New Mets Stadium Won't Be Called Shea Stadium

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William Alfred Shea was off by a decade and a half.

He once predicted that 15 minutes after he died, his name would be taken off the Queens stadium where the New York Mets play baseball. It took 15 years instead.

But Mr. Shea got the big picture right. Nothing lasts forever, certainly not a name on the facade of a ballpark, certainly not when huge bucks are at stake and corporate egos need nourishing.

For 42 years, the Mets’ home field has been called Shea Stadium. It is called that for a reason: to honor Mr. Shea, never mind that ever-shrinking numbers of the team’s fans have a clue who he was.

Mr. Shea, who died in 1991 at 84, was a lawyer and a power broker. He, as much as anyone, brought National League baseball back to a bereft city after the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants took a powder in 1957. The New York Metropolitan Baseball Club Inc. came into being in 1961. When it moved into a new home of its own in 1964, it made sense to many to name the home Shea Stadium.

It was an honor in the dictionary definition of the word: high regard or great respect. It is an honor that has now become a casualty of modern business.

Yesterday, the Mets made it official that their new playground, rising next to the old one in Flushing Meadows, will not be called Shea Stadium. The new name is Citi Field, in obeisance to Citigroup, the banking titan.

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