A rainy road trip to Citi Field

I bought the four tickets to see our New York Mets play the Cincinnati Reds online two months ago, so my dear wife Karen, my great friend and bowling teammate Steve Vicik Jr. and his wife Kristen were sort of excited when our Saturday in June finally rolled around.

Rain in the forecast for the 4 p.m. start time in Flushing, Queens.

We had been following it since Friday, and texting back and forth.

At 7 a.m. Saturday we saw the 50 percent chance of shower had fallen to 40 percent, with an hour-window decrease to 30 percent actually, before a rise back up and then the dreaded thunderstorms word appearing at 7 p.m.

But Matt Harvey, the Dark Knight will be pitching for our Mets, perhaps the coolest one of all our great young throwers. Certainly, with a big fastball and great nickname and greater determination in this season coming back from Tommy John surgery to his pitching arm, a must-see.

Pick you guys up at 9:30 a.m. sharp, look for my Chevy Cruze, my old-school Garmin is loaded with the directions to Shea Stadium. Hell, they build Citi Field in my beloved Shea’s parking lot. My 10-year-old virtual map routes will be close enough, right?

Yes, it rained down 81 and across 380 and 80 and the GW and RFK bridges, but my bossy GPS lady got us to the parking lot two hours before game time. With a minimum amount of stress and confusion on my part, I must say. (Oh, that will come on the trip back. Hello, Westside Highway and Midtown Manhattan!)

How's this for convenience?

How’s this for convenience?

The prepaid parking coupon I clicked for $22 got us waved up quite close to the stadium. And it wasn’t raining. Sweet.

We wandered around the Mets Museum and Store, and I took many pictures.

Tribute to Jackie Robinson.

Tribute to Jackie Robinson.

The Mets folks do it right. At some spots — the No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson, the Brooklyn Dodger who broke the Major League color barrier, for instance — they station a friendly employee who asks if you’d like to hand over your iPhone 6 to have your photo taken. Yes, please. Now can you please turn it sideways for landscape?

In fact, we packed so much into our five hours at Citi Field, that I have enough for a week’s worth of photos and stories.

Friends, rain, cool stadium, rain, planes. Life down there is something.

Good to see the championship banners.

Good to see the championship banners.

I wanted to see where our seats were, first row in the promenade. That’s a fancy word for what we used to call the upper deck back in the day. But the bottom level of the upper deck, because from the concourse, we walked down steps to get to our seats, down the right-field line. Other folks had to walk up a flight to get to theirs.

I quick-stepped to the right to grab a shot of my Mets’ two World Series championship banners flying proudly, from 1969 and 1986. Bring us our third, fellas!

Players on the field!

Players on the field!

The view was stunning. I never get over the jolt I feel from my initial sight of the green, green grass against the dark brown infield dirt.

Yes, it raining a bit. But the tarp was off. I could tell by the pre-game activity that this baby would start on time. Kristen picked us all up yellow rain ponchos where she works. We pulled them on.

Now we concentrate on baseball.

The Dark Knight in command.

The Dark Knight in command.

Harvey was hot in the top of the first, Reds down one-two-three.

He lost a bit of his command each inning thereafter, as it rained harder. But the man has guts. That and good defense kept the Reds off the board through the first four innings.

Bat man Curtis Granderson.

Bat man Curtis Granderson.

And complementing the Dark Knight was the bat of Curtis Granderson, the only hot Met at the plate of late. Our left fielder not only made a gem of a catch in the top of the first, but he smoked a double. And the next time up, he homered, his team-leading 13th of the season, to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

We cheered, and hoped it would be enough. In rain games, 4 1/2 innings is official if the home team is leading.

The big picture.

The big picture.

Alas, it was not to be. The Reds scored one off of Harvey in the top of the fifth to square it 1-1.

Karen and I sighed, a couple of wet Mets fans, and decided to take a walk to stretch our legs and check out other vantage points perhaps under ledges for a bit.

With a TV for replays.

With a TV for replays.

Raining, still.

Raining, still.

We got back to our seats and the Mets had a rally going, loading the bases. But we couldn’t get the winning run home in the bottom of the sixth, and the umpires had felt enough of the constant rain. They called the grounds crew out to cover the infield with the tarp.

No play.

No play.

My dear wife Karen and I climbed those stairs and found seats under that overhang. Steve and Kristen said they were taking a walk. Many fans left. We watched years worth of Mets Yearbook on the big center-field video screen, a monster with high-definition quality worthy of any living room.

We waited more than a half-hour. Our friends trudged up the stairs. The rain continued. We made it to our car conveniently near the stadium by 7 p.m.

