Thursday, April 26, 2007


... and Roxcapades, mostly, but I suppose that doesn't work as well. As you may or may not remember, I was most privileged to be able to go to the Mets/Rockies games on Monday the 23rd and Wednesday the 25th, and had a fine old time at both, even though the Rockies only won the latter (by a score of 11-5, opening up a can of whoopass on the bewildered Mets and making the, oh, maybe six Rockies fans in attendance very happy). Still, I got two autographs -- Aaron Cook and Garrett Atkins -- and a picture with each of them, which made me very happy. My friend Mary and I went to the two games (Mary is an angel in human form, bought us the tickets, and wouldn't let me pay for anything, including a post-game meal at a diner, no matter how much I tried to chip in) and on Monday we were accompanied by her boyfriend Steve. Steve is a terrifically nice guy who also happens to be a) very knowledgeable about baseball, which means that we really speak the same language (sample exchange: "Who's closing for Atlanta this year? I can't remember." "He was on the Indians last year." "Oh, Wickman?" "Yeah.") and b) very sizeable, which meant that since I was one of the only Rockies fans in the stadium and therefore subject to, um, the famous New York hospitality, he swore to protect me from anybody trying to give me grief.

He and Mary were also perfectly amenable to arriving at the ballpark two and a half hours beforehand, understanding how I felt like when I walked into a baseball stadium and had to have a religious experience, and standing down on the sidelines as we watched batting practice. It was lovely to stand there on a gorgeous spring late afternoon, enjoying the green grass and the crack of the bat, watching major leaguers power a ball impossibly long distances into the bleachers. Shea is commonly referred to as the big blue toilet bowl in Flushing NY, but honestly, it wasn't that bad; it was just a stadium, even if it does have annoying orange bars that make it impossible to move laterally -- you have to go up and then go around. Also, planes from LaGuardia fly low overhead all the time, but this is only a minor annoyance. It was also the first time I've been to a stadium that's not Coors, and it was my first game this year, so you can bet that I was in heaven. (I may also get to go to a game in Yankee Stadium in the last week of semester, which would be most excellent. Clearly there's no way in hell that this will happen, but should I happen to get a picture with Andy Pettitte, I may keel over and die on the spot).

Steve also volunteered to call over any of the players that I wanted autographs from, so I identified the Rockies for him by number and then he (and I) both did the shouting. ("AARON! Can she have your autograph?!" What can I say, it worked). Aaron Cook was a sweetheart, looked over right away, and came trotting over for both an autograph and a picture, but we had to work a little harder on Atkins since he was taking infield practice and ergo wasn't immediately available, but the second time around, when both Steve and I were calling for him, he glanced over and finally came loping to the sidelines, where he consented to both autograph and picture. Have to say that while I was excited to get Cook, I was thrilled to get Garrett, as he's my second favorite Rockie after Hawpe and I just used the $25 gift card that my parents, who are well aware of my passion and gave me as a present, to get an Atkins shirt. As soon as the pics are developed -- grrnodigitalcameragrr -- me and Garrett are probably going to be featured as my new Facebook picture. (I shall also post the best ones here). Steve and I also tried for Jason Hirsh and Brad Hawpe (which REALLY would have made my day) but they were already heading in and didn't come over. Ah well.

We headed up to our seats, which were surprisingly good for five-dollar cheapies -- right behind home plate and looked out over the field, so you could see everything, even where a pitch was over the plate -- the only thing that was hard to judge was how deep a flyball was off the bat. I was mercilessly ragged with assorted four-letter words from the, uh, saltier characters of Shea sitting a few rows back, which I laughed off and completely ignored. Due to both that and the fact that Steve was two seats away and already, ahem, promised to look out for my well-being, they stopped approximately five minutes later. I suppose I REALLY would have gotten it if I was a Phillies/Braves/Yankees fan, but as it was the Rockies in April, I figure they just had to do something to live up to their reputation.

Honestly, it didn't bother me -- by the time I used the bathroom in the third inning and was sauntering back up the stairs to my seat, nobody heckled me at all, and the guy in front of me asked me about Denver sports and commended me for being a fan of, well, the Rockies. (I suppose he forgot that the Mets too were terrible a few years ago. This also happened on Wednesday, as the guy behind me took note of all my purple and black glory -- hat, Hawpe shirt, CR necklace, and even purple/black nail polish -- and told me that I was braver than he was, as he'd gone to Boston and not dared to wear an NY hat. He was a nice older gent, who left around the time that the score was 9-o Rox. Heh).

