The last time I had a day like this was in April 2011. I had been invited to an afternoon Rangers/Devils game, and had a Mets game that night at 7:10 pm. The night game was critical, as it was the night Scott Hairston ended up on my ass’ Wikipedia page.
The day game was also a good one where the Rangers beat the Devils, in what I believed was the last home game of the regular season, if my memory serves me correctly. All I know is a few weeks later, I went to a brutal playoff loss. And the night game stood out as well, not because of the ass situation, but my husband couldn’t go with me since he got really sick. Then he ended up giving it to ME, and I was really pissed off the Rangers lost that game…otherwise I should have just sold my playoff tickets since I was miserable sick AND the Rangers lost in a brutal fashion.
I digress. Everything that could have gone right DID go right on Monday, April 1st, and that is no April Fool’s joke. The Mets won, the Rangers won, and everyone was happy. Well, I was happy. My husband was happy. Our various bears were happy, since they were well-fed and their teams won.
I could end it there, but I won’t. I’ll start from the beginning.
I’ve often said that Opening Day is mostly fun, but stressful. Friends make the trip especially, and we have pressure to see everyone. It’s the one game a year there is a sell out, and a cell phone signal is usually a rarity. There’s excitement, but we are grumpy cats with long lines and poseurs who come to their only game a year. It’s also the one day a year that every single person I know is tailgating. The good news was that two of my friends who have notable tailgates combined their efforts and had a megamerger of tailgating. So it saved me a lot of running around, and I could sit and drink and eat at my leisure, without worrying about offending anyone by not showing up to their party.
Plus I could sit and enjoy the two plus hours before the opening ceremonies without running all over the parking lot.
I’ve found that at CitiField, it’s easy to keep track of the game without sitting in your seat. I guess in a way that’s good because I can get a little antsy sitting around the entire time. So prior to the game, I was able to see friends and visit people, and during the game it’s the same. On Opening Day, it’s become sort of a ritual to have a Shea Bridge meetup in the 5th inning. Yet, in the midst of celebrating the present of the Mets, and talking about the future, a big part of my past hit close to home.
As I was waiting for various folks to join us on the bridge, I saw a familiar looking black Mets jersey, with the name and number “WOODSIDE 7” embroidered on the back. Oh, holy sheepshit and balls. This was the old Woodside crew from Shea Mezzanine Section 22, Saturday plans!!! The Woodside 7 was worn by Kim, who hadn’t aged a day in a decade (which HOLY SHIT IT HAD BEEN TEN YEARS SINCE I SAW THEM LAST), and there was Tommy, her husband, and the ringleader, Frank, who was still the same. I nearly cried. These people gave me some of the best memories outside of the Mets themselves at Shea, including terms that I use to this day, like, “Fuck these guys, I’m going to Donovan’s.” In fact, I was introduced to Donovan’s by this same crew. Also, a podcast that has been recruiting me to be a guest, Mets Bhoys, turns out that Frank is a regular on the show too.
This world has just gotten smaller. But to me, a little bit of home was brought to me on Opening Day. Besides seeing the Mets, I saw a big part of my past. It was great. My past and present collided for sure on that bridge.
And just like old times, the Mets won on Opening Day. My boy Jonathon Joseph Niese won the game, and then I was able to see both of our favorite hockey team, and my boy there Henrik Lundqvist, get the win that night.
Everyone contributed to the Mets victory, from the ball boy on up. The same could be said for the Rangers win. We got to see a grand slam from Collin Cowgill, and we got to see the Rangers score 4 goals themselves. We saw a shorthanded goal by Captain Cally, and we saw efforts from Brad Richards and Rick Nash, and a solid effort from Henrik Lundqvist.
The Mets are going through changes, and we look to their future a lot rather than the present. The Rangers are living for the present, as Wednesday rolled around, and they parted ways with Marian Gaborik. I had a happy Gabby bear on Monday, but a disappointed one come Wednesday…until they played that night.
On Monday night, I saw a team that gelled together, and even had a contribution from Brad Richards who hadn’t been consistent at all this season. One nonperforming entity was Marian Gaborik, and as I like to say, the very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. A deal had to be made, and Gabby was collateral damage.
Yet, the Rangers idea of playing two is a world of difference in two nights. They played a very tough — albeit Crosby-less — Penguins team, and won definitively with contributions from everyone new and old. This was the type of win that we need to see going forward, and the type of play to see going forward.
I’ve seen two Ranger games since Monday, and three Mets games. Contributions are made from the littlest person on up, but that’s how a team is built.
For the next few weeks, at the very least, I’ll be in the mood to play two, to follow my teams till they no longer overlap.