Friday night my parents, Daisy and I enjoyed a baseball game at Shea Stadium, just up the road from my apartment.  The St. Louis Cardinals, the team with the best fans in baseball (and the fact that my father and I are die-hard Cardinals fans does not prejudice me at all), were in town for the opener of a three-game series and I had scored absolutely amazing tickets which, while they weren’t behind home plate as I had erroneously thought, were three boxes back from the field and dead even with third base.  It was a gorgeous evening and a great way to say good-bye to Shea Stadium, which is being replaced for next season.

Albert Pujols takes a ground ball

We arrived in time to watch the Cardinals take batting practice and, as you can see above, Albert Pujuls, the player pretty much synonymous with Cardinals baseball in the 21st century, clowned around a bit in the infield before wowing the crowd with some long drives from the batting cage.  Unfortunately in the actual game he vastly underperformed, striking out three times, popping out to second, and grounding out weakly to third.  It’s not often that Albert Pujols goes zilch for five and it wasn’t surprising, with that kind of performance from their superstar, that the Cardinals were downed by the Mets by a final score of 7-2.

The mighty Albert strikes out

the mighty Albert strikes out

Despite the rather crushing defeat we had a great time at the game, and my mother even defied convention by ordering sushi at a concession stand and we were all surprised that it was actually quite tasty.  Another surprise was the number of bird species I spotted from our seats (besides the Redbirds).  Both Ring-billed and Laughing Gulls circled over the stadium but I also spotted the urban trifecta of Rock Pigeons, European Starlings, and House Sparrows and unexpected Barn Swallows, Mourning Doves and Double-crested Cormorants.  The birds in the sky, however, were not as compelling as the birds on the field and though we lost the game I am still glad we went.  After all, it is not every day that your favorite team plays within ten minutes of your home!

I’ll leave you with some more shots of the game and the hope that, despite being decimated by injuries this year, that the St. Louis Cardinals will make the playoffs.

pitching coach Dave Duncan, starting pitcher Mitchell Boggs, and catcher Yadier Molina

Brendan Ryan's awesome socks

Randy Flores trying to pitch out of a jam

Go Cards!

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.