No one was more surprised than I was when I won tickets to one of the subway series baseball games. I’d entered a raffle mainly to support the friend who was running it, but I never usually win these things, so it was particularly gratifying to learn that my name was first out of the hat.
The game was last Thursday, August 17th, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect – pleasantly warm with a cool breeze, not at all the standard for New York in August.
Because the tickets were part of a fundraiser, those of us in the group were invited to arrive early and go out onto the warming track (around the edge of the field) before the game began. It was really quite exciting to be out there while the national anthem was being performed, and it gave me a new appreciation for the size of the space – the outfield feels much bigger at ground level, and the stands tower over it all. (Frustratingly, my phone died so I wasn’t able to take any pictures.)
Citi Field was packed with Mets and Yankees fans, but the atmosphere was much jollier than you might expect from a game between the two local rival teams (possibly because the Yankees had already won the series). I am still surprised by how much people wander around during the game, with the purchase and consumption of food and drinks being just as important a part of the event as anything that happens on the field, although, as it happened, I was able to participate in this myself. Citi Field has a small gluten free stand, where I spent about half an hour waiting in line for a burger. The guy cooking was possibly the most inept food service person I’ve ever seen, but I was determined to have the full junk-food-and-beer experience so decided it was worth the wait!
Back at our seats, it became clear that most of the interesting play had happened while we were waiting for food, and several innings passed without much in the way of action. However, towards the very end of the game we were lucky enough to see the Mets get a grand slam, which was pretty exciting, and, I understand, quite rare. (A grand slam in baseball, I learned, is when there’s a player on all three bases and the batsman hits a home run.)