Lost Classics of the Stadium Riot Genre

The tweeting of JohnU alerted me to a blog post over at Mandatory Mustache which details a lost Mets-related punk rock classic from 1985 by a band called The Nightmares. I’m sorry it took me almost a month to discover it (the post debuted on April 14), but I’m glad I did, because it is awesome.

I’ll let the post speak for itself, but the gist is this: The Nightmares, a New York garage-y band, wrote a tune called “Baseball Altamont”, which detailed a riot that occurred in the Shea Stadium stands in 1984. They even had a record release party for the single in the Shea luxury suites, which is pretty friggin rad.

The song namechecks Keith Hernandez and Dr. K, and talks about “sitting up in the sky” in the cheap seats. I found that image particularly evocative, since I spent so much time in those cheap seats, which really did make you feel like you were 10,000 feet in the air. Especially if you sat in the very last section on either the left or right field side, hanging out over nothing. It was both exhilirating and terrifying. Oh, and you couldn’t see the game for nothin’.

I don’t have much info on The Nightmares, other than they were on Coyote, the same outfit that put out Yo La Tengo’s early stuff (fitting that they would share a label with another Met-inspired band). As you might imagine, a Google search yields a million other bands called The Nightmares who are clearly not this one. But the record sleeve shows them posing next to the historical marker in Hoboken where the first organized baseball game was (probably) played. Which is, again, pretty rad.

I also tried to look up some info on the riot in question. Not much luck, except for this remiscence about Opening Day at Shea by Eric Silverstadt, which appeared in The New York Times in 2004:

Twenty years to the day after the first pitch was thrown at Shea, I
returned for the home opener in 1984. Ron Darling was the starter, and again it was a beautiful, sunny afternoon. I slipped away from my job as an NBC page on ”Late Night With David Letterman,” expecting the Doc and Darryl Mets to bring life back to the ballpark. Although the 1984 team won 90 games, what happened that April afternoon could only happen in New York, and perhaps, only at Shea.

The Mets were losing, 10-0, to Pete Rose and the Expos in the seventh inning. Most fans had already bolted. This must have included some members of the New York Police Department because during the seventh-inning stretch, a riot broke out in the left-field bleachers. Tire irons, broken beer bottles, fists flying, bodies tumbling. The culprits? Passive Met and Expo fans? No. Ranger and Islander fanatics, still fighting a week after a brutal playoff series ended with an Islander overtime goal in the fifth and deciding game of the Patrick Division semifinals.

Not sure if this is the event which inspired the tune. Although if it is, ‘hockey Altamont’ doesn’t have quite the same ring.

In any case, give it a whirl and enjoy.