The Captains Is Red In A Sea Of Blue

As an avid baseball fan, there are many things that I enjoy about watching a live game.  But without a doubt, the most exciting live games I’ve attended involve me being draped in the opposing team’s colors.  As a Cardinals fan, the ultimate is attending a game at Wrigley dressed in Cardinal red.  For a Phillies fan, the same can be said about attending a Mets game.

On Thursday, May 27th, I got a taste of this great rivalry at my first Phillies-Mets game at the new Citi Field.  There were so many interesting things to witness in a 10 hour span that it seems like a perfect topic for Friday 5!

Top 5 Observations On A Phillies Fan’s Trip To Citi Field

1.  The trip to the stadium requires purchasing a lot of tickets

After a brief layover in Detroit, I arrived in Philadelphia by 2pm.  By 3pm my companion for the trip, my uncle Dave, and I made it to New Jersey to catch the train.  Ticket #1 was for the parking at the Hamilton garage, ticket #2 was for a one way trip to Penn Station on the New Jersey Transit.  There were plenty of other Phillies fans with us on the train to make the 1½ hour train ride plenty interesting.  It was a BYOB kinda trip.

Once we made in to NYC, we bought ticket #3 for the ACE line on the MTA.  This was technically not part of the trip to Citi Field.  We made a short trip to SoHo to meet my college roommate Scotty at Lombardi’s for some pizza.

We made it back to Penn Station in time to catch the Long Island Railroad to Citi Field, ticket #4.  Getting in the front door to the stadium was ticket #5, and probably the best view.

And after the game we had to purchase tickets # 6 & 7 to hop the Long Island Railroad and New Jersey Transit back to the car.  And while seven tickets for a ten hour round trip journey on public transit sound like a lot, it is way better than the alternative1.

2.  Mets fans + 2 hour rain delays = Rivalry!

Dave and I made it to the stadium just in time for the 7:15 scheduled start.  Unfortunately, so did a torrential downpour.  The rain ended up delaying the game by two hours, which sent forty thousand fans under cover to slowly let the rivalry simmer to a boil.  Phillies fans are traditionally known as rowdy , but the Mets definitely have their share.  The stadium was probably 80% Mets fans, and they were loving the opportunity to tell the other 20% how much they suck.  A rivalry isn’t a rivalry without snarky shirts, like this beauty I saw approximately fifty times.

After two hours of waiting for the game, the crowd was good and drunk and ready for some baseball2.  When the grounds crew was removing the tarp, the entire stadium booed a Phillies coach when he walked from the bullpen to the dugout.  The stadium broke out into a “Phillies-Suck-Phillies-Suck” chant as soon as the starting line-ups were announced.  It stayed like this pretty much through the entire game.  And as it turned out, the Mets fans were right.  The Phillies got shutout that nite, which was the third shutout in a row at Citi Field.  Still, even a losing game was a fun one with so much wonderful rivalry to witness.

3.  Food at Citi Field is an eye-opening experience

Eating at the ballpark is an essential part of any baseball experience.  The food at Citi Field was similar to that of most ballparks, but it was just a little different.  For example, the tasty funnel cake that I ate wasn’t called a funnel cake.  The signs read “Fried Dough.”  These are the last two words I wanted to think about when eating this

In fact, the whole ballpark seemed determined to make me feel guilty for consuming its treats.  I remember reading a couple of years ago that restaurants in New York City were now required to post calorie information, but I had no idea how far the law reached.  Every sign at the ballpark had calorie information like this:

A bag of peanuts is 960 calories?!?  I won’t even tell you how many calories the fried dough added to my waist.  And while I understand then intent of their truth in advertising push, it just made me feel worse.

4.  Mr. Met brings out the worst in me

As far as baseball mascots go, you can’t get any better than the Philly Phanatic or worse than Mr. Met.  This video sums up how I feel

Philly Fanatic vs. Mr. Met from beepboop on Vimeo.

And while I’ve disliked Mr. Met for most of my life, I’ve never actually seen him in person.  When I sat down at my seat I was treated to this sight.

And sadly, my first thought was “Good, I’m glad Mr. Met is sad!”  Later when I saw him in person walking around the stadium I had to resist every urge in my body to taunt him.  I really wanted to tell him that he was pond-scum and then push him over or kick dirt on him.  I don’t think it’s healthy for me to wish harm on a guy in a character costume, but growing both up a Cardinals and Phillies fan didn’t give me much choice.

5.  Cit Field is perfect for New Yorkers

Even though it’s obvious that Mets fans are mostly from New York, it didn’t occur to me that City Field would be packed full of New Yorkers until I was in the stadium.  And the stadium seemed perfect for a heavily Queens/Long Island crowd.  The stands are wide open and quite spacious

And the team managed to slap a Mets logo everywhere

The only thing we didn’t get to see was the big apple that pops up when a Met hits a homerun.

I guess it was a good thing that the Mets didn’t hit any homeruns, but I was secretly rooting for them to hit one…

Overall, the whole experience is probably the most fun I’ve had visiting another city’s ballpark.  The trip was a blast and the stadium was a site to see.  It gets a thumbs up from me, which is pretty good for a Met hater.


The Captain

1.  The last time I was in the city, August 2003, I made the mistake of driving.  After nearly dying several times on my way to Shea Stadium to catch a Mets-Cardinals game, I vowed never to drive in New York again.

2.  This is why I prefer weekday games; they bring out the real drunks.  Because if you’re drinking at 11pm on a Thursday, you probably don’t have anything important happening the next morning.

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