July 26, 2008

Quiet Down Everyone! I'm Watching The Scoreboard

If you look under "staff writers" you see the authors who regularly post there thoughts on Shea Nation and then you see my name. You would think you would actually need to write something to be considered a writer but thats what I love about Shea Nation. We don't let things like that bother us. I'm on the tail end of a 75-day roadtrip that is taking my friend Troy and I to all 30 Major League ball parks. We're creating an epic documentary that we hope will be coming out sometime before the season ends. At any rate I have obviously been keeping close tabs on all things Mets but have had little time to post my thoughts here at Shea Nation. I've posted one of the blogs from my own website below and hope to post more here as soon as the trip is over.

I found myself riveted to what was transpiring as I took a sip from the Bud Light I had just smuggled into the game.

It was a showdown for first. Mets vs. Phillies. All tied up at 1 in the eighth inning. I could hardly wait to see what happened next as the Mets came up to bat in the bottom of the frame. Did I mention I was sitting at Dolphin Stadium watching a Marlins game and was only 13 rows back from home plate?

So, anyway, when the Mets scored two runs in the bottom of the inning I did a small fist pump, which must have looked strange to everyone sitting around me considering nothing had happened at the game that was actually right in front of me.

This has become a common occurrence of late. I spend a lot of time scoreboard watching even though I’m in a ballpark I have never been to in a city that I most likely have never seen except from the local airport. This brings me to my point. I’ve seen a lot of baseball, but none of it holds a candle to baseball in New York. Of course I’m biased because of my love for all things Mets but I find myself daydreaming about our time in New York. A lot. If you don’t know what I’m talking about let me try to explain.

First of all, let’s not be confused. There are cities and then there’s New York. Let's say you grew up in the country and your taking your first big trip to the city. You tie old Bessie up to the fence post, plop on your straw hat, and say goodbye to the misses.

One of two things is going to happen when you roll into New York. You will either fall in love and want to move there or you will crap your pants and look for the first place to pull a u-turn and get the hell out of dodge. Of course in New York you can’t pull a u-turn without dying, so you’re pretty much screwed. I’m of the former group.

It had actually been a while since I got to see New York like it’s meant to be seen. I spent my whole youth going to Giants and Mets games but rarely got to see any more of the city. As we were walking through the streets of Brooklyn with our own personal tour guide
, I couldn’t help but feel awed to be in a city that has some real stories to tell. One of those stories is baseball, and boy does it have a lot of them.

While I was watching the Mets at Shea I started feeling sad. I had sat in that stadium more than 19 years ago with my Mom watching my first game. Now I was watching the game with my friends for the last time in the place were the Beatles played their last-ever concert. I started wishing we could spend the rest of our trip in New York.

I could hear the conversation. “Well, Troy, I’ve got good news and bad news. I will be watching 11 more games to finish out our BaseCrawl. That’s the good news. The bad news is I will be watching all of them at Shea Stadium.”

Of course we also saw a game at Yankee Stadium and while I have much less allegiance to baseball on that side of town I felt more sadness thinking how so much history would be nothing but rubble by the start of next season. The fans in New York care about their teams. They show up in droves to support them.

Later in our documentary, we hope to talk to an actual sports psychologist to help us explain why fans are so loyal to their teams. Why should we even care? How come I feel such a strong connection to my team? Why does my mood immediately brighten when they win, and why does my stomach actually sink when they lose? How come, in 2006, when the Mets were one game from the World Series and lost -- how come I didn’t have any appetite for three days?

New York baseball fans are like this, and it makes baseball in this city awesome to watch and be a part of. I felt a similar feeling in Chicago and I realize there are some great fan bases out there. It’s not the same. I apologize to the other 28 teams but New York is king here.

The day after the Marlins game, Troy and I relaxed on a beach outside Miami and symbolically waded in the Atlantic just to say we had done it. I was thinking about a lot of things, but of course not far from my thoughts was the fact that the Mets now stand alone in first place. Baseball may rule in New York but a new section of the country has taken over first place for hospitality and just plain good times on this trip. If you look at our interactive map you will see a stretch of our crawl that started in Asheville, North Carolina and ended in St. Petersburg, Florida.

I’m actually not going to say much about it because Troy is working on a blog that will explain what went down in Georgia, but I can speak for both of us when I say we will remember it for the rest of our lives and it stands out on a trip that has become so epic I cant imagine us not capturing it on film.

Thanks to the Rice family (Marshall, Maureen, Emily and Jake) for putting us up and putting up with us. I don’t know if I’ve seen a more beautiful setting than we saw in the mountains of northwest Georgia. I’m sad to leave it behind, but like Shea Stadium it has been good to me and I will always have the memories.

You can check out the rest of our stuff at www.basecrawl.com.

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