web analytics
July 28, 2015 / 12 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Monitor »

Elegy For A Ball Park And A Ball Player



The New York Mets will be getting a new stadium in time for the 2009 baseball season if all goes according to plan. Media coverage of the announcement was rather animated for a couple of days – lots of speculation about what the new park might look like and what it might be called – before it was abruptly cut short by news that the Yankees would be moving into a new stadium of their own, also in 2009.

Once again the Mets had been eclipsed by the Yankees – one more indication, if any were needed, of how far the franchise and its stadium have fallen in the estimation and imagination of the city’s sporting public.

It wasn’t always so, of course. The Mets outdrew the Yankees for 12 straight seasons from 1964, the year Shea opened, through 1975, and for another nine consecutive seasons from 1984 through 1992. (The pendulum of fan support swung to the Yankees in 1976 when a refurbished Yankee Stadium reopened for business and the team won its first pennant in 12 years, and again in 1993 as the Mets, after reigning for nearly a decade as the kings of New York City baseball, went from bad to atrocious and Shea from dingy to decrepit.)

As Mets fans began digesting the idea of a brand new ballpark in Queens, many were surprised to find themselves growing prematurely nostalgic. Suddenly everyone had a favorite memory, a treasured moment, and for a little while, at least, the litany of complaints about battered old Shea was all but forgotten.

In that spirit, the Monitor offers the following small tribute to a stadium that deserved better and a player who not only made an indelible impression but who, as things sadly turned out, also deserved better.

It was a June evening in 1971. Shea Stadium had been open only seven years, and the small orange and blue tiles that at the time covered the ballpark’s exterior gleamed in the spring twilight. Before the game a bunch of yarmulke-wearing pre-teens were clamoring for autographs while several Mets were playing catch, jogging in the outfield or shmoozing among themselves by the dugout.

Tom Seaver, the Mets’ ace and already a pitching legend in the making at age 26, walked by and smirked. Duffy Dyer, a light-hitting backup catcher, completely ignored the young fans’ pleas. Pitcher Ray Sadecki made a sour face. Second baseman Ken Boswell trotted in from the outfield and gave the kids a rather haughty once-over. Also coming in from the outfield, Bob Aspromonte, one in a long line of forgettable Met third-basemen, winked at the group but disappeared into the dugout without signing a single autograph.

And then, just as the dejected youngsters were about to make their way up to the cheap seats, a stubble-jawed player who’d been watching them from the edge of the infield walked over and said, “Hey, wait a sec, guys.”

And so it was that Daniel Vincent Frisella, a spot starter and reliever who was having a fine season but who would never quite fulfill his potential, spent the next ten minutes signing every yearbook, scorecard and baseball thrust in his face, chatting away as if he were an old friend of those awkward yeshiva boys.

The Mets traded Frisella, along with pitcher Gary Gentry, to the Atlanta Braves in November 1972 for second baseman Felix Millan and pitcher George Stone. Even the yeshiva boys who were made to feel special by an apparently very special human being had to admit the trade was one of the best the Mets ever made, as the team won the 1973 National League pennant with both Millan and Stone playing major roles.

On January 1, 1977, Danny Frisella, by then a member of the Milwaukee Brewers, was killed in a dune buggy accident. Outside of Frisella’s immediate family and closest friends, no one took the shocking and untimely loss harder than several 17- and 18-year-old New York-area Orthodox Jews whom Frisella had briefly befriended six years before on a steamy New York night at a Shea Stadium that still seemed so fresh and new.

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at jmaoz@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Elegy For A Ball Park And A Ball Player”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Hamas on the Temple Mount - Jul 3, 2015
Arab Violence on the Temple Mount
Latest Indepth Stories
Hamas on the Temple Mount - Jul 3, 2015

Magnanimity by Moshe Dayan, allowing Muslim control of the Temple Mount, led to today’s situation.

Community-Jewels-logo

It was modeled upon a similar fund that had been set up by Sephardic Jews in Venice. But Amsterdam’s Dotar was initially more ambitious in scope.

Brudner-072415-Rav-Aharon

Rav Aharon Margalit is a bestselling author – his book, As Long As I Live, has been translated into four languages – and a standing-room only lecturer. Both religious and non-religious audiences flock to hear him. What makes him so extraordinary? Rav Margalit is a Chasidic Jew who experienced incredible challenges from a very young […]

J Street president, Jeremy Ben-Ami.

J Street is the vanguard (Jewish face)in support of Obama’s Vienna Accords Nuclear Deal with Iran

“I hold the woman’s place over that of men in every fundamental aspect of public and private life.”

The US-UNRWA accord is another example of this White House, hostile to Israel, disregarding truth.

On the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, Tisha B’av, a reflection on the dangerous deal with Iran

The Kotel gained significance around 1550. Previously, many Jews prayed on the Temple Mount itself.

All Jews MUST stand together to oppose boycotts against Israel. So why does NIF & JCF support BDS?

This year it is hard to concentrate on anything but Iran building nuclear weapons to destroy Israel

Bibi failed the moment he transferred Israel’s Iran problem to the international arena.

I was entranced by Kaddish, a song of sorrow of the whole of Israel for the 1000s of years of exile

Like the Avos, we are invested with the mission to inspire humanity to become nobler and greater

Iran accords are worse than Munich; even Chamberlain would be shocked at what is transpiring again.

An unhappy person cannot become happy by acquiring items. Happiness has to come from somewhere else.

Torah wasn’t given to be kept in Sinai; Brooklyn or Beverly Hills-It was meant to be kept in Israel!

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Assemblymember Bichotte speaking in the New York State Assembly.

The bills I’m proud to have sponsored are less controversial, more responsive to yeshiva and parochial school parents, and were gaining traction in the Assembly until the negative campaign began…

Zechariah Schwarzberg, z”l

Though intimately acquainted with mankind’s darkest side, he never lost his faith&love in God or man

Some of the president’s defenders took to arguing that the overwhelming majority of German military personnel interred in Bitburg were regular Wehrmacht soldiers who died on the battlefield and likely were not involved in atrocities against civilians.

Note also the response to the speech by the top Democrats in the House and Senate, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, both of whom have been outspoken in their criticism of Netanyahu’s upcoming visit.

The New York State comptroller manages the state’s $180.7 billion pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, oversees the New York State and Local Retirement System, reviews the New York State and City budgets, and approves billions in State contracts and spending.

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

When you grow up in a home where your parents went through what my parents went through, you realize that life has to be meaningful. You have to be there for other people.

“It’s a lousy column and a dishonest one,” Halberstam wrote. “So close it. Or you will end up just as shabby as Safire.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/elegy-for-a-ball-park-and-a-ball-player/2005/06/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: