Monday, June 1st, 2009...1:03 am
Stealing Citi Field
I haven’t had a heart-wrenching action-packed blog post since the winter of 2006 when I jumped off a trampoline and raced through the streets of Nice with the Frenchie’s on my tail so here goes…
I awoke Sunday morning to a perfect high noon sun and a swath of flies in my backyard who apparently were still enjoying the goat carcass from the day before (which is a story for another blog post — but here’s a fascinating photo to arouse your interest). Not wanting to waste a perfect May afternoon I called Titanium Dave with a plan to check out the minor leagues scrubs that make up the Mets lineup and see for myself if all the fuss about Citi Field is legit.
Since it was so close to game time tickets were no longer being sold online. I called the box office and the guy told me that there were plenty of seats left and it should be no problem purchasing them at the stadium.
We arrived a bit after 1pm just as the game was getting underway and went to the ticket window only to learn the cheapest tickets available were $150 each. Apparently, this was a “platinum” game (platinum game = most expensive) as Cody Ross, Jeremy Hermedia and the sub .500 fish always are a hot ticket.
Not fully prepared to dip into my future kid’s college tuition fund to see the Amazin’s, Kosh and I evaluated our options. We first looked to scalp but the scalpers seem to have gone the way of the Encyclopedia salesman as there wasn’t a single dude hawking tickets. My guess is an increased police presence has something to do with one of my favorite New York pastimes.
We circled the stadium trying to figure out what to do next when Daring Dave started thinking that there got to be a way to sneak into the stadium. At first, I dismissed this idea as improbable even though I’m a fan of season one of Prison Break.
We checked the ticket windows outside of both rightfied and leftfield but got the same $150 offer despite our most cunning haggling techniques. Esquire Dave persuasive argument “but it’s already the 3rd inning, you’re just going to let the tickets go to waste!” was unfortunately completely ineffective.
At one point Bilingual Diego went up to the opposing team will call window and blurted “Yo soy un tio de Emilo Bonifacio”. Unfortunately, his cuz forgot to leave us some duckets.
As our outlook was looking bleak we got our first big break. We ran into parking lot girl who saw what we were up to and she said “you guys are trying to sneak in, huh”. We tried to recruit her to join our cause but she honestly retorted “I work in parking. If you need free parking I can hook it up”. We lamented that we had taken the subway to the stadium but she offered us one last golden nugget before she went on her merry way when she said “I’m not even going to bullshit you but there are doors past the outfield entrance that aren’t locked. I’m not sure where they lead but I’ve seen people go in”.
We tugged on a bunch of doors and finally found one that was unlocked and led into a construction site within the stadium. Unfortunately, the site was a maze of bolt locked doors and had no entrance into the stadium. After 10 or so minutes of peaking around corners, walking under ladders and trying to open locked doors we were back out on the perimeter.
Next, we went back to basics and walked into the ticket office with Puppy Dog Dave giving his most precious frown. I made up a sob story how we were visiting from out of town and came all this way to see the Mets play and we just didn’t have the funds to plop down $150 in this economy. She asked if I was active military. I told her I respect and applaud our nations hero’s but I basically just sit and play on the internet for a living. She said there were no discount/tickets available for struggling entrepreneurs. The women was a sweetheart and actually called over the customer service specialist who evidently didn’t yet view as us customers and basically told us to get lost. I was going to use my trump card — I’m facebook friends with Saul Katz’s nephew! I’m sure the Karma police would have whacked me upside the head at some point so refrained from citing cyber relationships. As we were walking out we realized there’s a door on the other side of the office that leads into the stadium and made a bee line exit for it. Unfortunately, they caught on to our shenanigans right as were about to walk out the door and told us we had to leave through the other exit.
By now it’s the 4th inning. Security was breaking down all the makeshift entrance gates and hence have opened up doors/gates all around the stadium. Most of these are exit/entrance gates. We found an exit that also doubled as the cigarette patio (astutely brainstormed by Big Idea Dave). The tricky part was that there were about six to eight security guards walking back and forth. Every time we though we had a millisecond of an opening the window would close. It was akin to something between trying to beat the most difficult board on frogger and the scene in the movie The ROCK when Sean Connary and Nicholas Cage have to roll under the furnace flames. I employed a tailgating strategy of tiptoeing right behind a security guy bringing in a gate and then reverse pivot into the smoker lounge. As I was about to pull a Gasol post move the security guard behind me spotted me and told me to take a hike. Cautious Dave determined it was impossible and we were once again outside looking in.
At this point we were running out of both options and innings. We circled the entire stadium and ended up in a parking lot with production trucks and loading docks. We used the cover of a few parked busses to sneak into the lot. Unfortunately we didn’t hop a fence (this would have been our chance) because if we did it would have officially been the best afternoon of my adult life. We confidently strode through the lot (ala Jack and Sayid in the season finale of LOST) although there were dozens of security dudes all around. Nervous Dave kept on repeating that we’ll tell them we’re looking to visit my sister in the SNY truck. My sister once took Awestruck Dave into the television truck at Nassau Coliseum during an Islander game and I guess he assumed she works every truck at every sporting event in the US. This is also a good time to mention that I have friends and colleagues who work at SNY and they have been offering to hook me up with tickets all season! (so simple, so unexciting)
We walked straight past the trucks and headed into the stadium and soon found ourselves in a long hallway. Walking as quickly as possible and fully expecting a security guard to start firing at us once we were spotted we came to the end of the hallway and opened a door. The door lead to the visitors BULLPEN! I turn to the right and Lee Nunez is staring us down. I look up and fans are looking at us in bewilderment. Dave and I quickly walk through the bullpen right as a golf cart sized garage mysteriously opens up right in front of us. (To be exact we were seperated from the bullpen by a chain fence. I fould this picture on flickr that basically shows you our exact position/view.)
We walk through the garage, open a door and find ourselves in the Modell’s Clubhouse. This is the hospitality/party area where fans can see through the rightfield fence. We try to blend in as quickly as possible (and begin to eye the free food and booze!) when a security guy approaches and starts questioning us. At this point I employ Strategic Dave’s basic sneaking-in principles and act like I have no idea what’s going on. I tell the guy I had to go to the bathroom and I’m looking for my seat in the upper deck! He replies “I’ll show you the upper deck” and escorts Dave and I through a door that leads to a staircase that lets us off in the Upper Deck! We’re In!!!!
Dave and I are as gitty as a middle school kids locked in a closet for 7 seconds when I randomly run into some of my friends from high school. I start bragging about how we just snuck into Citi Field and they look at me and go “Well you’re Littyhoops!!”
Dave and I spent the second half of the game up in the Pepsi Porch. It was sweet. The stadium is awesome. Great views, great food, and a nice loitering/lounging/chill areas throughout the stadium. The also have a t-ball stadium for little kids that looks strikingly similar to the future wiffle ball stadium in my future backyard.
I’m definitely going to hit up Citi more and more just because the park is such a great place to spend an afternoon. Perhaps next time I’ll even have tickets. Then again, perhaps I won’t.
Disclaimer: If you work for the Mets, SNY, NYPD, or are Emilio Bonefacio’s real cousin then please realize the events in this blog post are highly fabricated and the names, dates and references have all been changed to protect the identity and freedom of David Ross Koshers.