missed while you were watching the Vice Presidential Debate and wondering if Joe Biden was wearing more make-up than Sarah Palin:

John Daly

What Chicago-area sports miracle has the best chance of happening?

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Officially Saying Goodbye to El Stadio De Shea

It wouldn’t feel like the last day of the regular season without an epic Mets collapse, but what made this year’s version extra special is that the collapse-completing loss came during the last game ever at Shea Stadium. But cheer up, Mets fans. One thing they can never take away from you is your memories. Until you get senile and old, at least.

Sad Mets fan

With that in mind, we thought this would be as good a time as any to share with you a great look at some of the more eccentric personalities that have inhabited Shea. For an article for THE NEW YORK TIMES, Corey Kilgannon spent last Thursday night at the stadium (a 7-6 win over the Cubs) and ran into pretty wild assortment of interesting folks.

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