The raindrops started falling just as our 7 train pulled into "You'll have to pay the MTA for using a corporate name" station. By the time Squawker Lisa and I were in the station, the steps leading down toward Citi Field were filled with people waiting out the torrential downpour.
Rain delays at Shea or the old Yankee Stadiums were nightmares - fans crammed into concourses and entryways. Things would be different at Citi Field. And we could always while away a rain delay by getting some food at Taste of the City.
Even when the rain let up, conditions were deemed dangerous enough that fans were warned to take cover. We briefly wandered into an uncovered area and an usher made us move away from a railing.
(Ordinarily, I would throw in some crack here about the Mets being so injury-prone this year that one of them would probably get hit by lightning, but ex-Met Geremi Gonzalez was tragically killed that way a couple of years ago. Besides, the Mets are perfectly capable of injuring themselves on their own.)
So rather than waiting out the delay on a line for Shake Shack one of the other options, we made our way to Taste of the City only to find that the whole area was CLOSED!
Since people kept moving toward Taste of the City without realizing that it was closed, we found ourselves crammed into the very sort of rush-hour crowd we expected to avoid.
Yankee fans around us began to complain that the concourses at the new Yankee Stadium were a lot wider than those at Citi Field, which might be true, but the main reason that this situation would not be the same at the new Stadium is that there is no one place that all the fans would want to flock to. Sorry, Johnny Rockets.
We left the area near Taste of the City and it was definitely easier to wait elsewhere. Eventually, we returned and were toward the front of the crowd when Taste of the City finally opened. We raced to Blue Smoke and got on line, only to find that it was closed!
All of the restaurants there were shut.
After about ten minutes, the shutters came up on Blue Smoke's windows and the waiting crowd cheered.
You know your team is not having a good night when two of my biggest cheers were for the reopening of a rib joint and Luis Castillo catching a pop up.
We got our food quickly, but then ran into another problem - getting back to our seats. We were sitting in Section 136, which is quite close to Taste of the City, but the area was so mobbed that it made no difference - we found ourselves stuck for awhile. It was so bad that I wondered if we would have been better off taking the escalator up to the 300 level, then going down the steps later. We'll have a chance to test this out Sunday night when we are sitting in the 300 level.
We finally made it back to our seats, only to be a little disappointed by the ribs. In fairness to Blue Smoke, I'm not sure what food would have been worth the aggravation we went through to get it. But they were not as good as the first time we were there in April. We got the chicken wings for the first time and I enjoyed them more than Lisa did.
Later, we split a fried flounder sandwich, which was fine, though I could have done without it being drenched in tartar sauce (Lisa liked the sauce).
As much as I like the food at Citi Field, the novelty of good ballpark food might be starting to wear off for me. Wanting to sample everything is beginning to seem more like overeating, especially since I will be back there tomorrow.
Then again, obsessing over the food at last night's game is better than obsessing over the game itself.
The only good moment in the game for my side came just after someone sitting in front of us offered us some chicken fingers he was not going to eat. Even though I wasn't hungry by this point, the chicken fingers looked good. (Hmm, maybe this is why I felt like I was overeating last night.) The guy was wearing a Mariano Rivera shirt, but he was offering the food to Lisa first, and she was wearing an A-Rod shirt, so I figured it was OK.
As soon as I bit into the chicken finger, Gary Sheffield homered into the section next to us. CC Sabathia had retired the first twelve batters up to that point. Where do we get more of those magic chicken fingers?
As for the seats themselves, Section 136 row 15 had its ups and down. Sitting in field level, we were closer to the outfielders at least. We got a decent view of the main action, though from out in the outfield. Our view was obstructed on deep flies to left and center, but we could pick them up on the video screens.
The seats are covered, which would have been good if it started raining again. But it also meant that we could not see either big scoreboard. That was a big minus.
There were a lot of Yankee fans in our section, which Lisa and I attributed to these seats being the ones that were available through drawings that fans from both teams had likely entered.
Knicks' top pick Jordan Hill threw out the first pitch (along with their other first-rounder, Toney Douglas). Interesting choice considering that Hill may not be long for the team if the Knicks can pull off a trade for Ricky Rubio.
After all the hoopla about the eighth-inning singalong, the Mets completely dispensed with it last night. Lisa thought they should have played a Michael Jackson song and I agree.
The night after the game, I am feeling a lot less charitable about all the errors and beginning to realize that my attitude toward the Citi Field food should no longer be "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough."
And after last night's listless performance, I hope the Mets now "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'."