When Shea Stadium closed at the end of the 2008 season, there was little lament. The park was outdated, charmless and right under the flight path of jets headed to or from LaGuardia Airport. All good reasons why the closing of Yankee Stadium generated more comments from the masses. There was only one part of Shea that rose above the indifference.
Whenever a Met player hit a home run, a large apple would rise from a top hat and celebrate the moment. It was kitschy, to be sure, but it had heart and fit as a symbol for a team that could never match the Yankees when it came to self-important pretensions of grandeur. The apple will be making its way to Citi Field, but not in an official capacity.
The old apple will be on display somewhere at the new park, while a younger, fresher model takes its place behind the centerfield fence. It's being built in Minnesota right now and will dwarf its predecessor. The Daily News reports that the new apple will stand 16 feet tall and weigh 4,800 pounds while the original was just nine feet high and weighed a paltry 582 pounds. That's a big apple worthy of the Big Apple.
In their first season with this new apple, the Mets will hope to avoid the results of their first season with the old model. In 1980, the rookie apple made just 35 trips to the surface as a woeful Met team finished last in the National League with just 61 for the entire season.
They're unlikely to scrape those lows, which means we'll have plenty of looks at the spanking new apple in its spanking new digs. It may be hokey, but its Mets history and it's good that the apple will be a part of the future as well.