Sunday, April 30, 2017

Yankees Opening Day

April 10, 2017

Have you ever played Never Have I Ever? Well, we're going to today. Never have we ever experienced a beautiful day for both teams' opening days. We did this season. Never have we ever experienced wins for both home teams. We did this season. Never have we ever missed both teams' opening ceremonies. We did this season.

Based on our experience at Mets' Opening Day, we chose to get to Yankee Stadium super early. Or so we thought. We got to the ballpark so early that not only did we make a pit stop at Target to buy Funk Pop Mystery Minis, but we also drank wine.

We started walking over to the stadium from the car at 12:15 (for a 1:05 start time). The lines to get into the stadium wrapped around the building. Confident that only the gate closest to the subway lines had the greatest crowd, we circled the circumference of the stadium in search of a shorter line. There was none.

By the time we reached our seats, we were sweaty, tired, cranky, and had missed the top of the first inning. As well as the opening ceremony. No, we don't know who threw out the first pitch or who sang the National Anthem. Sure, we could Google it, but what's the point? So can you.
 
 
 
Like our new socks?
We didn't want to miss a chunk of the game like we had at Citi Field, so we chose to wait on food. Another mistake.

In the 6th inning, we decided to check out the new kids' fun zone and get food. Lisa wanted to try some of the newer menu items that she'd researched. She talked incessantly of a sandwich called, "The Classy Pig."She also convinced Serena that what she needed was the traditional Chinese BBQ dish found in the Toyota Terrace. The kids' zone was located right near our seats in the 300 level near right field. We were so excited to play and take stupid photos. Unfortunately, as soon as got in there, we were c*ck blocked. "Sorry, you can't come in unless you have kids." Which is totally prejudiced. We fell prey to ageism.  And lack of childrenism! We'd call our lawyer about it, but we're no longer talking to him because he's an ass clown. At least she let us take photos of the set up. We're going to need to steal Lisa's niece for the next game. And then make her take photos of us crawling all over the playground. She's very smart. She'll take good photos.
 
 
 
 

The concourses were so crowded that navigating the area proved difficult. Instead of searching for the Toyota Terrace and the location of the Classy Pig, we decided to settle for the ole' reliable sausage sandwich. Luckily, there was a stand right near our seats. AND the line wasn't very long. Only three people ahead of us! What good fortune!

Then we found out why the line was so short. Ageism was alive and well in the kids' zone, but there was no ageism to be found anywhere else in the ballpark. No one thought that allowing senior citizens to man the concession stands on opening day might possibly be a bad idea. Never have we ever witnessed such slow service in our lives. It was like watching the sloth DMV scene in Zootopia. Only we weren't watching it. We were living it. When we finally reached the cashier, we stood there for several minutes before she took our order. We ordered two sausage sandwiches each. Her reply? "No."
What? What did she say?
"Oh, no. You're not having that today."
What? Is this lady putting us on a diet? We didn't think that we had let ourselves go that badly. 
"There are only hot dogs left."
How is this even possible? It's a sausage stand. That's like Taco Bell running out of beef or a bar running out of booze. Whatever. It's not what we wanted, but we'll settle for it. We're hungry. And so, we agreed on hot dogs.
"Only foot longs."
Jesus Christ. Fine. We agreed on foot long hot dogs.
Twenty minutes later, she brought us our unwanted foot long hot dogs. By the time we got back to our seats again, it was the middle of the 8th inning and the Yankees were winning.

Normally, we can't complain about the food at our home ballparks, but for two straight games, our teams disappointed us. Our hot dogs were pretty pitiful.
 

The positive? The Yankees won 8-1. Afterwards, we went home, ate Chipotle, and took a nap.
 
 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mets Opening Day 2017

April 3, 2017

We experienced a ballet of emotions over the course of the last two weeks with our teams' opening days, but we'll focus on the Mets right now and discuss the Yankees later this week. We've experienced things never before experienced on an opening day. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let's just get right to it. Last Monday afternoon was a lovely one. Sunny with just a slight breeze in the air. Lisa packed travel wine cups. We packed Dr. L and snacks. We hit the road around 11:15 for a 1:10 game start time. We arrived at Citi Field at 11:45. Again. 1:10 start time. We cannot stress that enough. Police officers denied us immediate access and detoured us, which was fine. That's happened before and usually, we're simply detoured to the other side of the stadium so we weren't concerned.

