First things up, hope everyone in the way of all the hurricanes, and it’s unfortunate I have to say hurricanes as in plural, is safe and accounted for, with as little stress and property damage and loss as we could possibly hope for. And also the ones on the way. Chinese hoax, people! Chinese hooooooooax!
As a result of that, sports takes a backseat, or a detour, or a third other thing, depending on your metaphor. The Houston Astros moved games to Tampa when Harvey struck, playing at Tropicana Field. The Bucs and Dolphins lost their bye week due to Irma as their Week 1 game got moved to Week 11 where their mutual bye is. And the Tampa Bay
Devil Rays, who lent their previously mentioned home a week or so prior, had to find a spot to play their three-game set against the Yankees. And they chose New York.
Well, partially chose, partially union rules. Because unlike the NFL Player’s Association which would give up their dental plans for a keg of beer during meetings and be grateful they got a whole keg, the MLBPA actually has gotten perks. In this case, there’s an apparent rule that says that MLB players must stay at 4- or 5-star hotels. And in other potential cities to host the three-game set (namely Chicago and Baltimore), y’know, actually neutral cities, the powers that be determined there would be difficulties in figuring out two teams’ worth of hotels on such short notice, so they decided on Citi Field in Queens, where the Mets play because then at least it’s only one team’s worth of hotels because the Yankees can sleep in their own beds. I don’t get it either, considering you’d have a very pro-visiting team crowd in that case. But in fairness that already happens at the Trop because there are like, 50 Rays fans. Tops.
So how was it? Well, let’s actually report instead of giving 300 words of background!
First off: If you haven’t been to Citi Field, it is a hell of a lot nicer than Shea Stadium was, exterior and interior-wise. I’ve been there more than a few times by now, and yeah, it actually looks pretty nice. It doesn’t have the really-fucking-bigness of Yankee Stadium (except down the lines), but it doesn’t need to be.
We didn’t go in through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda (yeah, one of the biggest early complaints of Citi Field was, considering it’s the Mets’ stadium, there was a lot of Dodgers and Giants history stuff in it), we went through the bullpen gate. Which I didn’t realize until afterwards was, duh doy, by the bullpens. I could’ve chilled there longer in hindsight and tried to get a ball from someone. Whoops.
The gate we walked into does lead to a quick walk-up to Shea Bridge, named after the guy who brought a National League team back to New York and who the original stadium was named for.
We got there with a little time to spare but not as much as we hoped for. The Meadows, which is apparently a music festival with Nas and Jay-Z and Gorillaz, was setting up in the parking lots so parking was a shitshow. ‘Twas Madre Weaselo’s decision more than mine to drive (she hasn’t been to a Yankee game in a few years, so I took her because I am a good son), but we’d need to take either a bus and two trains or two buses and one train, so no matter what it’s a slight pain in the ass. My usual ploy if I’ve got rehearsal in the city is to park by the subway, mitigating the bus ride and the time waiting for the bus at 11:00, then using that time to look for parking. And then one day it didn’t work as nice because some douchenozzle clipped the back right corner of my car pulling out behind me (phrasing), so now I’ve lost the tiniest bit of paint on my previously pristine vehicle. You incorrigible asshole. You probably don’t know who you are, but fuck you.
So I didn’t get to take a bajillion pictures of every eatery and stuff my face. Plus, due to the last-second nature of the game the lower bowl was the only area open, so a lot of places weren’t open—there’s an international food hall that recently opened; it was closed so I’ll have to hit it up some other game I go to. Shake Shack I think was open, but I didn’t get any because I still feel like I have to be careful with my gut. And because it doesn’t matter where it is, Shake Shack lines are always insane. So when I did go for food I got a dog, fries, and a soda because I wasn’t feeling adventurous, maybe because it was a day game. If I had a beer with that it might have gotten risky, something similar had happened a few days before and it didn’t go well. So sorry for no Stadium Beer Barrel, I’ll put my pants on and go outside and think about what I’ve done after this. I’m not entirely sure what they have, but I imagine there’s some combination of Singlecut, Silverpoint, and Brooklyn Brewery in addition to the standards.
As for game stuff, it was definitely weird, because… well, take a look:
Yes, those are pics from the Rays’ pregame hype video. Because this was a Rays home game. The scoreboard people at Citi Field actually had to try and accurately recreate the Rays’ scoreboard look; the Tropicana Field scoreboard staff couldn’t send them the computer program (since nobody knew where the team was going when they had to get out of Dodge) so they had to use pictures to figure out the fonts and proportions, which is really impressive.
This also meant Rays plate and mound music, which I’m not gonna get to into in detail but I’ll give points to Steven Souza, Jr. for his plate music. (But minus all the points he got from that for throwing a foul ball into the upper deck in the ninth in a troll job that pissed people off, then there was some water throwing in the stands in the bottom of the ninth, I didn’t see it all unfold but it was in my general vicinity so I got some of the peripheral view.) And also that goddamn home run foghorn. Not as annoying as the Blue Jays’, but still, that goddamn foghorn. Which I only fortunately heard once.
It also meant no God Bless America before the seventh-inning stretch, which has been a thing in New York since 9/11. But it did mean DJ Kitty.
I can’t make a complaint. I have no idea why the Yankees have the Cotton-Eyed Joe in the middle of the 8th. I’ve never been able to explain it. There also was no Pepsi products mascot race, which is also apparently a thing at the Trop. (If anyone cares, when the subway race happens for Yankee games, I root for the 4 train.)
Anyway, thanks to all tickets being $25 our randomly generated seats were pretty good, 13 rows behind the home (first-base) dugout. It wasn’t close enough to try and get a ball from anyone, plus now they have the netting all the way past the dugouts. And we didn’t get foul ball lucky. Still no luck there.
And it was a good game, pretty laid-back atmosphere. There was mild applause from the pro-visitors crowd, except for Souza by the end of it, and Evan Longoria because he kills the Yanks. The “Charge” for the home team was met with… mildness, and as the umpires announced there was an audible crowd-wide groan for home plate umpire Angel Hernandez, by my count the second-worst umpire in the league because at least he’s only an embarrassment to one of the things I love as opposed to Joe West who besmirches two of them. And the Yanks won, 3-2. And for what it’s worth (which is a surprising amount) I like the Mets’ magazine’s scorecard over the Yanks’ because there’s a full page for each team, they actually go to more than 9 innings just in case (I don’t need a 2008 ASG situation all over again) and it’s on actually writable paper instead of glossy magazine paper. Also the magazine is cheaper. And yes, this was only the second-weirdest game I’ve ever kept score for, due to 2008.
If you’re wondering, yes, if a lady can keep score that is a massive plus in my attraction to her book. Though I’m also willing to teach…
Anyway, that’s my report. I’ll actually get to see these two teams again in the Bronx next Wednesday for an alumni outing, this time in one of the teams’ actual home stadium! There will not be a report on that. Unless something historic happens. And then it’ll be more of a humblebrag. Haven’t been to a clincher (just magic number down to 1), haven’t been to a no-hitter (did go to the infamous Pedro one-hitter in ’99), so I’ll take one of those, I guess? No, clinching a wild-card home game won’t count, it doesn’t have the same gravitas. Eh, I’ll figure it out later. Intrepid weasel-type reporter out!