IMDb describes Last Play at Shea as "chronicling the history of two New York icons and the journey that brought them together for the last musical performance at Shea Stadium." Anthony De Rosa was at the Tribeca Film Festival screening.
I had a good cry last night.
A couple of them actually. Watching "Last Play At Shea" was like watching a recently departed relative come back to life for roughly two hours. As the opening sequence began, the emotions of the day Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza shut the outfield wall, in a symbolic, Field Of Dreams-esque, sun soaked sequence came rushing back inside me and I couldn't contain the tears I had that day. As the movie states early on, Shea was a dump, but it was our dump.
The movie is a triumph. A muli layered retrospective of three entities: Billy Joel, The New York Mets, and Shea Stadium. All of the three had a significant impact on my adolescence. My father would play Billy Joel on the 8-track in our house early Sunday mornings and I can't think of our old cherry red Chevy Chevette without hearing "Just The Way You Are." My generation has always had a love/hate relationship with Billy Joel, but for me he will always hold a sentimental place because of my father.
The film hits all the right notes, covering the history of how the stadium came to be, and the ties between Joel, a working class hero, and the working class fans who tend to be attracted to the Mets rather than the Yankees. Alec Baldwin narrates, which I particularly enjoyed. Wonderful interviews with close friends of Joel, including a huge rift between the best friend whose girlfriend he stole away.
We watch as the awful early days of the Mets give rise to triumphant Miracle Mets of the 1969 World Series Champion Mets and many years later, the Amazin' Mets of the 1986 World Series. The unforgettable first baseball game after 9/11 is recalled first hand by Mike Piazza, whose game winning home run raised the spirits of a city in ruin. Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling, longtime Mets announcer and unabashed longtime Mets fan Gary Cohen, and Darryl Strawberry share their Shea stories throughout the film.
Legendary Mets groundskeeper Pete Flynn plays a starring role in the history of the stadium, and in the film. I won't give away what it is, but if you're a Shea historian, you already know and it's one of the most special moments that tie the film together.
Anthony De Rosa is a veteran blogger and long suffering Mets fan who has been developing and providing consulting for new media since 1996. He posts his opinions on a variety of topics, social media and politics in particular, at soupsoup.tumblr.com.