The Mets won Game 1 by a score of 6-1, but I honestly didn't care, since I'd had such a lovely time just being at a game. I got home at 11 and still had homework to do, which was not so fun, but what hell. Game 2, which I didn't watch but followed on Gameday, was a gut-wrencher, as the Rockies broke a scoreless tie in the tenth on Troy Tulowitzki's triple, but coughed up a pinch-hit, game-tying homer in the bottom of the frame before losing it on a perfect drag bunt in the twelfth. Game 3, however, was marvelous. Mary and I got to the park a bit late, so I had no time to prospect for more autographs, but we headed up to our seats anyway and snacked on pretzels, cookies, etc., which we had purchased so we didn't have to break the bank on ballpark food. I sort of wish I'd bought a hot dog, just because it's what you do at ballgames, but what hell, there will be plenty of opportunity this summer. :-D

But anyway, the game started, and the Rockies, tired of being held down, exploded for 11 runs on 20 hits and generally made me a very happy fan. There were about five million little kids at the park for "Kid Fitness Day" or something similar, and although they annoyed both myself and Mary with their incessant chanting, they a) made so much noise that I could shout all the pro-Rox things I wanted, and b) were, you know, little kids, so nobody could curse at me without somebody making a stink. It was a win-win situation, literally, as the Rockies roared out to a lead that at one point was 11-0 and made Shea very, very quiet indeed. Josh Fogg had to cough up a 3-run double, and Zach McClellan added two more in the bottom of the ninth to make the Mets feel better, but 11-5 was your final and yeah, it was pretty damn awesome. After the game I met Russ from Purple Row outside the gate, and we mutually exulted in the Rockies finally scoring more than they had in, oh, three weeks. (That's an exaggeration, but not by much...)

Mary and I walked back to the car (we had to park all the way out in the middle of fricking nowhere due to the construction of Citi Field eating up all Shea's lots) got hit on by a bunch of mildly creepy guys who were tailgating, escaped, and drove back to Yonkers, where we enjoyed a postgame meal at the Argonaut Diner. Mary, as I may have mentioned, is an angel -- she bought the tickets and paid for everything, making me almost feel bad every time she refused my offers of compensation. All in all, it was completely awesome, and although I did have a wonderful time, it really made me want to get home to my familiar comfortable lovely Coors... only two more weeks. Hopefully I will survive these two weeks, as I am slaughtered with work and that's why there is no way in hell that the blog will see daily updates. I'll try not to let it slip too far, but I've got so much work that I think I'm going to have to make a list of it all. I'm slowly but steadily getting through it, but my head may explode first and I will be a gibbering vegetable on the plane home (!) to Denver.

I'm almost done with freshman year. Wow. Time flies. Hopefully this summer will be as hardcore awesome as last year, and that includes just as much or even more baseball -- I can never have enough. Well, I should head off and finish the philosophy essay that's due first thing tomorrow morning; at least I can write fast and I sure hope it makes sense.

P.S. One more thing -- one of the highlights of the games that had nothing to do with the actual action was listening to New York sports talk radio on the way down. Callers with strong Bronx/Brooklyn accents call in to whine about Joe Torre/Julio Franco/whoever, getting very heated and prompting the hosts to say, "There's no way in h - no way that Joe Smith is better than Pedro Feliciano!" and "Arnie, hold on! Arnie, hold just a second! ARNIIEEEEEE!!" I was laughing out loud, and at the same time, I sort of wished that people would get that passionate about the Rockies, even if they weren't such total bandwagoners. Denver still loves the Broncos even though they suck, and if the Rockies could ever make it into October and farther, they'd be adored too -- the Denver area supports a winner, and the losing years afterwards, like no other. The problem is that the Rockies haven't had a winner in 12+ years and that was even after their flukey wild card/subsequent first-round exit in 1995... Fire the effing Monforts/Hurdle/O'Dowd already. I'm getting deadly serious. I absolutely adore the team and the guys, but the management makes me want to ---

[interrupted by mother effing fire alarm -- if that thing goes off one more blasted time, I'm deactivating it -- ]

Ahem --

-- kill something. Management or fire alarms alike. Take your pick.

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