Mets Fans Find Respect Away From Home

 

This past weekend a cadre of Mets fans led by Darren Meenan of The 7 Line converged on Wrigley Field for a fine weekend of baseball. Shannon from The Mets Police was there as well and today he has a post on his site that is a must read for not only every Mets fan but for Mets management as well.

Shannon writes about the wonderful experience he had at the Friendly Confines. As someone who has been to Wrigley Field I am not surprised at all. A day at Wrigley Field is unlike any at Citi Field. In fact a day at any other ball park is unlike a day at Citi Field.

A few years ago I went to Chicago with a bunch of guys, mostly cops and firemen for a weekend series of Mets and Cubs. We had spilt the group up where five of us would sit in field level seats for the Friday game and five would sit in the bleachers for the Saturday game.  My group of five sat in field level for the Friday game. An usher greeted us as we entered and saw that we were dressed in all our splendor in Mets gear. He said welcome to Wrigley Field “youes guys” and laughed. So did we. He showed us to our seats, wiped them down told us to enjoy the game. We handed the guy a 20 dollar bill and he gave us a big smile back and said, “That’s why I like you New York guys, you know how to take care of people”. Yes sir we do as long as you are nice and pleasant we take care of you. If you’re nasty and surly and act like you hate your job as the ushers at Citi Field seem to, we give you our ass to kiss.

As we sat, we were taking pictures of the field and the ball park when a guy with the game day staff at Wrigley saw us taking pictures came over and took a group shot of us. When he took the picture, we thanked him and he said “No, thank you guys for coming to Wrigley Field” you could have knocked us over with a feather.  

It’s not just Wrigley Field game day personnel that treat people the way people should be treated. First time I went to Camden Yards, my son was three years old so we still used a stroller to get around. As we entered the ball park my son was fussing so I took him out of the stroller and carried him, my wife took the stroller along with a backpack we had with food for him, jacket, toys all stuff you need to bring when you have a toddler. An usher came right over to us and said “please let we give you a hand” he looked at the tickets, which were just down the left field line and took the stroller and said “follow me please” walked us to our seats and got us situated. After saying to us “enjoy the game” I went to give him a tip the usher looked at me and said “oh no sir we do not accept gratuities, put thank you.  WHOA!

Every Mets fan who has traveled to another ball park to follow the Mets have the same kind of stories, whether it be Wrigley Field, Camden Yards, PNC Park, AT&T or even CBP , Mets fans have a better game day experience away from Citi Field that at our own home park.  

There is no reason whatsoever that a fan coming to park early to watch batting practice has to be held back by a big hairy arm telling you if you don’t have a ticket you can’t go down there. Same thing if you want to visit someone in another section. How many times has a friend been at a game you get a text “hey I’m in section 207 come down and we’ll meet up” you go to the section see your buddy and make an attempt to go to the seat when your stopped and interrogated to see a ticket?  That’s why the Shea Bridge area of the ballpark is popular it’s the Guantanamo Bay of Citi Field.

Mets fans don’t want t-shirts, bobble heads, lunch pails or other gimmicks to lure us to the ball park. Just give us a competitive team and show us the respect we deserve when we enter the ball park. Kindness goes along way with Mets fans.

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Sorry To Have Been Out Of The Loop

 

Well, instead of worrying about David Wright’s and R.A. Dickey’s contracts and how the Mets would put a contending team on the field for 2013, me and every other person in the NY Metro area’s lives has been side tracked by the devastation Hurricane Sandy brought upon us.

As you see in the picture up top, I lost the roof over the extension of my house. Underneath that roof is my living room that had rain coming through it on Monday night during the height of the storm. After grabbing some tarps from my basement and running to the yard to grab garbage cans, hoping the tree in my yard did snap while I was out there, we staved off a disaster.

Thankfully my contractor that I’ve used for renovations on my house, sent his guys over Tuesday to fix my roof and tear down the ceiling in my living room and as I type this they are re-sheet rocking the ceiling they just put in a year ago. But I am a very lucky guy.

The Atlantic Ocean is a mile and a half from my house. In the summer it’s a nice walk straight down from my door to the fishing pier and boardwalk on Father Capadano Blvd. My daughter plays soccer on a beautiful Field Turf pitch by the pier and I’ve used the baseball fields next to it for many baseball practices, from t-ball through high school. It’s one of the best spots in Staten Island. Today it is a Federal disaster area.

Never ever in my wildest imagination did I think the Atlantic Ocean would ever land on my doorstep. The ocean water came within two blocks of my house, just think, the ocean is a mile and half from my house and the surge just miss my front door.

Television doesn’t do justice to the devastation in the area of South Beach or the whole south coast of Staten Island. The death toll from this disaster has been under reported. Many cops and firemen have told us they are finding bodies under the ruins where homes used to stand. Yes, the area is in Zone A and yes folks were given ample warning to leave but you have to remember the folks who live down there are veterans of hurricanes and severe Nor’easters and have toughed out many a storm. But there has never been a storm that hit like Hurricane Sandy.

Like I say myself and my family were spared in fact I never lost electricity so friends and family who needed to charge phones, computers or needed a hot shower or a cup of coffee came over. In the wake of such a hearting breaking tragedy, it was amazing having friends over for pot luck dinners and hearing kids laughing in my basement as they played games or watched TV.

It’ll get better here on Staten Island and in Breezy Point where my aunt and uncle had a home  for years when as a kid my father would tell us we were headed to visit relations on the “Irish Rivera” to have lots of food, lots of drink and watch lots of Mets baseball. What is stunning is the two hardest hit areas of NYC, Staten Island and Breezy Point, are home to the largest concentration of the city’s first responders.

