Friday, July 27, 2007

Game #3: Planes and Trains, If No Automobiles

I’d been warned in advance that to attend a game at the Mets’ Shea Stadium after a game at Yankee Stadium wouldn’t be a great idea. But… that’s just the way the schedule worked out. And while the game was still good fun, and the atmosphere decent, this one-time home of Red Sox misery did little to compare itself with its cross-town neighbor.

The most remarkable characteristic of the park is its placement in close proximity to LaGuardia airport. Or rather, it’s the impact of this placement that’s notable. While the presence of the planes overhead is a well-known characteristic of the yard, and they can be heard when watching a game on TV, the deafening thunder of jets barely overhead and the view of these planes taking off and landing just above must be seen and heard to be fully understood.

The other interesting characteristic, and one that’d I’d noticed but not fully appreciated at Yankee Stadium, is that much of the seating is bound into artificial box-like sections of ~20 seats or so. These aren’t true boxes, but are simply metal bars, suitable for leaning against and for creating a slight sense of separation, around standard stadium seating. While this might not be the case throughout the park, it is something of an oddity.

I sat in the Loge box, in right field HR territory just inside the line. And perhaps it’s the higher corporate-element present in the Loge section (this is equivalent to the Club section of seats just above field level in other parks), but it definitely felt as if some of the visceral New York-ness of the crowd was significantly diminished from at the Yankee game. I’d been hoping for almost the reverse, as Mets fans will insist that theirs is the more baseball-purist experience, rather than it just being a place “to hang out and be seen”, but I didn’t find that to be borne out in practice. Next time, perhaps the upper deck would do better. Though I suppose next time’ll likely be at the brand new Citi Field.

When it came to the game, it was good to be back in an NL park watching the Senior Circuit once again. And while the game was almost astonishingly fast, clocking in at less than 2 ½ hours, the lack of a DH did little to take the pop out of the Mets’ lineup, as the hitting star of the game was none other than starting pitcher John Maine. Adding a 2-run homer (and 2 successful sacrifices) to his 7-innings of 2-run, 7-strikeout ball, Maine was definitely the hero of the night.

Unfortunately, both food and beer offerings were highly uninspired. The standard ballpark fare regarding food was available, but little of individual note. I’d read a recommendation for Mama’s Italian Sandwiches on the field level, but was denied entry to the field-level concourse with my loge ticket mid-way through the game. Poor form indeed. Beer selections varied all the way from Budweiser to Bud Light. Er… yeah…

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