I had the priviledge of going to the new Mets ballpark in NY last night. The Mets won in an uncharacteristically elegant way. Bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, Luis Castillo hits a bullet deep in the pocket betw short and third. The Brewers shortstop makes the play, but it’s hit too fast and makes him turn too far. Castillo beats the throw at first and the runner scores from third. The team, excited at the thrilling finish, runs on the field and piles on the baserunners. Everyone at the new stadium had a nice but uneasy feeling. Too many people greeted us at the entrance. Everyone smiled more than seems right for New Yorkers. Try as hard as they could, no chant of Lets Go Mets took hold in the crowd. At the beginning of the game I was enchanted, by the end – it didn’t gel. No suspension of disbelief. I’ve traveled a lot in my life and I’ve seen the Mets play a lot of away games at foreign ballparks. That’s what this felt like. I felt like a child whose father has a new wife being asked to accept her as my mother. It just doesn’t work. In the end I would have much rather gone to a game at the old Shea Stadium, warts and all. Baseball is all about tradition. It’s not an exciting game like basketball or football, it’s a game where the past matters. I’m sure the people who run NYC had their reasons for wanting a new ballpark. Maybe it would have worked better if they had put it somewhere else, but with the ruins of Shea still visible from the new stadium, it feels like we haven’t had the proper period of mourning, at least, for an old established shrine of our religion. Would the Boston Red Sox tear down Fenway, could the Cubs exist without Wrigley? These questions have obvious answers to me, as obvious as whether the Catholic Church would tear down the Vatican just to get some skyboxes. The new park is a beautiful stadium. I’m not saying it will never fill the place of Shea Stadium, but it doesn’t now. I miss the old place.