So, I had the misfortune of going to the Mets game last night. In case you didn’t notice, Livan Hernandez got bombed, the Mets offense was quiet once again, and the Mets lost 11-2. And as I was sitting there in the first inning, the Mets down four runs already, a thought came to me, the same thought that has come to me in the first couple innings often lately: this team is unwatchable.
When you’re at home and the team is unwatchable, all you have to do is change the channel. But what do you do when you’re at the ballpark, short of just throwing your hard-earned, well-spent money away by leaving early? This was the dilemma I faced last night. So, I figured I’d share with you all some of the things I thought of to distract myself from the Mets’ utter ineptitude.
Watch the game in style.
Now, this isn’t an option for everybody. 99% of the time it isn’t an option for me. It can be very expensive to grab good seats, and the great ones are virtually impossible to sneak into. But last night I was extremely fortunate—my uncle’s business partner is an advertiser at Citi Field and has six Ebbet’s Club seats. We were lucky enough to get some freebies.
The views are wonderful, you’re close to the field without feeling caged, and lines are virtually non-existent: you have your own bar. concession area, and bathrooms. It really is gorgeous.
Like I said, this isn’t really advice, but if you have friends in high places or tons of cash to spend (waste), it’s not a bad way to spend a night, regardless of the product on the field. And if you’re going to watch the Mets right now, you might as well be comfortable.
Take a walk.
Citi Field is a beautiful ballpark, and, both to its advantage and detriment, the Mets included some of the modern frills that distract from the game. Last night, it was nothing but an advantage. The atmosphere is extremely family friendly, and the open concourses mean you can walk around and check out how everyone else sees the game.
Take a trip behind the scoreboard to sample a concession item you haven’t digested yet. Hunt for the best bang-for-your-buck seats. Commandeer the whiffle ball field. See how many free G-Force posters you can score. Shed some calories. Do anything but watch Fernando Tatis flounder at the plate yet again.
Appreciate the little things.
My father is a Dodger fan, so he was pretty happy last night—and he’s very quiet and un-obnoxious about it—so, while I would have enjoyed a Mets victory, him seeing his first Dodgers game since Mickey Hatcher was still playing made the whole experience quite a bit more tolerable for me.
There are still plenty of things you can watch that can bring you some sense of joy. You just have to be willing to appreciate the small victories: another David Wright multi-hit game, a Gary Sheffield double, a rare defensive gem by Luis Castillo. The game may be lost, and the team may be horrible, but maybe on the atomic level something more interesting is happening.
I was driving last night, so I really couldn’t, but if you saved your pennies (or twenty-dollar bills, I suppose) for beer, it’s not hard to fashion an in-the-ballpark drinking game. Everytime a plane flies overhead, take a sip. Some insipid fan nearby says something stupid (my favorite from last night: “Isn’t Darryl Strawberry dead?”)? Take a sip. Dan Warthen comes out for a mound conference? Take two. Use your imagination.
Find other things to cheer.
Hey, the umps usually only take abuse. Give one of them his due, make him feel loved. There a great usher around? Let him know. You like that vendor below, the one who calls out, “Hot dogs! Wieners! Frankfurters!” in that gravelly voice? Raise a cheer.
Last night, I can say that we got Anthony the bat boy to take a curtain call. And we weren’t even cheering Anthony—he almost never got up, so we chided him as a lazy good-for-nothing. We were really cheering Jimmy the ball boy. Every time he got up to retrieve a ball, we went wild. Before we knew it, the entire section was chanting “Jimmy’s got balls!” I caught Jimmy sneaking a few glances in our direction, but for the most part he was the consummate professional, taking in the accolades silently, his head down as he jogged after stray ball after stray ball.
Don’t let the Mets ruin your day at the ballpark. Make your day a blast no matter what happens on the field. If you all have any other ideas, write ’em in the comments below.