The mood was almost festive as the organist played "Jingle Bells" and the 18,000 fans in Shea Stadium for the Mets-Chicago Cubs game applauded and sang during the blackout in New York City Wednesday night.
"We were in the sixth inning with the Cubs leading, 2-1, when the lights went out about 9-31." Arthur Richman, the Met's public relations director, said yesterday. "We immediately turned on the emergency generator and the organist kept playing.
"Don Grant (the Met's board chairman) got on the public address and explained that the failure was not strictly here.
"He told them they were probably as safe as they could be here and that it was probably the coolest place in the city. It must have been around 90 (degrees)," he added.
"Fortunately, our ballplayers had the presence of mind to get their cars and put on their lights for the people. We let them (the players' cars) in the center-field gate and they put their lights on the stands where the people were sitting." Richman said.
The game was suspended when the power failure occurred, but the umpires didn't call it until around 11 p.m. In between, Richman said, about half the people drifted calmly away.
No one was stranded in the stadium, which did not get its electricity back until 11 a.m. yesterday.
The Mets were to finish the game with the Cubs yesterday afternoon - New York's Lenny Randle was coming to bat when the lights went out - and then proceed with the regularly scheduled night game. But, because of the state of emergency, the games were postponed and will be played in September.