Meet the Mets (Part 3 of 3)

There was some discussion as to what our next move should be. Do we go eat? Do we we go visit one of the 3 “clubs” that our tickets gave us access to? We opted to go find our seats, and then grab a snack. We would eat dinner later.

Our seats were on the 3rd base side, far back in the section on the field. Here’s the view:

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And I was going to say that the seats were awesome, but the truth is…Citi Field is awesome. Which leads me to…

Official NuckolBall review of Citi Field

Citi Field is quite simply the perfect ballpark. The food is terrific and it’s fun to wander around seeing what they have. It’s creative, interesting, and local. The views are tremendous – you can see the whole field from your seat. It’s designed for people who want to watch baseball. It’s easy to get around. It feels grand and gigantic, but without making you feel small. It makes you feel like you’re part of something big. It even has a giant 15-foot apple that rises out of centerfield when the Mets hit a home run.

So as I sat there, I had to wonder…why did it not feel amazing? What was wrong with this park? What’s missing?

Then is struck me: the Mets suck. And they don’t just suck in a lovable loser sort of way; they’re just insipid and uninteresting – and have been since they started playing in Citi Field 5 years ago. There is no reason to be excited about this team.

So you’re left sitting in a world-class museum filled with lame artwork. You’re at a beautiful theater watching a play without any drama. This stadium holds no stories. Yet.

We headed out to get a snack. I got a beer, and the boys wanted popcorn. A tub of popcorn was $6.75 – but a bottomless tub was $10! Goldmine! I’d hit the jackpot. The popcorn stand was right at the top of our section, so the boys could go there and get refills on their own. I saw myself saving a fortune. Let them stuff themselves on the bottomless popcorn and skip dinner. Sheer brilliance! Or so I thought. Here’s a shot of us in our popcorn-induced glory:

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We got to our seats and scarfed down the first tub. It was mushy and greasy with yellow butter and salted like mad. Alex ran to get the second tub, and when he returned Jack announced:

“I’m not having any more. I want to save room for dinner.”

“What!?” I screamed. “You eat that popcorn, dammit!”

But he would not. And actually, I started slowing down too. I was feeling a little queasy. Only Alex was able to keep shoveling it in.

The game was a good one. Solid pitching. Plenty of routine plays that were executed perfectly. It really came down to the Dodgers hitting 3 solo home runs. It looked bad for the Mets.

In the 5th we went and grabbed burgers and the boys each got big sodas. Actually, I got the smallest ones I could find, but still they were humongous. Alex put his megacup in the drink holder so he could lean down and suck hard from the straw.

In between soda and popcorn stuffing, Alex took shot after shot. He was using the telephoto lens to get the pitcher and batter in action.

“I’m getting good at this,” he said. “Look…he’s on one leg.”

I tried to push off desert; the boys hadn’t even finished their soda. But the boys were having none of it. Two ice creams later we were back in the stands.

In the 6th inning, the Mets got a man on and then Eric Campbell smashed a home run to left center. Up went the apple and we all sprang to our feet cheering like crazy. Mets were only down by 1 run. It was a game.

In the 8th inning the Dodgers got 2 men on with 2 outs, and who came out of the bullpen but Scott Rice! We went nuts for him, and he managed to strike out Adrian Gonzalez to end the inning. It was terrific.

Dodgers scored in the 9th, and then in the bottom of the inning, David Wright came up with a man on and 2 outs. He could tie it up with a homer – but instead he struck out to end the game.

A Sappy Ending and A Sloppy Ending

The Sappy Ending

I did not know this, but at the end of every game at Citi Field, they play Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind”…

Jack was born in Lennox Hill hospital on the Upper East Side of New York City. While Shani was in labor, they came in to give her the epidural and they insisted I leave. They told me I had to go and get some food. Apparently, dads often faint during the epidural.

So I went to a deli on the corner. As soon as a walked in, “New York State of Mind” came on over the speakers. I ordered a turkey sandwich on an everything bagel. And I stood there in that deli thinking: “Everyone in here is just going about their business like everything is normal, and they have no idea that the biggest thing in the world is happening to me. I’m about to be a father.”

The song played in its entirety. As I paid for my food and left, the song ended. The timing was exact. And to this day, hearing that song takes me to that moment in that deli. That silent moment where I got a break to take in what was happening.

It’s a special song to me. So I really liked hearing it at the end of such an amazing baseball experience.

The Sloppy Ending

As usual, I executed a perfect exit. Out the VIP parking exit, onto the highway, over the Triborough, over the GW…and out. Smooth sailing on the Turnpike. Until I heard from the back seat…

“I don’t feel good.”

Actually, I heard:

“I DON’T FEEL GOOD!”

There was emergency in his voice. The thick layer of popcorn, plus the slurpy giant soda, plus the ice cream had come back around on Alex. Mercifully I was passing a rest stop at that moment. I shot in. We got some water and sat outside in the cool air. Alex thought he might try using the bathroom, but a few steps inside he cried out:

“I think I might throw up.”

I took him to a garbage can nearby. He leaned over and…

I would estimate a solid gallon of liquid came out of the boy. It was Pepsi-colored, but with grainy bits that I assumed was popcorn. It came out in a second, and it came out in complete silence.

“I feel better now,” he chirped.

So we got home even later than I thought. But it was another terrific NuckoBall adventure. Here’s a few more photos:

“I wanted to get Jack with this sign. I like this.”

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“That’s the one! I got it with the ball in the air.”

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“He’s flexible.”

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“Here comes the apple.”

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“He’s on one leg. He’s in gym class.”

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“You and Jack at the end of the game.”

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“Us in the parking lot.” [Dad note: Alex is still sucking down soda.]

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2 thoughts on “Meet the Mets (Part 3 of 3)

  1. Kevin Walker

    Mike,

    You are lousy with the balanced & nutritious meals thing, but you are an excellent dad! Your boys will remember so many of these nights you’ve written about for rest of their lives. The time you’ve devoted to them is Godly work, my man. I couldn’t be happier for you and hope you’ll continue writing. All the best from the center of Texas, home of the Disastros and the Nolan Ryan-less, injury-cursed Rangers.
    Kevin

    1. For the record, they usually eat pretty healthy- but that’s mostly shani’s doing. Thanks for the compliment, old friend, and it’s nice to hear there are some rangers fans. No manager is half as entertaining as Ron Washington.

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