Dream moment at Shea

Every baseball fan harbors the dream of setting foot on the “hallowed ground” of their team’s home field, but the thought of having to perform solo in front of 40,000 enthusiasts would be nightmare for most.
That’s exactly what happened to “die-hard Met fan” and choir member at the Allen Cathedral in Jamaica, Troy Ellis of Amityville, Long Island on a steamy Thursday evening, June 26.
Back on April 4, while the New York Mets were in St. Louis, preparing to blast 10 runs against the Cardinals, 28 finalists in the Mets’ 2007 Anthem Audition contest took their turn belting out the “Star Spangled Banner,” hoping to be one of five winners.
The audition was supposed to take place on the field, but the cold, driving rain forced it to an open area under the stands, denying the nearly two-dozen who were turned away their chance to live out the fans’ dream, before Shea Stadium passes into history.
Ellis, 38 had done so well in conditions which overwhelmed several of the finalists that he was picked almost immediately and didn’t have to hear the dreaded words “Thanks for coming; we’ll let you know.”
However, that meant that his first experience singing the notoriously difficult National Anthem while facing the grandstands with the lights in his face, would be when they were full and the teams were in the dugouts - his beloved Mets, with a return engagement against the defending world champion St. Louis Cardinals.
For good measure, Ellis’ wife Valitea, 4-year-old son Brandon, mom Andrea and two aunts were seated in the loge section behind home plate.
So, what was it like?
“It was crazy - it was cool,” Ellis said, grinning as he settled into his seat after a stellar performance. “Between the nerves and desire, it was quite a rush.” He confesses that he remembers little of it, except as he was leaving he turned to the dugout and, “Willie Randolph mouthed the words ‘good job’ and that was great.”
Pastor of the Allen AME Church and former member of Congress, Reverend Floyd Flake, sang Ellis’ praises when informed. “He’s very gifted and talented, a fine young man,” Flake said. “I hope this leads to other opportunities.”
Ellis got autographs from manager Randolph and several players, but not from his favorite, Jose Reyes, who was doing a pre-game TV interview at the time. “I’m a little disappointed, but after this experience, I can’t complain,” he said, with amazing grace.

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