Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Brief Brush With Fame at Citi Field

Last Friday, something happened at Citi Field that has never happened before. Never in the history of the Mets has this happened! And on that fateful night, it happened twice.

I was on the jumbotron[1].


After literally hundreds of games - at Shea and at Citi Field (and numerous away parks and minor league games); on field level and in the Upper Deck; in street clothes, suits, and Mets gear; as a cute kid and as an adult; with hot girls and with unattractive dudes - I finally made it.

It just goes to show you that things happen when you least expect them.

For one thing, I gave up my partial season ticket plan last year when it turned out that the Mets were terrible and my idea of having nice seats in the upper deck behind home plate turned out to be a losing investment. If that weren't enough, despite being an enormous Mets fan[2], last Friday's game was actually my first game of the season.

But back to the story.

In addition to it being my first Met game of the year, I am pretty sure that I was being "that guy" at the game. I showed up late to the game, getting to my seats in the fourth inning. I had gotten hung up at work - an unfortunate side effect of being a grown up. I arrived at my seats in the middle of the inning (cardinal sin) with a bunch of beers. I didn't bring my scorecard to keep track of the game. I was being uncustomarily "bro-like." We were sitting in the Pepsi Porch, so the seats were real nice.

In between half-innings, either in the fifth or the sixth, the stadium did their patented "Boogie Cam." It's the second best "cam" of the game - miles behind the Kiss Cam and ahead of the lame Smile Cam. As the Boogie Cam splashed across the jumbotron, my friends and I noticed a very cute girl on the screen ... turns out, she was only five or six rows behind us. With the camera primed, we started to boogie.

We did not actually expect to get on the screen, but when we got back, we were in full BOOGIE FORM. It was amazing. In fact, at the moment I saw myself on the screen, I didn't know what to do. I stopped the boogie. I looked at the jumbotron, at my friends, and back at the jumbotron. What do you do in the one moment in which more people will be looking at you than any other in your life?

I pointed at my Mets jersey (an Alfonzo of course), and then pointed to the sky. I don't know why, but it felt appropriate. Let's go Mets.

The story does not end there, however[3]. After a few inning detour to the speed pitch and Shake Shack, we settled back into our seats for the eighth inning (told you, was really not being a good fan today). The Mets trailed 4-2 as R.A. Dickey gave up a pair of solo home runs in the seventh. They went meekly in the eighth, and it was on to the ninth, where the Braves did not extend their lead.

Sitting in our seats, my friends and I were still basking in the glory of our previous incident on the jumbotron. A few beers in, and heroes in our section, we were having a great time. Before the bottom of the ninth, Citi Field displayed one of those "noise meters." It started low, with "clap" or something, moved up through "scream" and "dance" and ended with something wild. I of course, went up through the stages like a good fan, dancing and yelling and stomping my feet to help hype the crowd.

That is when we got on the jumbotron a second time. Whether it was the good seats, or the Alfonzo jersey, or the frenzied dancing, or the camera man remembered us, there we were again. This time, however, we were not on the jumbotron as part of a boogie medley - this time we were on the screen for about ten seconds, imploring the crowd to get up and make some noise for the final inning.

It only took Alex Cora and Rod Barajas about seven pitches to snuff out the Mets chances of winning, but that second time up on the big screen was euphoric. And this time, I didn't simply point at the sky and hold a pose. This time, with people from the surrounding rows bounding around like crazy (some kid actually fell into our row trying to get in the shot) we had ten seconds of fame. Fist-pumping, jumping, hand-clapping goodness.

The Mets lost, and ultimately I did not get to see that much of the game, but wow. What an experience.


[1] Is it even still called a jumbotron? Am I dating myself here?

[2] I do operate a Mets blog, of course.

[3] It was also my first time seeing a knuckleballer.

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