Tagged: Stadiums

Game in the Hand is Worth 2 in the Busch (Stadium)

Well it’s settled, the Mets will be playing the Cardinals starting Wednesday night at Shea.  One thing in our favor is that their best pitcher threw last night and will only be able to start 2 games in this best of 7 series.  Unfortunately, so will Tom Glavine who would be my choice to be the starting pitcher in game 1 and return for game 5 for another victory.

This should be a win for the Mets but Sir Albert might have other ideas.  This man is a one armed wrecking crew so walk him, walk him, walk him!  The Cards don’t have depth in the bullpen and that will be the key to the series with those powerful Met bats. The Mets need to win the first 2 games and that hopefully will be enought to win in 6 games.  No sweep this time.  Remember children, a game in hand is worth 2 in the Busch.  Barry do I need to explain that to you?

Perhaps someone could enlighten me on this topic.  The sob, sob Yankees who were odds on favorites to win the World Series (ha, ha, ha) lost in 4 to the Tonyless Tigers and the Post devoted 6 pages to them but only 3+ to the Mets.  I don’t care about Joe Torre, the story IS THE METS!  Or is this a plot by George S to steal the back pages away from our beloved Mets.  I wouldn’t put it past him.

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SWEEP!!!!!

3 in a row!  3 in a row!  Amazing, amazing, amazing!  In the best game of the 3 so far, the Mets took an early lead, lost it and then put the pedal to the metal to coast (ha ha) to a 9-5 win over the overmatch LA Dodgers.  Shawn finally found his bat and proved to be the asset that the Mets thought they purchased back in August.

The only thing that bothered me was that they continued to pitch to Jeff (I hate NY) Kent who almost singlehandedly beat them in this game.  Memo to Willie, the Cards have Albert P, walk him!  Hitting was there once again but the throws to first base from David and Jose have got to get better.  How many first basemen have been seriously hurt trying to tag the runner on throws like this.  I love the defensive play of Carlos at first, so it amazes me that when he came over that the knock against him was his defense.  Error on the scouting report.

Bring on the Birds!

TOMMY BOY!

No, not the movie but Mr Thomas Glavine of the NY Mets who pitched his little ol’ arm off surrendering zero runs in his outing vs the LA Dodgers in game 2 of the NL series.  His stuff was amazing (there’s that word again) in and out, up and down that it could have been a rerun of an old Braves game from a half dozen years ago.

The Met offense was there once again although Beltran is still struggling but hey it’s early in the playoff season.  Wright looks good and Jose still drives the Met engine.  Trax is on the mound for game 3 which moves back to LA.

Maine Man

Well fellow Met fans, we won game one with a rook on the mound.  Not Pedro, not el Ducky but John Maine who in my opinion was the best pitcher the Mets had in the second half of the season. We arrived at the new postage stamp sized parking lot at 1:20 for the 4 o’clock game and were amazed to find that they had doubled the fee from $13 to $26.  Gee are we getting 2 spaces?  Anything to make it more difficult for the fans money wise.

The double tag out at home in the second inning was amazing and possibly the play of the game.  But to me the pitching of Maine was super and never in Willie’s wildest dreams did he ever think this would happen as he only gave up 1 run in 4+ innings.  I can’t blame Mota for the runs in the 7th because of a dumb play by Jose V who as any little leaguer knows take the sure out.  In the end he got Reyes spiked in the what else but his calf.  Calves have never played a bigger role since City Slickers.  Even when a Dodger broke his bat and almost hit David Wright, I yelled it that it hit him in the calf which my section thought was very funny.

I loved the fan’s energy at the game with my friend Cary and his wife Stephanie yelling their hearts out to the last out.  I had no voice after the game but if Wagner let LA tie or go ahead in the top of the ninth, I’d have no heart either as it would have stopped dead.  Ron Howard sat below us and rooted for the Dodgers and the fans couldn’t have been nicer to him.  Just shows that Mets fans have class.  At Yankee Stadium he would have been pelted with stuff from their fair weather fans.  Ray Romano was there as well and by the smile on his face he knew Everyone Loves the Mets!

Tonight, Tom takes us one step closer to the next round.  The Dodger starter beat us once but tonight will be a different story.  Elba and Rich you gotta believe!

And The Winner IS…………

Sitting nice and comfortable at home, I’ve had time to reflect on our 30 stadium trip and rank the top stadiums according to my tastes.  I’ve lumped them into 4 categories namely, modern, traditional, domes and football.

Modern stadiums (13) are for the most part quite nice with a walk-around concourse feature which makes it easier to find your car or friends sitting elsewhere.  The food areas are spacious and usually number in the dozens selling all different types of food and drink.  Most feature one unusual feature to set it apart from the other modern stadiums.  For example, Baltimore has the food court outside the stadium proper but still inside the stadium grounds so you can pig out and still return to your seats.  Detroit has the kiddy rides, San Francisco has the wine bars, Pittsburgh the downtown view, Texas has the obscene number of sky boxes and St Louis with its Standing Room Only ticket areas.  But the coziest is the Jake in Cleveland where you feel right on top of the action yet you sit far enough away from Chief Wahoo banging that **** drum in the centerfield bleaches.

The football stadiums (3) that currently house baseball teams are just plain ugly with the playing field far too large and some of the seats just too far away to enjoy a baseball game.  Oakland is the best of the 3 but its upper deck is closed off and looks like a going out of business club.  Washington and Florida (despite the fish chicks) are just bad news.

