What a Day!

On Sunday, I stumbled downstairs to make the coffee and get the day started. As I walked into the kitchen, I saw a bag of NY Mets’ branded peanuts, two three-packs of Cracker Jack and atop the stack, an envelope from Stub Hub. Within the envelope were four tickets to the day’s Mets game along with a pre-paid parking pass.

My brother arranged for the tickets, the family arranged the surprise. Apparently, this has been in the works for two months and Deb made certain the day was clear. Of course, she didn’t align the game with the fact that Kate’s dance partner was spending the weekend with us as they prepared for next week’s New Jersey competition. He was brought in as a co-conspirator.

The previous night, for the first time, the surprise was almost spoiled. We attended a showing of A Prairie Home Companion (a movie more entertaining than I ever imagined) and saw friends. Janet says to Deb, “I saw you at Shaw’s but I guess you didn’t see me.” Since I had done the food shopping earlier in the day, I gave her a look but she tried to cover it. I suspected it was birthday-related but not certain how.

Anyway, Kate comes downstairs and to celebrate, makes everyone blueberry pancakes. I’m assembling sandwiches and we’re all on the go since we now have schedules to keep. By 10, we’re on the highway and by 10:50 we’re safely parked at Shea. (I’m surprised to see that they’ve already started digging up the parking lot where the new stadium is to be constructed.)

We put Mikey on the 7 into Manhattan and then que up to enter the stadium nice and early, hoping to catch batting practice. It’s somewhat cool and very gray thanks to heavy cloud cover but it’s expected to be a dry day. First, security sends me back to the car with our soda cans and then we get to our seats to learn BP was canceled. Our seats are Field Level, just passed the infield dirt, about twelve rows back. Terrific. The kids spend the next hour or more camped out by the Mets’ dugout, hoping for autographs. No such luck. Deb’s brought her digital camera and happily snapped away throughout the game.

The Mets are playing the Astros and we are treated to Roy Oswalt, a quality pitcher, taking on rookie Mike Pelfrey. Despite the home team jumping out to a 3-0 lead, they play sloppily, without any real energy and slowly give way to the Astros, ultimately losing 8-4. The vaunted bullpen failed to throw strikes and Aaron Heilman actually let a runner reach base by jogging and not running to first with the ball. It wasn’t pretty.

Around the fifth inning, Kate tugs on my arm and yanks me to look at the scoreboard. There it says Happy Birthday Bob Greenberger. She had written them weeks ago – her contribution to the day – and crossed her fingers since the Mets accept the wishes but makes no guarantees about actually running the names. After attending games there for 40 years, I finally see my name on the scoreboard. Talk about cool.

Despite the loss, we enjoyed the day immensely. The drive home was uneventful and we then dined out at Taco Loco, a Mexican restaurant we haven’t been to in years. Before leaving to eat, I received my gifts (basically Sunday was my birthday since we’re all busy today, the real birthday): some books, some CDs, a new polo shirt and a pair of fuzzy dice with the Mets logo which will decorate my WWN cube.

You can’t ask for a better celebration.

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