Give me a couple of more days and I’ll be back worrying about David Wright’s contract and whether it’s better to keep R.A. Dickey or trade him and which outfielders the Mets should be in hot pursuit of it’s just right now I got a few other things on  my mind.

and that’s the ceiling or what used to be the ceiling

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We Say Never Forget But In Some Way We Have Forgotten

Today here in Lower Manhattan it looks like business as usual, folks are stopping at the coffee carts and then running to their office, the SI Ferry was packed with working folks and school kids and the weather, after one of the hottest and most humid NYC summers in a long time, is bright, cool and crisp, just like it was 11 years go.

I hear and see the words “Never Forget” every anniversary of the attacks of September 11th 2000 and I say to myself how can you forget? Every day I report to work I’m reminded since I have to pass the now construction site where a new 1 World Trade Center has risen high to the sky.  I’m reminded like I was last night when I stepped out on the front steps of my house and looked up to see two powerful beams of light shining high into the clear night sky. This is same from steps that my wife and then 6 year old son and 2 year old daughter sat waiting for me to return home and then busting into tears of joy that I did return home unlike many of my Staten Island neighbors.  Over 300 of the murder victims of that day were from Staten Island.  Some were men men who I had been coaching against at Staten Island Little League and some were parents of kids playing in the league. Some were firemen and cops who made the ultimate sacrifice that is still to this day underappreciated by the public they serve.  When you travel through Staten Island you see names attached to street signs, the names are of people who lived on those blocks that were killed in the attack. There is a beautiful memorial in the Grasmere section in a triangle in the middle of the road that leads into Hylan Blvd, it’s called Angels Way. It was started by a woman who lives across the street from the triangle who lit a votive candle and planted a pray card on the fence. From there more people came with candles, pray cards and pictures of loved ones lost. From there it grew to where a local nursery donated flowers and shrubs and people devoted many hours to build the site into a beautiful shrine. It always amazes me how people can come together in times of sorrow but why does it take tragedy to bring us together? That’s what hurts the most.    

Eleven years ago today in Lower Manhattan when the Towers crumbled and people ran to help save as many lives as they could, no one cared if you were a Christian, Jew, Muslin or an Atheist. No cared if you were born in this country or were an immigrant. No one cared if you were White, Black, Brown or Yellow. No one cared if you were Gay or straight. All we cared about that day was you were a human being who needed help and comfort from another human being.   

So when we say and write “Never Forget” it should cover not only the attack of that day but the compassion, kindness and total concern we had for one another.

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NEVER FORGET

After last night Mets game I was tempted to fire up my laptop and spew about last nights ugly win but I was kind of tired and said “ah, wait until tomorrow” I figured I’d read the paper on the Ferry and then read all the online articles and then go off on Aaron Heilman, Elijah Dukes and  Doug Eddings.

 

I get my paper and get ready for my trip across the bay and I’m trying to dwell on what today’s date is. I try to avoid the realization that the 7AM ferry is much more crowed than usual and that the extra passengers are cops and firemen in dress uniforms and many people who lost love ones seven years ago today at the World Trade Center. I dive into the game story by Adam Rubin and then Bill Madden making a case for Carlos Del-GOD-o for NL MVP and find the distraction I needed.

 

As I get off the ferry I make my way on my usual route up walking up Broadway towards my office on Worth St. Most days the walk is uneventful as it usually involves me listening to my iPod while eyeing the beautiful women of NYC but today each block was tougher and tougher to walk.

 

First thing I noticed is the amount of police on the street and the area closed off to traffic. Both John McCain and Barrack Obama will be here today so downtown is a frozen zone. As I get to Wall St, all the news truck from all the city TV stations and all the National cable stations are here to cover the events of the day. I start smiling as I envision this scene in late October as the vision and the weather have a fall feel to it like it is when a team wins a championship and they hold a ticker tape parade. But as I walk a couple of blocks to Liberty St my mood changed drastically.

 

I see a bunch of little kids no more than 7 to 10 or 11 years old and they are being interviewed by someone from FOX 5 News. As I look at these children I see that around their necks are pictures of people. As I slow down to observe the scene it hits me and hits me very hard, those pictures are of the parents they lost seven years ago today.

 

I felt sick. I stop for a moment when I get across the street and I had to compose myself for a moment.  I still can’t get the image out of my mind of these little kids with the pictures of their dads or moms close to their hearts and how from their young ages  probably don’t remember their lost parents. I mean I remember that day vividly as I was in Queens when the attack took place and my son was in the first grade and 7 years old and my daughter was just a toddler of 2 and how my wife had a doctors appointment that morning in Brooklyn and was in the doctors office when all hell broke loose. Then we waited for orders from our commissioner to see if he we going to go from and administrative staff to a response unit. We were told to stay at the agency headquarters to man the radio and phone. I got home that night at about 11 PM and as I walked up from Hylan Blvd to my house all I saw was my wife and two kids sitting on the front steps and my wife in tears happy I was home. My kids were really two small to know what was going on and I was grateful for that. All that just came over me as I saw those kids and I could feel their heartache of losing the parents they never got to know.

 

I waited awhile to get to my office as I guess being a macho asshole I didn’t want the guys I work with see me with red eyes but when I got upstairs the office was eerily quiet. No yelling, no usual ball breaking that we do every morning, no name calling just 15 guys sitting and remembering what happen seven years ago with a lot of red eyes.

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