Rainout at Shea.

I went out to Shea Stadium on Saturday, expecting to see the Mets play the Rangers. My parents, Lindsey, James, John and I were all decked out in our Mets gear (hats, tshirts, jerseys galore) and we took the train to the game. I’ve never been to a game with my parents, so I had been really looking forward to it. It was also a night game, which are sort of magical in a way I can’t really describe.

We all got replicas of Shea Stadium

I’d checked the weather for Flushing yesterday morning, so I knew there was a 50% chance of thunderstorms from 7pm on. But what are you going to do? These tickets were a birthday gift for my dad, and it’s not like we’d let them go to waste. So we put on our most optimistic faces and tried to ignore the gray clouds we could see hovering over New York City as the train got closer.

right after we arrived, they took the tarp off the infield...

One of the most fun things about the 7 train (other than the fact that it’s always jam-packed with other folks in Mets gear) is that it’s an elevated train, so you can watch Queens go by as you get closer to Shea. Or, in our case, you can marvel at the torrential downpours and say sheepishly to your family members, “Hey, there’s still an hour and a half until first pitch. And hey, doesn’t it look a bit like it’s clearing up over that way?” Once we got to Shea, we unraveled our raincoats and umbrellas and laughed as we dodged puddles, because it’s impossible not to feel a little swoony when you crane your neck and look up at Shea. Or when you glimpse their new stadium in person for the first time. Or maybe I’m just a little sentimental when it comes to baseball.

June 14, 2008

The tarp was covering the field when we found our seats, which were mercifully under the overhang of the upper deck. We watched the grounds crew remove the tarp… and put it right back down. We ate hot dogs and drank beer (and a cold beer in a humid stadium is the most refreshing thing ever, I don’t care what you say). We came up with theories about how they decide whether the game’s rained out or just delayed. We avoided talking about the fact that we might have come all this way to have to go home. As game time approached, the skies opened up and we heard a few rumbles of thunder. “Well,” we thought, “if it’s delayed, that wouldn’t be too bad. At least our seats aren’t out in the open.”

rain delay at Shea...

And just as things started to look like they were clearing up, and the grounds crew lined up to remove the tarp for real this time, a giant clap of thunder made our seats rattle and the skies opened up and our hopes were dashed. We watched the folks down in the open-air sections scramble toward the stairs for cover, and couldn’t help but notice that the field was starting to look a bit waterlogged. We started to quietly poll each other about when we should decide to leave, dreaded the long train ride home, and dejectedly realized that since this was an interleague game (aka the Mets aren’t going to be playing the Rangers again this season), it would be rescheduled for Sunday, and I was the only one of us who could have come back.

It was in that moment of total despair that the mood was lightened in a totally unexpected way. A handful of Under-Armor clad Rangers emerged from the visitors’ dugout and walked out into the downpour. “Are they really…?” “No, it can’t be possible.” “What are you doing? Get your camera out!!!!!” And those Texas Rangers ran out onto the tarp covering the infield and proceeded to use it as a giant Slip-N-Slide. The crowd erupted, and it was a pretty amazing moment. Of course, I was scrambling with lenses, trying to swiftly switch out to my dad’s zoom lens so I could get some proper photos. The Rangers took their bows, returned to the dugout… and a few minutes later, came back for more, this time with more of their teammates. Sure, I didn’t see any Mets except for Travis, the batboy, but the moment of pure, unadulterated childhood glee left us smiling, even as we donned our raincoats for the long walk back to the subway platform for a standing-room-only 7 train home. Also, they announced that our tickets could be exchanged for any other game at Shea this season. So even though we went home, not having seen a minute of baseball, we’ll be going back.

time to go home.

It’s not without a bit of bitterness that I watch the doubleheader today, though. It looks like a beautiful day at Shea, and it’s just so unfair. Oh well. Like John said, it’s bound to happen that we go to at least one game in our lifetimes that gets rained out, so better to get it over with. And hey, I got a replica of Shea. So at least there’s that. And the fact that barring all of the gloom, it was a fun day with the family.

9 thoughts on “Rainout at Shea.

  1. Aw, man — rainouts are THE WORST! At least you got to spend some time with good company and you got to see the Rangers sliding on the tarp. That’s pretty cool!

    As for feeling swoony about gazing upon the edifice of Shea Stadium, I know how that feels. I’m not a baseball fan, but I have spent many a train ride into NYC craning my neck to catch a glimpse of the Devils’ arena in the distance. (One of the nice things about their move into Newark is that I barely have to crane my neck at all to goggle at the House My Beloved Team Plays In, since it’s right next to the tracks.) 🙂

  2. hahaha you know, I totally pointed out the good ol’ Prudential Center as we rode past it on the train. I’ll have to get out to a game there next season, just to see what it’s like. And there aren’t any rainouts in hockey lol. 😉

    As for Shea, it’s a bit difficult this season, because it’s hard to imagine them demolishing it, after 44 years and all of the history. I’ll have to get back there at LEAST once because it’s so damn sad that they’re closing it, even if the new stadium is beautiful and spacious and fabulous. It’s just not the same.

  3. How hard is it to get tickets? Adam’s never seen a baseball game, and I’ve only seen minor league games. I keep saying we should go.

    What are your thoughts on this firing scandal? I know nothing about baseball, but I saw that Willie Randolph was fired and wondered how you’d be holding up.

  4. It’s not too difficult to get tickets, Jackie, but it’ll get more difficult as the season winds down, since it’s their last season in this stadium. Despite how long it takes to get to Shea (on NJ Transit for an hour and 20 minutes, plus a 45 minute subway ride), I TOTALLY think it’s worth going. But you may be asking the wrong girl. 😉

    lol thanks for asking how I’m doing after Willie’s firing. I was pretty upset today, because I can’t quite understand WHY anyone would deserve to be treated this way (strung along for weeks, his team wins a few games, he flies out to the west coast for a road trip, wins a game THERE and then gets fired?) and I’m a bit embarrassed to call myself a Mets fan today. But… that’s baseball, I guess, and they have been sucking lately, so maybe their interim manager (who I like very much after seeing his surprisingly intelligent press conference this evening) can help them be fun again.

  5. Ugh, I hate rainouts! There are few things in sports — nay, life! — than going all the way to a sports stadium only to see a rainout. I bet that game would’ve sucked though, and the one you exchange the tickets for? Is going to be the greatest game ever!

  6. haha yeah. You’re right. And I also hope you’re right about the one we’ll end up going to being the greatest game ever. One can surely dream, considering the current state of Ye Olde Metropolitans.

  7. OK, I know you’re not happy with the Willie Randolph situation, but I just had to share a joke Letterman just told about the situation. It cracked my ass up! He set it up by saying something about how it was really an awful way the Mets handled the situation. Then he launched in to it:

    “And as a result, the hookers down in Times Square, bless their hearts. They’re offering the Willie Randolph Special…for an extra fifty bucks, they will screw you in the middle of the night when nobody’s lookin’!”

  8. Pingback: Oh, Shea Stadium. « she likes stripes

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