NEW YORK, NY – This past Sunday my brother and I had a wacky idea: Hey, why not go to a Mets game? I know, crazy, right? But what the hell, it was supposed to be a nice day and we just figured we’d buy (I mean he’d buy) the cheapest tickets they had and then hang out on the Pepsi Porch all day. But, first things first, we needed to pick up some food.
Pine Bar Incident. Prior to hitting the road I purchased a big bag of Wise BBQ Potato Chips because, well, there is no substitute. Then we had to decide what we wanted to eat. Sure Citi Field’s got Shake Shack burgers, but we were looking for something a bit more substantial, as well as a good bang for the buck. We agreed on getting a couple of heros at Frankie and Johnnie’s Pine Restaurant in the East Bronx, a place where one meal can last you several days.We got over there a little before 11 and ordered a couple of sliced steak sandwiches with sauteed onions on garlic bread to go. I even brought along a little container of Peter Luger steak sauce. Hey, this isn’t amateur hour. Anyway, we repaired to the bar to have a drink and await our order. We ended up waiting an hour because most of the kitchen staff was hungover from Cinco de Mayo. Needless to say, “drink” turned into “drinks.” Not that we were complaining. The sandwiches were finally ready and we skeedaddled.
Free Parking. It was getting late and we thought we were gonna have to hustle to make the first pitch but, because it was the Mets, there was no traffic to speak of. We made it to Flushing with time to spare. My brother spied some open spaces under the Whitestone Expressway so we looped around and parked the car for nada. Any time you can avoid a 20-dollar parking fee, you do it. More bucks for beer.
That’s the Ticket! We got up to the ticket windows around 10 minutes prior to first pitch. Standing in the walk-up ticket line felt weird. We used to do this all the time back in the mid- to early -eighties, then my brother had season tickets from the mid-eighties all the way to the first year of CitiField. Now we had come full circle, back in line buying cheapies for a team no one really wants to see. It actually felt kinda good. Chris got us two 20-buck seats and was surprised when the seller also handed him vouchers for 2 free burgers, 2 free fries, and 2 free sodas. Wow! Really? This is the kinda thing they do in San Diego and Pittsburgh to attract fans. The best thing? The vouchers are good into September so those steak sandwiches were still on deck. And kudos to whoever in the Mets organization decided it was a smart idea to offer something to the fans.
Game On. As planned, we made our way to the Pepsi Porch where we secured a hightop table right near the right field foul pole. It was still a little overcast as R.A. Dickey delivered the first pitch. The low humidity and light wind seemed ideal conditions for a knuckleballer, at least from what I’ve witnessed over the years. True to form, R.A. had the ball dancing and hadn’t given up a hit through three. On top of this, the sun had broken through and there was no need for the light sweatshirt I had brought. Oh, did I forget to mention? They rolled back beer prices a bit.
Final Thoughts. To make an already long story just a tad shorter, the Mets pushed just three runs across but it turned out to be enough for Dickey to notch his fourth win of the young season. The game itself lasted a breezy two hours and sixteen minutes and, just was we experienced in the morning, there was no traffic on the way home. In fact, I got back in plenty of time to attend a neighborhood street fair and take my kid to the playground. It was kind of a perfect day, and it got me thinking. If a day like Sunday is the price we pay for the Mets slashing their payroll and fielding a less-than-stellar team, then sign me up. Sure I’d like to see the Mets vying for a pennant, but this whole experience really took me back to a simpler time. It felt almost like a minor league game, and I mean that as a compliment. Hell, I may even go back on my promise and buy a ticket later this year. Hopefully, Grote’s still up for that Cheap Trick concert game.
That’s all for today. Ram Rules is back tomorrow.