Slight concern began to set in when the cops kept waving us on as we drove by the US Open. And then the Queens Museum. Even more so as we navigated passed the World's Fair. Full panic set in as we headed into territory we never saw before. Eventually, the cops deposited us in one of the parking lots of Fresh Meadows Park (which we didn't know existed). It took us approximately 15-20 minutes to arrive at this destination. At the entrance of the parking lot, Lisa got into an altercation with the senior citizen monitoring traffic. She called Lisa, "honey." This was a mistake.
Lisa: "How do I get back to the stadium?"
Old Person: "Honey. Ya not goin' to the stadium."
Lisa: "Yes, I am. I don't want to park here."
Old Person: "Ya gonna park (sounded like pahhhhk) here. Ya gonna to take the shuttle to the stadium and when you get back, ya gonna take the parkway (pahhhkway) home." (please note: the shuttle stop was a half mile away from our parking space)
Serena: "How does she know what parkway we need to get home?"

After Lisa begrudgingly pulled her car into the lot, another senior citizen demanded that we pay $25. They didn't even discount the parking rate for us. At parking time, it was 12:15 pm. We needed a little breather, so we tapped into our awesome wine sippy cups and a bag of chips. Look at our nails.
At 12:45, we headed to the shuttle. We walked through a geese sh*t filled field in order to get there. The shuttle transported us back towards Citi Field. Ten minutes. No big deal. But guess where they dropped us off? Not at Citi Field. Roughly four blocks from the subway station, not even the gate. We've now seen where the 7 Line is parked and where the MTA offices are. No one ever needs to see that. This is photo taken halfway to the subway. Not the stadium. The subway:

When we emerged from the subway station, this is the sight that greeted us:
Hell on earth.  Lines. Lines upon lines of people. We thought we were being clever by circling around the entire stadium, but we weren't. We were not clever at all. The lines wrapped around the stadium and god knows where else. Our gate was the bullpen gate and our line was so long that it encircled McFadden's, the stadium dumpsters, and began in the parking lot. It was so crowded that it was hard to determine which line led to McFadden's and which line led to the stadium itself.

Sidebar regarding McFadden's: Citi Field should not allow non-ticketed patrons to park in their parking lot during prime games such as opening day, popular rivalry games, or playoffs. It's not fair that non-ticketed McFadden's customers took parking spaces that could've been made available to customers who actually purchased opening day tickets. For too much money. Especially since Citi Field has limited parking. There is only one lot. Once it's full, fans are sh*t out of luck. Have you ever been to Flushing? Tom Glavine was a liar. No one should ever experience Queens or get stuck street parking. Trust us.

Now rumor has it that the reason some teams have nixed the idea of "print at home" tickets is that the tickets are able to be scanned more than once. We cannot speak to whether or not this is true. We don't know. We've never tried it. We're a-holes, but we're not d*ckheads. However, that being said, it's clear that SOME people think it's a trick that works because while we stood on line near McFadden's, Serena watched several people enter the stadium through the bar's entrance and then pass their printed tickets through the fence to their friends waiting outside. While they may not have gotten into the game with these tickets, these individuals definitely contributed to the crowd control issues surrounding the stadium's exterior.

Once inside, we noticed this little addition:
Lovely touch. We also found this wonderful M&M bench. Note our awesome free giveaway socks courtesy of Serena's work mom.
At the top of the staircase, we stepped right into the supposed "standing room only" section. Mayhem. It looked like the scene from Independence Day just before the aliens attacked and the humans just stood around like jack wagons staring up at the sky. That's a sh*t ton of people just standing around in the walkways if you ask us. Let's call a spade a spade. Baseball stadiums should not offer standing room only tickets unless the venue also functions as a football stadium. Citi Field and Yankee Stadium cannot possibly accommodate a crowd size like Met Life Stadium can, for example. They're just not big enough. Most likely, a facility the size of Citi Field cannot provide the PARKING necessary to accommodate these extra bodies. That's right. That's another dig at the parking f*ck up.

This is a view of the crowd congregating around the food court as we used the escalator to get to our seats:
We reached our seats at 1:45. It was the top of the 3rd inning. Remember, we arrived at Citi Field at 11:45 in the morning. We sat at 1:45 in the afternoon. Perspective.
 

The wind was no joke up there.

