More than a week after the attacks on the World Trade Center shut down professional sports across the country, baseball returns to the Big Apple Friday night. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following story on what fans can expect at Shea Stadium.
There will be security like never before at Shea Stadium Friday when the Mets play their first home game since the World Trade Center attack. The team says fans will be inconvenienced, but it's for their own safety.
According to Mets Senior Vice President Dave Howard, fans should refrain from bringing bags or backpacks into the building. If they do, their bags will be searched.
Howard said there will be security and police officers stations at every gate.
Fans are also urged to take mass transit to Shea, because parking will be limited. No cars will be allowed within 100 feet of the building. There will also be fewer parking spaces and vehicles entering the area will be searched by police.
Friday night's game is the start of a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves, the number one team in the league.
Many fans, hoping to see the Mets make it to the playoffs, aren't afraid to be in a crowded stadium.
"I was down [at the World Trade Center] that morning and it was pure chaos," said one Mets fan who wasn't nervous about coming to Friday's game. "I just want to get back to my normal routine, and that's part of coming to the game."
Since Shea Stadium is in a direct flight path to Laguardia Airport, a plane flies over the stadium every couple of minutes. For Mets management, that's a concern.
"We are making a request that during our games that the traffic be diverted," Howard said, "not so much for a security issue, just to help people be at ease more than anything else. It's just a function of trying to put everyone at ease, and making this an environment where people can enjoy themselves and don't have to worry about some of the distractions."
Before Friday's first pitch, the Mets have scheduled a pre-game program honoring the World Trade Center victims and all of the rescuers.
Mets management, coaches and players have decided to donate their salaries from tomorrow's game to the World Trade Center relief effort. The team says that should come up to about $$450,000, to be added to the Mets owners' pledge of $$1 million.
Major League Baseball and its players' union have already contributed $$10 million to create a disaster relief fund to help victims of the attacks.