Some Opening Day
Opening Day at Shea Stadium is a tradition Deb and I have upheld since 1989. Despite my current status, we were determined to be there. Additionally, we were going to let Robbie play hooky and join us as a senior year treat.
Normally, we drive to Shea in the morning, park and take the subway to NYC. This way, we have a car awaiting us for when the game is over. This year, Robbie and I drove down from Connecticut. Normally, it should take an hour (my best time was about 50 minutes). We left at 10:40, figuring to arrive in the 12 noon range for a 1:10 start. The idea was to be there for the Opening Day events, relaxed and happy.
Instead, name an impediment, and we probably encountered it. It all stated to slow down when we were stuck for a drawbridge on the Hutchinson River Parkway. Once that ended, we hit an endless line of traffic across the Whitestone Bridge and crawled along the Whitestone Expressway until we finally got to Shea. During all this, I was relatively calm but with each passing minute, I was losing that calm and getting more and more agitated at the morons who cut in front of me or the inability of NY’s finest from controlling the traffic or the gods from laughing at me.
Robbie began to score the game for me as we crawled. Yes, that’s right, the game had started.
We got to Shea and were waved away from it, to follow a snaking line deep into Flushing Meadow Park. Finally, we were allowed to park on a field well behind the Unisphere, with the stadium in the distance. For this privilege, I had to fork over $13. You’d think there’d be a discount based on distance and inconvenience.
Robbie and I trudged to the Stadium at as brisk a pace as possible in the raw, gray weather. We got to Gate B only to be waved on to the Press Gate and there we stood on another line as one guy checked tickets and another waved the metal detector over us. So we waited our turn. Once we entered, the promotional schedule magnets were all gone. Then the escalator to the Upper Reserve level was out so we continued our trudging.
As we took our seats, it was the top of the sixth inning and the trip from home took us 4 hours and 10 minutes.
Deb got there well before the ceremonies and quietly froze in her seat, enjoying the view, waiting for us (and our picnic lunch).
We actually sat in our seats for something like 1:20 minutes as the game ended in the top of the 9th as Billy Wagner made his Mets debut by collecting his first save. Now, we missed most of the scoring although we were settled enough to watch David Wright smack the team’s first homer in the bottom of the sixth.
Turning around, we hiked back to the car. Once we got settled back in the vehicle, Robbie called Kate to proclaim that while she may have been jealous of this “treat”, it was nothing to miss. We then crawled through rush hour back to Connecticut. Total round trip was 8 hours and 20 minutes.
There’s definitely something wrong with this system.