The view from our overpriced seats was decent. And by overpriced, we mean that we spent $200 total for this view.
We received a visit from both Ginger Snaps and Old Man Ed. Neither of them bought us snacks, so we had to go get our own. Unfortunately, it was so crowded, that we couldn't deal with the concession lines, so we simply settled for the shortest line available to us. Which is why we ended up spending $13 on a boring, lukewarm cheeseburger/french fries platter. We ate it before we could take a picture of it, but we did take a picture of ourselves on the way to the concession stands, so we figured that would be a suitable substitute. Plus, you're not really missing much by NOT seeing our food because it wasn't that interesting and in this case, you get another photo of our kick ass socks.
After the game, we waited 15 minutes before being able to get onto the shuttle back to the car. Needless to say, we had a long day. On the upside, the Mets won 6-0.
 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Citizens Bank Park (Take 2)

Citizens Bank Park
1 Citizens Bank Way
Philadelphia, PA 19148

September 17, 2016
On our return to Philadelphia, we wised up. We didn't follow the Mets or Yankees. We wore the colors of the natives. We created a Philly-themed roadtrip playlist that included songs from the Rocky soundtrack, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and songs that featured the words, "Philadelphia" or "Philly." It also may have included a few choice Disney songs. And perhaps Phil Collins and Tina Turner ("we don't need another hero. We don't need another way home. All we want is life beyond Thunderdome").

Parking was $18. Before heading into the stadium, we stopped at the same gate we stopped at on our first trip to Philly and retook the photo of us.

 
Once inside, we decided to walk around the stadium as if it we'd never been there. On our first visit, we were still new to stadium touring and didn't really have a defined system for touring other teams' stadiums yet. Also, we spent a lot of time stalking the Phillie Phanatic and being physically and verbally abused by Phillies' fans. It's hard to focus on your environment when your life is constantly being threatened by a different a-hole each minute. Our first stop was the Phillie Phanatic Phun Zone where we retook a photo of Serena being sad that she's too tall to play in the fun zone. What a difference nearly 10 years makes. Now Serena looks like she's built like a man. Fantastic.
Nearby is a bronze statue of Harry Kalas, the Phillies' broadcaster from 1971-2000.
Lisa also re-bought the Phillie Phanatic plush toy because she'd had limited purchasing options during our original visit. This little nothing toy cost her $16.
The first thing we noticed is that people are a lot nicer to you in Philadelphia when you're not wearing Mets' shit. Also, the Phillies were terrible this season, so maybe the fans just felt depressed and defeated. When we first started touring stadiums, we got it in our heads that we were going to compare Italian sausage sandwiches around the country. Easily one of our worst ideas ever. It turns out that only New York and DC know how to make a quality sausage sandwich. Our cities must have a lot of native Italians. Now, we try to find what the stadium is "known" for or we try to get recommendations from local fans. In Philadelphia, you always, always go with a Philly cheesesteak sandwich. We finally had the chance to perform a "do over" on the food front. We hit up the Tony Luke's stand in Asburn Alley in center field for our sandwiches. Our sandwiches were $11/each and we both opted for fried onions and provolone cheese. Beers were $9/each. We ate at high top tables nearby overlooking the field.
 
 

Asburn Alley seems to be where it's at in terms of activity at Citizens Bank Park. After we polished off our sandwiches, we checked our the mini Phillies' Hall of Fame.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 From here, we carried our beers up to our seats.
 
 

Our pitching matchup was Jeremy Hellickson for Philly and Jose Urena for Miami. The game is really not that important. The Phillies scored a shit ton of runs in the early innings. It bordered on embarrassing. Do you notice the activity taking place behind us in the photo featured above? What you can't see is that it is a small child violently vomiting all over the floor behind us. We did not hear the noise of her vomiting over the stadium din, but we did hear her crying. We just assumed that she was crying because that's what kids do when they're cranky. However, when Lisa turned around, she saw the damage. Puke. Puke everywhere. It smelled terrible. We almost puked ourselves. Lisa shouted, "I'm gonna do it too!" Maintenance came by to clean up, but it didn't matter. The stench of child vomit permeated the air.

Because the game was such an ass kicking, it dragged. We wish we had more to report about it, but unfortunately, it just wasn't that interesting. On our way out, we stopped at a little pretzel stand for cinnamon pretzels. It couldn't be helped.