I know I did this last year, too, but since today is what today is, I have to do it again...
"Today is Father's Day, so to all you Dads out there, Happy Birthday!"
Now, to the more important issue at hand:
I, for some reason, felt compelled to go out to Shea last night, rather than Friday night. I guess I never really considered Friday an option, and Saturday's game offered a chance to see the same Texas Rangers team that I'd never seen before, a chance to see Pedro Martinez, and, in my opinion, a much better promotion.
This isn't to denigrate Beach Towel night one bit. In fact, Beach Towel day was one of the seminal promotions of my youth. Somewhere, in the bowels of my Father's apartment, lie years upon years worth of Mets Beach Towel Day towels, which used to be sponsored by Met Life, and usually featured some permutation of Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang. As promotions went back in those days, Beach Towel day was usually the best. The game would usually sell out, and the towels would be whirled around, much in the same fashion as the little hand towels they hand out today.
Then, sometime around 1991 or 1992, Beach Towel day disappeared. Or maybe they just held it on days when I couldn't go. At any rate, there were no more beach towels at Shea. Until, mysteriously, it popped up again in 1998, sponsored by Rheingold. It occurred on a sun-soaked Saturday afternoon, where Mike Piazza posted his first Multi-HR game with the Mets, and I was in attendance to pick one up. It's still with me, packed away somewhere in the bowels of my apartment. But I found it recently, when putting away the dopey little Rally Towel I received earlier this season.
Then, it disappeared again. I think I noticed it pop up in '06 or '07 as a kids only promotion, useless to me. And, in fact, I didn't even notice that it was happening this season until earlier this week. Sponsored by, of all places, Fox News. I thought I should go for old times sake, but I had planned to take Friday off, and go Saturday. Saturday being Shea Stadium Replica night, a much more attractive promotion, undoubtedly, particularly with this being the last season for Shea. Much like I just HAD to be there for Endy Chavez Bobblehead night last year, I HAD to be there for Shea Stadium replica night. Why do I have such an attraction to this kitsch?
At any rate, because I HAD to be there, I ended up sitting through about 90 minutes of, perhaps, the hardest rainstorm I've ever seen at Shea Stadium. It's a good thing I was sitting underneath the overhang in the Upper Deck, because there was no way anybody should have been sitting out in the uncovered seats. The rain whipped around to the point where I swear it was falling up. The Field Level seats appeared to be a swimming pool, and the field itself was a quagmire, with the warning tracks reduced to mud. The field was totally unplayable, this was clear at around 8pm. Yet, they announced that the front would move through within the half hour. Well, I guess they would try to play, there were probably about 40,000 people at the stadium, and the concessions were doing a land office business. I kept dialing the Mets Rain hotline for updates, and they said the game "was still scheduled to be played at 7:10pm. But there was no way. I figured I'd stick it out until they called it, at least. Then, around 8:30, several players dashed out of the Rangers Dugout and slid across the tarp. The fans went wild. I couldn't see who they were (and later found out that the ringleaders were Ian Kinsler and Milton Bradley, accompanied by Josh Hamilton, Gerald Laird, Michael Young and Josh Rupe), but they dove around and slipped and slid for a good 5 minutes before they bowed to the crowd, which was mysteriously chanting "LET'S GO RANGERS!" and headed back in. Everyone got a kick out of it, apparently, except for Willie, who would only say, "That's dangerous." Killjoy.
I took that opportunity, then, to call the rain line one more time. Now, they were announcing that the game was postponed. Which was odd, since they hadn't announced it to the crowd. Why should they, I suppose. People were hanging around, eating, drinking and whatever, and the concession stands were packed. It was a good 5 minutes before they finally announced "We regret to inform you that tonight's game has been postponed."
I was a bit nervous that they would pull their new trick of scheduling my favorite, the day-night Doubleheader, today, with tickets only good for the makeup game. They surprised me by bucking the trend and scheduling—God Forbid—A Traditional, Single-Admission Doubleheader! Be still my heart! A real Doubleheader! Of course, I'm not there, but it's the thought that counts. I can exchange my ticket whenever I please, just like the old times. Maybe with the Beach Towels and the Shea Replicas, everyone was feeling a bit of old-time spirit.
Now, if only the team could feel that old-time spirit. Old time meaning 2006, or 2000, or 1999.