Bossy Garmin and I were confused trying to find the RFK Bridge. We were in Midtown Manhattan traffic when Steve got the news on his phone that the game had officially been suspended. Karen took over driving in Pennsylvania, and pulled us into our driveway around 12:40 a.m. We’ll turn on the TV at 1 this afternoon to watch our game resume in the top of seventh. Weather permitting.

At 8:47 p.m. yesterday, I noticed this morning, I had received this email alert from Mets.com that included this nice note:

“As a thank you to fans attending today’s game, the Mets are inviting ticket holders to exchange their tickets marked “Saturday, June 27 – Game 39″ for a ticket – in alternate locations, subject to availability – to tomorrow’s games and postgame concert only.”

We are not thinking of driving back, but thank you very much, Mets.

Tomorrow: Good friends

Tuesday: Mets Museum

How long have you sat out in the rain for a sporting event? Have you ever been lost but not lost following your GPS? What’s your favorite picture and why?


64 thoughts on “A rainy road trip to Citi Field

  1. My favorite photo is the 42 one. I love the Robinson tributes, and I love how happy the two of you look in that photo! I have been rained out of a sporting event. Brad and I went to the Husker spring game a few years ago (2013 I believe) for his birthday. The tickets were cheap but the nice hotel right by the stadium and the weekend in general had cost me a small fortune. It started to pour. It was raining cats and dogs but we walked to the stadium anyway. When we got there Brad wiped some mascara off of my neck. He didn’t bother to tell me that it had gone down on both sides and left black trails from my eyes all the way down to my chest. Not a good look. We stood there in the pouring rain for an hour and watched the water rush down the staircases. They eventually called the game before it started due to lightening but they gave us tickets to a baseball game to make up for it. That was a super long comment, I might have to write that story up with the rest of it… See, here you are giving me ideas again!


    • Thanks for the nice photo comment, Hollie. Damn right I was happy, getting us to the stadium after driving for five hours and through several boroughs of New York City. Out of the car! Seriously, yes, to be standing in front of the 42 meant something. Did you see the movie? Watch it with Owen on cable if you haven’t already. I think he’s old enough for all of its messages.

      Brad should have given you his handkerchief or something. I would have wiped your running mascara off. What was wrong with that guy?

      Yes, I do like to give you ideas, always. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, that’s one thing I can say I’ve never seen, a suspended game. I have been to four complete washouts… oddly enough, each at a different ballpark…

    6/13/97 – Old Busch – This was supposed to be the very first interleague game in Cards history. Instead, I had to return the next day for the nightcap of the first ever day/night doubleheader in Cards history.

    5/23/02 – Kauffman – Made it into the parking lot and heard the postponement announcement on the radio before I could even get out to buy tickets. 270 miles back home I went…

    5/11/06 – US Cellular – Never even made it to the stadium this time. I was lucky the game at Wrigley the next day didn’t get called as well so it wasn’t a complete wasted trip to Chi-town (I did return in August to see the White Sox makeup)

    9/17/06 – New Busch – Got to see the Cards “retire” #42 for Bruce Sutter in a rainy ceremony, and they made it as far as announcing the starting lineups before the tarp went on and never came back off. This game was not made up… though it nearly had to be after the season when St. Louis came within a final day Houston loss of choking away a 7 game lead with 10 to play. They still somehow won the Series anyway…

    It should tell you something about me that I can quote the games and dates without having to look them up!


  3. I’ve been a Mets fan since 1962. I’ve been to the Polo Grounds and Shea but I have not yet been to Citi Field, so I love the photos you took. Too bad you didn’t get to see the Steve Miller Band after the game.


    • You are one up on me with the Polo Grounds experience, Mike. Way to go. I must say, with the long drive back to Syracuse awaiting, I do not know how badly I wanted to see the Steve Miller Band after a Mets game. I’ve seen them before …


  4. I like the 42 photo with you and Karen. You both seem so happy and excited. Sorry about your game getting rained out. I would have gladly taken that rain off your hands if I could. Our GPS is named Chickee – I think I have told you this before, but she has an English accent and she sure gets snitty fast. My son has his GPS set with an Australian accent, she seems much more laid back.


