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.
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
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.
All very odd. Your cricket pitches look a lot barer than ours – all those grassless patches! – and, really, shouldn’t the groundsmen have noticed that someone seems to have left a mound of dirt in the middle of the field? And where are the stumps? Just what is the bowler aiming at I wonder? The colourful ‘whites’ are interesting though – trust you Americans to take the world’s best sport and add your own typically vibrant flourishes…:)
How about those Mets! The loss on Saturday night was tough, though.
It was a rough game to watch, but we can still take the series this afternoon.
You’re lucky you at least live in an NL town where they come by once a year. Carolina is a baseball wasteland. I miss not seeing the Birds since I moved from Missouri…
Also, nice shot of Brendan Ryan’s socks. I’m a big fan of the stirrups, it’s the way a baseball player is supposed to look. He could stand to blouse his pants a little better though.
With the Mets and Yankees surging maybe there will be another subway series.
Shea is in the Flushing Meadows Corona Park complex. Barn swallows nest in the park under the bridges at the north and south end of the lake, so its not too surprising to see them at Shea. Flushing Meadows Corona Park can have some interesting birding. Timing is important though, summer weekends the park is packed with people.
I have seen mixed flocks of hundreds of swifts and swallows at the park, and this summer I am seeing ospreys regularly. I have also seen red-throated loons there, the only places in NYC I have spotted them.
I like the way you think, Joseph. Now, are you saying that you’ve seen red-throated loons in Queens this summer?
I have seen red-throated loons in Flushing Meadows Park, but not this summer. I have seen them there two times, during the first week of March in 2005 and 2006.