The domed stadiums (7) are built for weather reasons that I can understand but I just don’t like them.  Losing the ball in the roof just isn’t baseball to me.  I realize the cost of these covered giants is as high as some of their seats but looking at people across from you in a different time zone just doesn’t do it for me.  However, I do like the Twin’s dome because it is smaller and somewhat closer to the playing field on a relative basis.  Ron Darling called it a garage the other night on Sports Net, I think of it as the Pillsbury Dough Boy and 45,000 of his closest friends.

The traditional stadiums (7) are the best of the lot to my old fashion tastes.  Parking is usually better (save for Fenway and Wrigley), the concourses narrower, the food usually tastes better, especially the hot dogs, and the fans appreciate the game more.  The stadiums are older, but have been witness to many great baseball events over the decades whether it’s the Yankees winning or the Cubs losing it is nevertheless baseball.  Shea is not pretty but it is as comfortable to me as sitting at home watching a Mets game. We had the best times at these stadiums especially at Wrigley where I thought I had gone back in time to the early 1960 when my dad used to take me to ballgames.  The smell of the hot dogs, the stale beer and the cut grass was baseball heaven.  A Field of Dreams.

Well the tallies are in with Cleveland, Oakland, Minn and Wrigley leading in each of my 4 categories.  And the winner is……. Wrigley!!  Shea is my #3 choice by the by.

I added up my gasoline bills for our 15,306 mile adventure where we made 45 purchases of gas in 27 states.  $2,121 beans —Holy Gas Pains Batman!  Remember if you are planning a mini stadium tour, the complete baseball schedule comes out in early February and all tickets can be purchases via mlb.com

We would like to thank everyone who responded with comments and those who read the blog but chose to remain in the shadows.  The mileage winner is Rich F who is entitled to a free dinner at my house. Mrs merk will do the cooking.

Well on to the playoffs!  I will post as often as possible during the Mets run to the World Series.

Shea Buddy Can You Spare A Dime?

Home Sweet Shea, the last stop on our 30 stadium tour that started back on July 15th at Yankee Stadium and only got better from that point on.  When we sat in our seats at Shea last Thursday night, it was so cozy, so comfortable and so good to be back in Flushing.  We were totally shocked as we chanted Home Sweet Home as we sat in our seats only to see it appear on the big scoreboard a few minutes latter.

Looking back on our trip, Shea isn’t the newest or largest stadium.  It isn’t even pretty.  But it is family, a place where I went to as a kid, took my future co-pilot there on dates and took my 4 daughters there to learn about baseball.  Having season tickets for over a decade, we have spent thousands of hours there, sweating in the sun’s rays and freezing as the winds swept off of the water. 

Our greatest moment there was game 6 of the 1986 World Series and the worst was game 5 versus the Yankees in 2000. Ups and downs, just like life and the real world.  Nothing is given to you, you have to work, to earn it.  This year’s edition of the Mets earned it.  They worked hard, suffering through injuries to a large number of starters, listened to a baseball schooled manager in Willie and played .600 baseball almost all season.  This could be the year.

Yes, Shea Stadium will be torn down in 2009 and replaced by a modern structure with all the bells and whistles.  But will it be better?  Baseball is best served by seating close to the action not by business people drinking in suites a time zone away.  Baseball is for dads and sons, moms and daughters, families are close.  Baseball families should be close too.  I think the Mets have the right idea in their design, keep the seating small and the seats close to the field.  If you build it, they will come.

That’s the final stadium report for now.  We have hired a team of independent auditors from a Big 6 accounting firm to crunch our numbers from the trip.  Upon further review, I will share them with you.  However, I can tell you we stayed in 42 different hotels, 39 of them in the Marriott chain.  We stopped for gas 45 times in 27 states paying as much as $3.539 in California and a low of $2.189 in Ohio.  We travelled thru 39 states and saw 49 different state tags on the road as we only missed Hawaii.  Total miles was 15,306 as our mpg was 20.1

It’s been a gas, thank for your comments, keep them coming, and most importantly, Let’s Go, Mets GO!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, Shea Can You See

As we headed towards Shea, the last and final stadium on our 10 week, 30 stadium trip, the SUV was very quite as we neared our destination.  Gone was the jokes, the laughter, all the comments about getting lost and the daily farm reports.  Instead we were caught in NYC traffic, listening to 104.3 FM and watched intently as the landmarks rolled by our window.  The World’s Fair Observation Towers, the #7 train ahead and finally our first glimpse of Shea in 2 1/2 months.  WE WERE HOME!

At Shea we were greeted by our friends from Sports Net NY (Ch60) who have been kind enough to air 2 segments of our trip on Saturday’s Met’s Sports Weekly.  After a few shots, we were given press passes and were allowed to walk on sacred ground aka the ground behind home plate.  What a rush!  Home sweet home.

It was strange walking to our seats, everything looked different.  The paint, the number of aisles, and even our nameplate sign was missing.  Was this all a dream?  Did we really take this trip or would my alarm clock ring and wake me up for another day of work?  Well Holy Twilight Zone, it was really Shea and we were in our seats sans name plate. 

I saw Mr Met and gave him a high five.  Never did that with a Mascot before, am I going soft?  I walked around the stadium looking up at the lights and reflecting on other 29 stadiums with their new bells and whistles and the old like Wrigley and Fenway that just felt like baseball always belonged there.  We were home and the Met’s scoreboard proved it.  See the photos!  HOME SWEET HOME!