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.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Top 10 Reasons That Make This Year The Best World Series

We know that we owe you our post on our recent (sort of in over a month ago) trip to Philadelphia, but we figured that a commentary on the World Series would be a little more relevant. Plus, our overdue Philly post isn't going to become any less overdue if you've got to wait another week for it. We're pretty confident that you'll get over it. 

1. Jake Arrieta. All of him. If you've seen this year's issue of ESPN's Body, then you know what we're talking about. He looks pretty sexy with his clothes on too.
2. An entire series without Bryce Harper and all his douchey-ness. We just can't.
3. Game 7. Finally, a series to live up to the hype. Neither team totally dominated and neither team was dominated. The trophy was hard earned. Game 7 itself was enough to give someone a heart attack. If the Yankees or Mets had been in this series, we're not sure we would have had the balls to stomach it.
4. A unique matchup. We haven't seen the Cubs or Indians in the World Series in a long time. The last time we saw the Indians, it was 1997 and the Cubs' last visit to the World Series was in 1945. We weren't even alive for that. We've seen the rest of the playoff teams from this postseason in recent years. Therefore, the Cubs and Indians were a nice change.
5. Unless you are a Cubs' or Indians' fan, you chose what side you were on based on your favorite baseball movie. Major League vs. Rookie of the Year.
6. Stress free. Granted, this probably doesn't apply to you if you're an Indians' fan or a Cubs' fan, but for us, it was an immensely enjoyable experience watching two teams that we weren't emotionally invested in play quality baseball.
7. Bill F*cking Murray. At every single game. Being Bill Murray.
8. Discovering the true height of Andrew Miller. How did we not notice this when he was with the Yankees? Do pinstripes create the illusion of petite-ness? Also, why is no one addressing the elephant in the room? He's legitimately a giant. He probably needs his pants custom made. There's no way the "tall" section of the Gap accommodates a 6'7'' body frame.
9. Corey Kluber's Game 1 pitching performance, which included striking out 8 of his first 9 outs.
10. Our old friend, David Ross, became the oldest player in Major League history to homer in Game 7 of a World Series. Sidenote: were you aware that 39 years old is considered to be, "old?" Kill us.

Without further ado, welcome to the fray, all you bandwagon Cubs' and Indians' fans that are sure to come out of the woodwork next season with your freshly purchased team jerseys/shirts/hats. Allow us to introduce you to the Blue Jays' fans.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Marlins Park

Marlins Park
501 Marlins Way
Miami, FL 33125

August 24, 2016
Before we talk about the stadium, it's worth noting that we forced Mamadukes to listen to four hours worth of Blackstreet, LL Cool J, Elvis, Buck Cherry, Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch, and Salt N Peppa on the drive down from Tampa to Miami. As well as our singing. She may never forgive us or invite us back.

Marlins Park is located in an area of Miami known as "Little Havana" on the site of the former Miami Orange Bowl. We stayed at the JW Marriott Marquis, which is located in downtown, only a few miles east of the ballpark, but with rush hour traffic, it still took us roughly 30-45 minutes to get to the stadium. In actuality, it should've only taken us 10. Knowing that traffic would be an issue (thanks to the advice of our awesome concierge), we left the hotel early so that we arrived at the stadium with plenty of time to spare.

We circled the stadium before parking in the center field garage (third base, home plate, and first base garages are prepaid parking only). Parking cost $15 and accepted both cash and credit.

As you can see, from the outside, the stadium looks like an aquarium. Or a fish bowl. Basically, it doesn't look like a stadium (though, in their defense, it's not nearly as bad as Hard Rock Stadium where the Dolphins play. THAT looks like a friggin' space station). We did not have high hopes for this place, truth be told.

Outside the stadium, lining the sidewalk, are the letters from the Miami Orange Bowl. This is actually a pretty cool concept, but unfortunately, the letters are scattered around in such a haphazard way that there's no way you'd figure out what the hell they're trying to spell without asking someone.

Once inside, we did a tour of the entire promenade area before getting food. Unlike our stadiums in New York, Marlins Park was pretty empty. Yes, it was early, but when we go to a Mets or Yankees game, as soon as the gates open, fans pour into the stadium. Here, not so much. Therefore, we moved pretty quickly through the place.

The first item of interest that we found was the Bobblehead Museum, which is located across from sections 14 and 15. Needless to say, it was not what we expected. Granted, there are a ton of awesome bobbleheads on display and that was cool to see. here are some of our favorites:

The disappointing part about the museum is that it's not really a museum. It's more like a bobblehead display case. That trembles slightly so that the dolls nod for all time, which is probably really uncomfortable for them. We took video of the entire display case so that you could see what we mean, as well a photo:
In center field, you find yourself behind that monstrous and hideous looking home run structure that they refer to as artwork. It's not artwork. It's ass. It looks stupid from the front, but from the back, it looks like something we drew on a diner place mat with crayons.

