After leaving the Bronx, we had a day off before visiting the other team in the New York area: the Mets. Violent thunderstorms and flash floods troubled our day off between the two games and we had to (already!) get the emergency fund to get a hotel room in New York so we don’t have to sleep in the van with water up to half our wheels in the New Jersey! We ran into some members of my family who offered us a good meal! Big thanks to them!
4th of july: American independence day! Americans love this holiday and we tagged along (4th of July beers!). In the morning we decided to visit New York. We both visited the city more than once so we decided to simply walk Central Park and Time square. What a city with the sky scrapers and the huge shops full of tourists every day of the year!
No rain in the morning but it started on our way to the Queens and the Citi Field. After we walked around the stadium to see pictures of Gary Carter and the Apple from the old stadium (a giant apple that comes out every time the Mets hits a home run). We met up with Gary and Shirley, a couple from Victoria (BC) who were visiting the Mets like us on the 4th of July. They lived in Montreal years ago so they are Expos fans and, like us, they believe in the return of the Expos to Montreal. They invited us to McFadden’s for a few beers (horrible service!) before the game. We had great baseball talks and they both encouraged us a lot in our project and it is really heartwarming to us. Gary said something that we will always remember during this trip: To the people that are calling me crazy for saying the Expos will be back in Montreal, I tell them that if I had told them, ten years ago, that Winnipeg would get a NHL team back, they would’ve called me crazy too.
After beers, we got into Citi Field and we went around visiting from the inside with Gary and Shirley. We saw pictures of Gary Carter and Cliff Floyd. We also saw the main entrance where you can see many pictures of Jackie Robinson when he first came to Brooklyn. We never forget that the first place where Jackie Robinson played baseball in the same team as white players was in Montreal.
We then left Gary and Shirley to go up on the Promenade to get to our places. The weather was calm but there was a strong and really cold wind up there. People around us brought blankets! We had the chance to talk with fans who explained us the situation surrounding the Mets. The fans are more calm compare to their neighbors from the Bronx and they will show up to games just to get the stadium and the baseball experience. They still have that eternal hope for the return of the World Series. Funny thing, the fan we talked with was also at the game at Yankee Stadium July 2nd as well as a family sitting in the row in front of us!
About Citi Field, people told us that the old Shea stadium was really too old and yes history and tradition are important but the cost of repairing was too high and they opted for a new stadium. The new stadium is really modern: elevators to get up on the promenade, the Jackie Robinson hall is really modern with videos and big stairwells, a huge selection of food and, apparently, very good! The Mets still kept enough history: the old home run apple in front of the stadiums, pictures of the 1986 year and visible metal structure that recalls the Queens Subway railway going above the streets. People told us that Gary Carter was the missing piece to the team so they could win the World Series of 86 and we’ve also been told that fans were really angry that he was getting in the hall of fame with the Expos logo. The Baseball hall of fame judged that his biggest impact on baseball was with the Expos.
Talking actual baseball, we had the chance to see Yu Darvish pitching for the Rangers. Both pitchers had a rough night: the Mets pitcher gave a home run to the first batter and had to leave the game after being hit by a liner. Darvish also gave a home run to the Mets making it 3-1 Mets. The rangers tied it up 4-4. At this moment Gary and Shirley gave us their tickets that were closer to the field so we could get a better view at the end of the game. It was really nice of you guys, so great meeting you and we hope to see you in Seattle .A deep double in right field pushed two runners to the home plate and the Mets were leading 6-4 at the bottom of the 8th inning. Rangers got closer in the 9th but couldn’t get the tying run so the Mets won it 6-5! Our first win of the tour (1-2).
After the game, there was a special fireworks show presented by the Mets. We were really excited because from our promenade seats we could see fireworks in the surrounding area during the game. It was late but a big majority of the fans stayed for the show. It was a great music and fireworks presentation and it was perfect to end our day in the New York area.
People seem to forget about the New York Mets. This team has seen so much history and is closely related to the Expos (last game of the Expos was at the old Shea Stadium). The fans at the game were having a blast by cheering for the team during the whole game and we did the wave several times! Fans were also paying interest to the actual game. If you are thinking about going to see baseball in the United States, consider going to Citi Field to live a nice experience and it is so close to Montreal.
Next stop is Pittsburgh and the PNC Park (3 down 27 to go)
P.S: when they are throwing t-shirts in the stands, watch out not to get yourselves two rows down like it did!