Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends
Needless to say, I've been chomping at the bit for today to finally arrive. Finally ready to return to Queens, return to Shea and begin another season, officially my 22nd and final season with the Mets at Shea Stadium.
It will be my 6th Opening Day (7th if you count the rained-out 1997 Home Opener) at Shea. I've been ready for today for about 2 months. I'll be meeting The Former El Guapo and The Former Shirts v. Blouses at around 11:30, at what used to be the tree and bench-lined plaza near where the ramp from the 7 train used to be. Of course, I might get to the stadium at 10am. I might be so amped up I'll run out there. This happened last year, too. We agreed to meet at 11. We were there by 10:30 easily. A few minutes earlier and we could have been the first people in the stadium.
Today, we had a long discussion about exorcising the ghosts from last year. We decided there needed to be some sort of ritual. Among our suggestions were sacrificing a lamb or a virgin, Burning the Guap's old Al Leiter jersey and cooking sausage and peppers over it, buying new Game hats at the team store (provided we a) felt like spending $25 for a hat and b) were able to stand waiting on line for an hour just to get in the team store), buying this hat, and getting into a fistfight with Scott Schoeneweis.
It took me some time to brainstorm, but I think I finally figured out what the proper exorcism would be.
We need to start a car fire.
Early in the 2000 season, El Guapo and I were watching a game on TV, and off in the back of the parking lot, the cameras caught a car on fire. It burned and burned, and there was no sign of a fire truck pulling up. Black smoke billowed from the car and blew into the stadium. Finally, after about 10 minutes, firemen finally showed up and put the fire out. That year, the Mets went to the World Series.
On Opening Day, 2006, we were present at Shea, and during the first inning of the game, with Paul LoDuca stepping up for his first Mets AB, we saw some smoke creeping over the left field side of the Upper Deck. We peered around into the parking lot, and, sure enough, there was a car on fire. Fortunately, it was extinguished rather quickly. The Mets won the game and went on to roll to a Division title.
That October, we were present at Shea for Game 1 of the NLDS against the Dodgers. With Pedro Martinez and El Duque hurt, John Maine was set to take the ball for this most important ballgame. There was a palpable tension filling the stadium. El Guapo and I were searching for any sort of a sign, a good omen to let us know that things would be OK. And sure enough, during the 1st inning, there it was. A car fire had broken out in the parking lot, behind the left field seats, right next to some fencing put up around the Citi Field site. The fire burned for quite a bit of time, and nearly managed to light the fence on fire and burn down what little of Citi Field had been built at the time. That was the sign. The Mets won the Game and the Series.
This being any indication, if we are going to perform any kind of an exorcism ritual to remove the bad feelings of last season, this would be the way to go. Either that or I have to yell at some nuns.
Coming tomorrow: Opening Day at Shea Stadium and Citi Field, too...