Right next to the homerun "sculpture," is the FOX broadcast booth. It's right there for anyone to walk up to and stand next to, which is kind of weird and interesting at the same time.

After that, there was really nothing left to do but get food and go to our seats. Mamadukes is obsessed with Don Mattingly, so as a surprise, we bought field level seats behind the Marlins' dugout. The tickets were only $76/each. Do you know what you get in New York for $76? Parking during a postseason game. You non-New York people are spoiled.

Mamadukes ordered chicken tenders and fries (as per usual) for $15. Lisa ordered a pressed Cuban sandwich for $11 and Serena got a Miami Mexi-dog for $11.25.
Lisa's sandwich was tasty. There wasn't anything special about it. It was your standard Cuban sandwich. Serena's hot dog was awesome. The foot long hot dog is wrapped in a tortilla and topped with monterrey jack cheese, cabbage, chili, salsa, cilantro, roasted jalapeno juice, and chives. The only negative about this hot dog was the tortilla. It was not a good choice for hot dog wrapping. It basically crumbled in Serena's hands after two bites.

The stadium boasts a nightclub called the Clevelander. This is not a joke. It's legitimately a nightclub. It's open during the game and after the game, the fans either exit the stadium or continue the party at the nightclub. As we left the stadium, we could hear the dance music blaring from inside.

Behind home plate, is a fish tank. Somewhere, PETA is having a shit fit over this. How is this an acceptable location for a fish tank? When you visit an aquarium, there are signs everywhere, "do not tap the glass." What about foul tips? What about these a-holes sitting in the seats right behind the tank? You don't think that in all of the games that are hosted in this ballpark, at least one fan isn't going to kick or tap the glass? If you're going to have a random fish tank at a ballpark, it should be located in a place where fans can safely view the fish and the fish are kept out of harm's way.

Lisa's mascot was nearly $22, while Serena's hat was $20. Perspective.

As the game went underway, there were a few things that stood out to us. For starters, the stands are empty. The Marlins are in contention for a Wild Card and yet this is what the stands look like:

Here's another item of interest: cheerleaders. Why on earth would a baseball team have cheerleaders (please see our post on Miller Park for another rant on this subject)?

They weren't even good. They didn't dance in sync with one another, they're outfits were heinous, and we're pretty sure that Rick Astley could've choreographed better dance routines.  Also, men are pig birds. Every time these poor girls paraded out onto the dugout (just to pay for college), the men in our section would stand, whistle, hoot, and take video on their cell phones. It was bordering on embarrassing. Like they'd never seen a girl before.

We left our seats in the 6th inning because Lisa really wanted mini doughnuts. We found a little stand that served a bag for $6. Lisa got the cinnamon mini doughnuts, but you can also get powdered sugar or chocolate. Serena got herself a churro for $4 at a nearby stand.

On the way back to our seats, there seemed to be a commotion on the field. Everyone on their feet and cheering. Thinking we missed something important, we pushed our way through a group of people to get a view of the field. Apparently, what we missed was the majority of The Great Sea Race.
We can't even identify some of these sea creatures. There's definitely a shark in there and an octopus. Who knows what that red thing or the yellow thing is?

By the way, did we mention that the Marlins were playing Lisa's favorite American League team, the Royals? Did we also mention that there was a ridiculously high number of Royals fans in attendance? No? Well, the ridiculously high number of Royals fans acted like buffoons. Giant ones. They were so aggressive and obnoxious that we felt compelled to become #1 Marlins fans. Serena found herself barking orders at the players on the field and calling Fernandez's pitches. Lisa trash talked Royals players as they stepped into the batter's box. We high-fived fellow Marlins fans like total imposters. Go home, KC. You're drunk.

The game itself was a good one. The game was tied 0-0 into the bottom of the 6th when the Marlins finally scratched across 3 runs. Fernandez worked himself in and out of a couple of jams and truly earned his W. Since the Royals' fans behaved like such dicks, it was pretty easy for us to cheer for the Marlins.

And here's one more of Don Mattingly for Mamadukes:
The stadium itself is better than we anticipated. It's our fifth game seen in a dome. It's hard to watch a baseball game indoors. It was over 90 degrees that day and yet, it was cold within the stadium because the air conditioner was on so high. It's just a very surreal experience. However, having said that, it was one of the nicer domed stadiums. Very clean, very easy to navigate. Everything was reasonably priced as far as ballpark pricing goes. It's do we put this? It's just tacky. The whole design and decor is just tacky. That's it right away.