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the cardinals wanna wear my red shoes | metsgrrl.com

the cardinals wanna wear my red shoes

The Cardinals wear red shoes as part of their uniform. I found it striking, and stylish in the extreme. Speaking as the woman who wishes fervently that she could design her own Converse All-Stars in Mets colors, it was something I idly pondered during the early innings of tonight’s game.

I wasn’t going to tonight’s game. As of late last week, I had told TBF to look for someone to give my ticket to. I offered it to the sisters who sit next to us, but their parents were going tonight. I thought about offering it to the father with the gazillion adorable red headed sons of all ages who sit behind us (he has two seats and has to buy extras to accomodate the other offspring). In the end, TBF said, “It’s your ticket, you know,” so I decided I’d hold onto it and maybe I could still go to the game. I could overlook that I have to be in the office at 7 and ready for two mega-presentations to clients tomorrow, and go to the game.

…Which is pretty much what I did once I realized that missing the game wouldn’t really give me any kind of advantage whatsoever.

My god, if I had missed this game!!

The Cardinals fans. TBF and I were in St. Louis two years ago to see Pearl Jam on the Vote For Change tour, and our hotel overlooked the old stadium. I woke up in the morning, looked out the window and saw the streets flooded with red dots. I have not seen that many opposing team fans represent at Shea (Yankees excluded) since the last time the Phillies were in town. Despite sharing the same anchor color, Cardinals fans are not nearly as loud and obnoxious as Phillies fans, in case you were wondering.

Pujols. Um, ’nuff said.

The crowd. Shea wasn’t rocking so much as charged. TBF said there was a little playoff flavor in the air. I’ve got nothing to compare it to, but it definitely had the kind of electricity I’d imagine would be present in that situation.

5th inning. Delgado at the plate. The hot dog guy is blocking the view at the tunnel entrance and you can’t blame him but you want to see and just when you can’t crick your head to the right any more he backs up and puts down the hot dog bin, supervisors be damned, we’re all on the edge of our seats and — BOOOOM!
“El Grande Kaboom-o,” TBF grins. (It’s a Crane Pool Forum thing.)
Remember I was talking about electricity? This was the real thing, goosebumps up and down my arms, clapping so hard my fingers swelled up, waiting for Delgado to come up and take a curtain call. 400!!

To our left tonight are two elderly curmudgeons who bear more than a passing resemblance to the usual owner of that seat. TBF was there earlier than I, and had struck up a rapport with them. They start to remind me of Statler and Waldorf, those two guys on The Muppet Show who sat up in the balcony and kibitzed the entire show. And in case you’re wondering, I’d put TBF in that category too, sometimes. He loves sitting next to old-school baseball guys. I overhear him earnestly discussing how the Molina brothers were the first set of three brothers in baseball since the Alou brothers, and decide I am better off discussing the morons doing the wave in the upper deck with the people next to me. I clearly am overmatched.

Ronnie Belliard has the worst “I am a BAD MF” hat tilt in his official photo since Hanley Ramirez. It makes me crazy since it just looks STUPID, not bad. And yes, I know Mike Cameron does the same thing. The difference is that Mike Cameron *is* a bad mf so he can rock that look without looking like a moron.

The return of Mr. Looper. What’s the opposite of a standing ovation? Or rather, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen people deliberately stand up to BOO someone with quite the frequency and intensity that he got tonight.

And then – and then – the 9th inning.

One out.
Lo Duca gets to first.
I’m watching the clock, calculating that maybe I can get home at a reasonable hour, maybe it’s going to be okay, maybe we can tie this one up, even with extra innings I’ll be okay, TBF ran home after work to get the car so we aren’t stuck in G train hell. Beltran to the plate. He stands, touches the base with the bat. I can barely remember it now and I need to go set the DVR because dear deity in heaven, I need to see it again.

And then it launches, and people are on their feet, except I have learned enough to not do that automatically any more, but people are on their feet with feeling, and I can’t find the ball, and then I see it at the same moment I rise to my feet, and I stop looking because I want to see what’s going on in the dugout, except the dugout is empty and every one is standing around first base, angled up the third base line, I’ve seen this happen on tv with other teams at other games and love that our love and our intensity and our passion is paralleled at that moment through the players.

And Beltran crosses home plate and bounces – yes, Beltran BOUNCED – into the joyous waiting huddle which immediately engulfed him in raucous celebration. “Taking Care of Business” plays, everyone is high-fiving everyone they possibly can, no one is running out just yet, wanting to watch the celebration on the field, wanting the moment to last just a little longer. I am beaming. TBF is glowing. The scoreboard reads:

BUY ONE CARLOS, GET ONE FREE.

We head out onto the concourse which is swarming and excited and people cheering and clapping and shouting, cries of “M-V-P” and the inevitable “YANKEES SUCK”. Every third person you walk by is on their cell phone, saying, “DID YOU SEE THE GAME? WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DIDN’T SEE THE GAME?! IT WAS AWESOME!” and all over the New York Metropolitan area baseball fans are cursing the fact that the kids or the girlfriend or the husband or the mother or the boss prevented them from going to the game or watching it tonight, fists banged on tables or steering wheels or desks, as they run to ESPN or SNY to try to catch some of the magic that clearly happened tonight at Shea.

“Is this what the playoffs feel like?” I asked, as we walked back to the car.
“Times 1.5,” TBF said.

We got home in about 15 minutes, hitting every light. Clean out the car, open the door, open the mailbox. Bill. Magazine. Bill. And–

Two envelopes with Mets logos.

“POST-SEASON INVOICES!” we both cry at the same time, balancing shoes and bottles of water right there in the vestibule, as we rip them open and examine them with glee.

They’re already paid.

See you in October.

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