The first time I caught a glimpse of Shea Stadium through the windows of the 7 train, I shivered. And got all teary. The second time, too. Every time since then? I crane my neck, waiting for that first peek, all thoughts of the endless train rides to get to this point forgotten. And yeah, I still get a little shiver.
Sure, I’ve been a baseball fan for most of my life. But truly? It’s only been for the past few years that I’m obsessed, emotional, sputtering with the latest rumors, watching every game I can get my eyes on, waxing poetic about why baseball is like, totally the best thing ever, omg. There doesn’t seem to be any turning back at this point, regardless of what loving this PARTICULAR team does to my mental health.
My brother, his best friend Matthew, and I got ourselves some tickets for Thursday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves. I’ve said over and over that I want to go to as many games as I can this season, the last one the Mets will play at Shea. But in reality, it just isn’t that easy, given the cost and the schedule and the interminable train rides (the train rides that I really don’t mind, but my unsuspecting compadres? You better believe they mind. My brother not as much, but he definitely minds a little). So when the stars aligned so that the three of us could make it to a weeknight game, you better believe I was all over that. I was a tiny bit worried, especially after our last trip to Shea was a rainout (which was quite an experience in and of itself, one that I am glad we had, in some weird way), but on Thursday? The weather was perfect – not hot, not too cool, a bit of a breeze, and just beautiful.
I know I probably say it too much, but oh! It is just the best thing, watching a baseball game in person. Even as the Mets’ new stadium looms near-completion just over the center field fence, all shiny and wonderful next to poor, dilapidated ol’ Shea, there is something about Shea Stadium. It’s not glamorous and the seats are rickety, but man, is it something. The lights glow and you groan and yell and jump up out of your seat and cheer and you eat a giant hot dog and try to ignore the fact that the guy behind you keeps dropping peanut shells down your pants (not on purpose, but ew) and you missed your chance for a beer but you sing “Meet the Mets” as loud as you can and and the little girl in front of you just got some completely melted ice cream and it’s a weeknight so half of the men are in remains of their work clothes and oh look, there’s Mr. Met and did you see that guy’s tshirt? and they’re winning and they’re losing and then the most unlikely guy, the one you’ve sort of hated all season because god, he just sucks, except not today, he belts a walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth and it doesn’t get any better than this.