  5. That is so cool Mark – that you got to go to a game. Even if it was rained out it is still amazing. When i trucked down that way, I had a girl friend – Grace- who worked as a free lance sports producer. Whenever here was a pro sports team in Boston and the game was blacked out – quite often, sellouts were rare -she would get a call from the opposing team’s management to put together a production team and they would send a production truck and director to meet them at the game. That way they could televise it in the hometown of the visitors. The first time she asked me to go with her to see what she did for a living it was a New England patriots game against Kansas Chiefs. Yikes! Big job.We arrived about 2 hours early and met with the director and the production truck crew. They were responsible for cabling the arena – which meant plugging the truck into a prewired distribution panel and then setting out all the cameras and sound feed from the matching boxes inside the stadium.Grace’s crew of camera operators and crew arrived and she made sure they all had the plan the director wanted to follow. There were two rail mounted cameras on the sidelines and three roving cameras that moved at will around the stadium. Plus there were extra feeds for visiting TV reporters.

    I should do a post about that night someday. Anyway, it started to rain and the crew was a bunch of coke heads but they were awesome at their jobs. Amazing. Well, one of her cable pullers for a roving camera didn’t show up. She wanted to know if I would work for her instead of watching the game in the production truck and I agreed. So I found myself in the pouring rain on the football field in charge of reels of cable for a camera and a cameraman who was bonkers. Thank God it was fairly warm. I was in just a short sleeved shirt but i was used to the cold and the steam was just rolling off me. The camera guys and other pullers were all skinny buggers who were hyper – and it was high speed believe me. At half time we were taking a break and they were all shivering from the rain and I was just steaming away. Ha! I was feeding them cigarettes (I had the only dry ones) while they snorted and smoked their stuff. When we returned the rain got heavier and one cameraman was shaking so badly they had to replace him because the feed was starting to shake.

    Here’s a funny one Mark. With so many cameras and microphones wandering the field, keeping track of cable and making sure it didn’t knot or, most importantly get tangled in other lines was a constant job. Grace stood guard, watching all the operators and cable feeds and pullers. She made “adjustments” as were required. There was one inviolable rule: Video had priority over everything else. If someone crossed my camera cable with another cable, it was their responsibility to watch were i was going and make sure they didn’t impede me or my camera guy. Anyway, there was a young freelance female reporter who had her own camera crew with her and she was driving Grace mad crossing mic cables with Grace’s main video feed. I happened to be on that side of the field with my camera guy and I heard Grace warn this young pretty reporter a few times to smarten up as they cleared a cable just in time for the main cameras to speed by following the play. I was kind of watching out of the corner of my eye when it all came to a head. Grace was standing by the internal distribution panel when the play shifted fast and was coming down the field. The main camera following was approaching at full speed and the reporter was interviewing a sidelined player and had her cables across the main camera cables. There was no time to warn her and they could not have the camera stop, so Grace just reached into her pocket, flipped open a switchblade she carried and cut the reporters’ cables neatly. She threw them to the far side of the rails as her camera sped past. Bwahahaha! The reporter was standing there talking into a dead mic for about 15 seconds before she realized her cut cables were laying around her feet. She picked up the severed end and was standing looking so befuddled holding her dead mic in one hand and the remains of the cable in the other. They didn’t have (or couldn’t get – I think the production truck was tired of her and wouldn’t give her any more) cables. She had to leave. ha!

    Anyway, to answer your question – yes, i have been at games in the rain but never one I paid for.


  6. Not much for sporting events but definitely feeling the GPS pain. I recently switched office locations and have been using the Waze app. Have you ever used that? People rave about it. It navigates you around real time traffic. Worked like a charm at first but then became incompatible with my phone somehow so it starts navigating me and then craps out just when it’s got me on some route I’m not too familiar with. Had to stop using it.


  7. I would have met you there! Should have stayed for Matz debut. Not sure if you are aware that he is also a Melville grad.


  8. Hi Mark: We found your blog by way of fellow blogging bud, Brickhouse Chick. I must say, this was a first for me. I’ve never done my blogging with my husband over my shoulder. lol ๐Ÿ˜‰ But being an Italian from New York who hasn’t been back in over two decades, he thoroughly enjoyed your pics of the baseball game!!! What a perfect trip. Will be sharing this now & we look forward to becoming regulars & reading more of your great blog!! ๐Ÿ˜‰


    • Welcome Inion and hubby! Any friend of Mrs. B is a friend of mine. I’m glad you enjoyed the visit back to Flushing, Mr. M. I’m a native as well, born in Brooklyn and grew up on Long Island. I hope we run into each other often, Inion. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  9. Enjoyed your commentary and great pics Mark, only time I have actually seen a pitch like that is in old movies, seems your enthusiasm is much like ours with our Australian Rules Football.


  10. That’s a pretty good looking stadium. Sucks about the rain, but at least your Mets swept the series. Watching my beloved Reds this year is borderline depressing :(.


  11. this looks like a great ‘most of the game’ adventure. sadly, my tigers plans got totally rained out last saturday, but cool the mets offered an invite back )


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