May 29, 2008
Happy Birthday Rick! The hubs turned the big 5-0 today! He was never much on birthdays until he met me, but now has changed. I believe that ones birthday is the only day of the year that you dont have to share the celebration, unless theres someone else with the same day (like I have/had) or December 25th, which just plain sucks in my book! One of my oldest and best friends shared my birthday. She passed away last year. We only celebrated together once when we were kids. We both decided we wanted our own celebrations separately. How appropriately juvenile and immature! We did celebrate our 40th together though! Well, OK she showed up at my party and I shared it with her!
Anyway, Rick got up late and I fixed him a big breakfast. The pic is his first breakfast as a 50 year old! (He’s not thrilled I used this pic … he he he)
I had to listen to him whining all day about how old he is now, and that he can no longer fudge the 40-something line anymore. Oh for Gods sake puh-leeeeze! I told him he has a week to get it all out of his system! I got disappointing news stating my bday message at Shea wouldnt be displayed due to the volume received for the game. Damn it! Good thing I had other presents for him.
After breakfast we spent some time trying to decipher the LI railroad schedules to Shea. I finally had to call to get instructions. The train could take us from Riverhead, but there was no train coming back out this far at night. Wed have to go to Ronkokama to make the round trip, which is 50 miles away. After reading about the “sea of parking lots” available, we decided to brave the drive. It was actually easier than we thought, just a straight shot down the LIE (LI Expressway.) We headed out early to make sure we got there on time.
We got there 1 hour early! There was hardly any traffic and we rode in the diamond lane the whole way.
On the way to the stadium we got a call from Lisa from the Late Show, inviting us to come to the taping on Monday. Yea! We were bummed because we never heard back from the email Rick sent two months ago, so we are so jazzed now! He had to answer a trivia question about Alan Kolter, and since were Letterman groupies, it was a no brainer! Rick could have flown the rest of the way to Shea! He was on Cloud 9 the rest of the night! Make sure to watch on Monday, and can someone tape it for us, please? We should be back in time to watch it, but just in case. (Thank you, in advance!)
Since we could see the stadium from the freeway, it was hard to get lost, even for us! We parked and couldnt find any discernable front entrance, so we asked a harried young man who claimed there wasnt one. Though we found that odd, we didnt question it, and took a pic in front of a gate that at least had the name Mets on a sign there.
It wasnt until after the game, and more hunting, that we found the big sign on the outside of the place. Its still not the front entrance, but its better than what we thought!
Shea Stadium is a dump and its age shows quite clearly in every inch of the park.
Its all metal and piping, and looks like a construction site still in progress, just like the new stadium going up next door.
The book stated this very clearly, so we were ready for it. To the stadiums benefit, they did have signs clearly advising where the food was, so I didnt have to walk all over the place only to find I had gone the wrong way (the directionally-challenged thing is not just a street/highway phenomenon!) New Yorkers seem to have the right priority at a game!
We got a dog, some fries, a drink and headed to our seats. It was cool walking into the stands and surveying the great Shea Stadium in person. I kept thinking about all the greats who had set foot on the same turf; about all the history making plays that had been made here and the fans that have been coming here since they could remember. This is a place that holds so much of the sports history of New York in its collective memory that its hard to believe theyre tearing it down. I have been informed by my husband that the new place is reminiscent of Ebbetts Field (for the baseball-challenged, thats the field before this one where the Brooklyn Dodgers played. I had to be schooled too!)
The seats were the old fashioned kind, hard and unforgiving. I see why seat cushions were/are such a big seller!
They have a big apple in center field that literally rises to the occasion of a Mets home run and lights up (the pic features the apple and a sign for a special surgery hospital. What the hell is that?)
They also have a depiction of the NY skyline at the top of the scoreboard. There is a pink ribbon covering the Twin Towers.
This particular night was free popcorn night! Yea! Its my favorite snack. And since Ricks guts cant handle it, I got his free bag too! Hey, it was kettle corn! You try eating just one little bag! It was also Happy 60th Birthday Israel night, so we were treated to some Israeli dancing, a dedication and plaque ceremony featuring the Consul General for Israel, and a couple of tunes by Israels answer to Neil Diamond.
I felt bad for the guy because no one was listening to him, as evidenced by the love shown by the grounds crew, and he was singing his little heart out. It was also before the game and hardly anyone was in their seats yet either. We did catch him later walking around the stadium. I think he was looking for recognition. You know those celebrity types! And let me tell you, the stadium might be crappy, but the dogs were excellent! We have a new #1! Sorry Diamonddogs. We even went back for seconds! They taste like the ones we sell at Rickyanns, and I think ours are some of the best, if I do say so myself. They use Nathans dogs, warm, soft buns and theyre steamed. I wasnt crazy about the brown mustard as the only choice, but it didnt matter. And they have the old time portable hot dog vending carriers that keep the dog hot in water and the buns warm on the other side. Good job Shea Stadium! Good job! We both got a kick out of the vendors as they hawked their wares with the strong accent one expects to hear on the east coast. This was our first true old time baseball experience. You cant manufacture this in a newer park. It just doesnt have the same feel. The fans are great, and lived up to the New Yawk stereotype, very vocal and totally unforgiving. Theyd be cheering a player in one inning and calling for his walking papers the next! I loved it! Such passion. That is why the reference is short for fanatic after all. We were in prime foul ball territory and had several come our way. The guy two rows in front of us palmed one that screamed towards us. It almost hit the Israeli crooner as he walked by. He was quite startled! Now that was funny!
As it got darker, the skyline above the scoreboard lit up with the Trade Center purposely left dark under the ribbon. It was a sobering jerk back into reality.
The game was almost a runaway by the 4th inning, but the Dodgers got some life in the 5th and made it interesting again. The Mets held on, and we got to see the Big Apple rise and shine twice while we were there.
We left after the 7th inning sing-a-long since we had a 2 hour drive to do. We grabbed our souvenirs and headed out. Construction along the way turned it into a 3 hour drive, so we were glad we left early. We didnt get back until midnight. What a great day! And Rick got his presents when we got back, so his bday was prolonged even longer (get your minds out of the gutter people, I got him a digital baseball photo frame and a cool t-shirt!)
posted Sunday June 2008