Mike Tirico bids fond farewell to big ballpark in Queens
ESPN's Mike Tirico planned to take his entire family to Shea Stadium Tuesday night for his final visit to the ballpark of a youth spent in Whitestone, Queens. Tirico lives in Michigan, and his children had never been to Shea before.
(By the way, the lead NFL play-by-play voices for ESPN, NBC, CBS and the NFL Network all grew up in the New York area. Joe Buck didn't.)
How many Mets games would Tirico attend each year?
"Oh, my gosh, we'd go to about 20 a summer. When I was in eighth, ninth, 10th grade, my buddies and I would go to Main Street (Flushing) and go the one stop to Shea in the early '80s. They were awful, oh my God, they were unwatchable.
"My later grandfather, Tony Fiordalisi, was one of the security force at Shea as a second job. He worked the Mets dugout for many years and then worked the visiting clubhouse. As my grandfather was getting older, Mr. Doubleday and Mr. Wilpon, when they were in the owners' seats off the dugout, they made sure my grandfather had a job inside so we wouldn't have to sit outside in his 60s during rain delays and stuff like that.
"I met people like Jim Leyland and some others through going to the game and waiting for my grandfather and going home with him."
Knowing he would be in town for Monday night's Browns-Giants game, Tirico took his family to Yankee Stadium Friday, but his "little Shea goodbye'' Tuesday meant more.