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TROLLEY DODGING. [6-1-08] | metsgrrl.com


IMAGE_141.jpg I was originally supposed to attend this game with Coop – who decided earlier in the week that schlepping back to Jersey after an 8pm ESPN Sunday night game was a little more than she could deal with. TBF, however, announced that we were going – later of course amending that to, “Well, if the Mets are going for a sweep *I* am going to go, and would very much like it if you would join me.”

“Upper Box 22, row 1. $8” he yelled at me Saturday night.
“The upper boxes have no legroom in the front row and that’s too far out.”
“Mezzanine Section 2 Row B, $15.”
“There are these field boxes on eBay that have no bids.”
“Fine, let’s wait them out.”

Of course, now that the Mets were actually winning games, nothing on the secondary market was staying not-bid-on for very long, and by 10pm TBF was scowling because Buy It Nows were no longer valid and ignored pairs of tickets were now up to $58. It was late, and I was tired, and had had a lot of baseball, and wasn’t that sure I wanted to drag myself back out to Shea to sit in crappy seats.

So I started poking around, and found two seats behind home plate for $136 each. I wasn’t really going to buy them, but Miriam from Section 12 had sat on the field level Thursday night – something she wanted to do once before Shea was no longer – and that had planted a seed. I have sat on the loge and in the loge boxes and TBF had been on the field level, but not in front of the main aisle – but we had never gotten anything really, really good at Shea. But there was nothing out there, so I was willing to leave it as: We tried to play the system and we didn’t win. I can live with this, was my attitude.

However, I forgot that I was dealing with TBF. When I woke up the next morning, he had been up for several hours already, and before I had even gotten coffee into my system, presented me with several options, both of which had the same result: field box seats behind the dugout for half price. I know this doesn’t seem reasonable, or logical, but keep in mind that this was an afternoon game that got moved to 8pm and frankly, it sucks getting home from Shea late on a Sunday night.

So of course, we had to buy them.

So once, before I was MetsGrrl, I bought TBF loge box seats as a way of saying, “I’m sorry for being a crappy girlfriend.” We were playing the Nationals but it didn’t matter, we were right at the first base line and TBF was over the moon. We have had great seats in Pittsburgh and in Seattle and in Philadelphia and I had amazing seats with Coop in Milwaukee. But the only time we came close to being on the field level at Shea for an extended length of time was after we clinched the division in 06, and that almost doesn’t count. (Well, it does, but in a different way.)

When I walked out of the bedroom, dressed and ready for the game, TBF glanced up at my #30 jersey and said, “Uncle Cliffie, huh?”
“Some good mojo, that.”
“He’d like to be there tonight.”
“He would be happy to be part of a winning team.”

Walking onto the field level at 6pm, in the middle of batting practice, sitting down in our seats, waving the ushers away – these are OUR seats – and realizing that I could take photographs from my seats was like Cinderella and the pumpkin turning into a royal coach. It is another world down there. Yes, the legroom sucks, and the padding on the seat just made my butt wet, but the cupholders, and – dare I say it – the wait service – were nice touches.


And the view! Right there! I don’t need binoculars. Close enough to reach out and touch. Close enough to see it almost as well as watching it on tv. Shea was full, the lights were on, the sun setting and the glow bouncing off of Citi Field. I am focusing my lens on third base and can read the “I Live For This” logo on the side. I am going to be able to take 30 million beautiful photos of Johan Santana pitching right from my seat. The mezzanine seems so – far away, even though it doesn’t seem that high up when we are up there.

I sat back in my seat and beamed. It was absolutely magic.

And when the game started, it was only more so. Everything is just right there, clear and crisp and under the lights it just doesn’t seem real, it feels like being in a movie. And I guess it is fine to be all jaded and gruff and you’ve sat in the American Express seats and even my fucking SISTER has sat in her corporate box at Fenway for Matsuzaka’s first start (trust me there have been words on that) but if you don’t do it all the time it is wonderful and special and you feel like you are somewhere else, like it is not real. You feel like you are in the middle of it on the field level.

I’ve said it before, but Santana’s pitching is poetry in motion, it is elegant and grand and imposing in every movement and moment, leaning in, winding up, delivering. I love photographing it because it allows me to focus on the movement and disregard anything else.




And the game: it felt different, it felt electric, it felt like people were paying attention and playing to win. When Luis Castillo has a web-gem worthy assist, you know it’s a great night. The home runs traveled farther, the players ran harder. Taking photographs at that angle was a joy. The only thing that was missing was the camaraderie I am accustomed to on the Mezzanine level, the neighborliness of it. It didn’t seem like anyone sitting in the seats around us normally sat in those seats, and that seemed like a shame.




Reyes stealing.
Johan at bat.
Church hitting a home run.
Beltran hitting a home run, and me losing track of it, insisting it hit off the top of the scoreboard where it says NATIONAL LEAGUE. Maybe I just wanted it to hit there. It doesn’t matter.
Watching the dugout celebrations mere feet away.
Facial expressions in detail.
That double play, which I could not even start to photograph, caught up as I was in the emotion and the action and the crowd leaping to its feet and throwing its hands into the air.
The return of Ryan Church.


And, of course, the other benefit.

Luis Castillo approaches the plate.
“HEY, LUIS! DON’T BUNT! NO, SERIOUSLY, DO NOT BUNT!” TBF sounds like he has a megaphone, but no, that’s just his outside voice.
“I’m sorry,” I say to the guys across the aisle. “He’s been yelling that all week.”
“But he couldn’t hear me before,” TBF insists.
“Just don’t start talking about Kenny Lofton,” I mumble. (TBF became convinced late this week that Kenny Lofton was the answer to our current outfield woes, and it had been an almost-hourly topic of conversation since Friday evening.)
“Wait for it. No one who mattered could hear me before.”

We caught a t-shirt; Mr. Met did not come to our dugout for the 7th inning stretch; and no foul balls came anywhere near us. We availed ourselves of one food item from the menu, because how could we not? And I do not believe we got on television, but plenty of people around us did – just like the Kiss Cam.

< warning: chick stuff ahead >

TBF hates the kiss cam, and I, in a rare spurt of girlishness, like it – although I would be happier if we didn’t have all the between-innings entertainment, the Kiss Cam is funny. My refrain is no longer “but i want to be on the smooch-cam” because I realize they are not going up to the mezzanine. However, tonight should have been our night. Was there a cuter couple in the field boxes? Was there a more Mets-themed-and-attired couple available? Noooooooo. But did we get on the smooch cam? NOOOOOOOO.

At least the dumb girls wearing designer sunglasses to keep their hair back – at 10pm – didn’t get on screen.

(Not that I noticed, anyway.)

< /chick >

9th inning, and TBF says, “We should stick around a little bit, to get the onfield celebration, and there will probably be a nice graphic,” and we are standing on our feet and cheering into the stars, and the last out and the place explodes. SANTANA 100 flashes on the screens, and the players come out onto the field, Ramon Castro body-slamming anyone who will let him. The Mets are now off to the West Coast, where they are not facing great teams, and hopefully the feeling from this week and this series will carry them where they need to go, just like it carried us home through the Brooklyn midnight, not much caring about how early we had to get up the next day.




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