This past weekend was the one chance to see the Reds live this year. Well, I could go see them at Yankee Stadium in July but I would have to pull back my pledge to never go to another Yankees game. After paying way too much money to sit in 107 degree temperatures the last time there I am ok not seeing another game in a stadium that resembles a museum rather than a fan friendly atmosphere.

So what did I think about Citi Field? It was awesome. Maybe it was the fact that I got to sit in one of the suites that made it worth while. This was a huge plus on a rainy night with temperatures in the low 40’s. The all you can eat food platters in the suite surely helped out a lot too. As did the fully stocked refrigerator. We were able to get a mini personalized tour of the ballpark from someone who has worked there the last several years and knew the history as well as being a life long Met fan. Mostly though, Citi Field is an awesome park. It is clean and fun. It is nicely laid out with a lot of character and simply a good place to watch a game… but the suite seats helped a lot.

The best part of the night was getting to share all of this with my dad, the guy who taught me to be a Reds fan. Seeing him act like a little kid on Christmas was simply hilarious. My dad, who has never met a stranger, talked to anyone and everyone who would listen about how excited he was. He shared memories from games he has witnessed and stories from different ballparks. He talked about which ballpark had the best food and where his favorite seats have been. He reminisced on the good and the bad the Reds have been through. This was another memorable night I am sure he will talk about for years to come. Thanks for making the trip out here pops and I hope you had a great time.

We didn’t get to watch batting practice from the field like we had planned on due to the rain and the Reds lost. Those were the only two bummers of the evening. The terrible news of the night came when we finally decided to warm up and watch the game from inside the suite and we missed the foul ball that landed in our box… only to be snagged by the kids from the next one over.

Take a look at some of the pictures from my visit to Citi Field. Thanks to everyone who made it possible. You know who you are!

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Fully stocked fridge is a plus

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I ate way too much off of this plate

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These were to die for

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View from our seats

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Citi Field entrance

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In front of the #42 in the Jackie Robinson area

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This is what we were doing when we missed our foul ball

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My wife Jen admitting that this is how she wants to watch games from now on

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View from the outfield while on our tour

 

 

Check out the outtakes… We have some cute kids!

I tried. Honestly people, i tried. When I moved to New York I tried to at least embrace the local sports teams for the sake of connecting with the locals.

I got dragged to Shae and old yankee a handful of times, tried to engross myself in the excitement of the Met’s 2006 playoff run, but that let down to the Cardinals was too familiar for me to handle. But as the Apostle Paul reminded me that during his missionary journeys “He became like a Greek to win the Greeks”, I decided that it was ultimately better to swallow my pride and to just give it my full effort and see how it goes.

In 2007, the Mets were just as hot. In 1st place in the NL east and almost a guarantee for the playoffs with a 7 game lead in september right? WRONG. They messed with the wrong fan, and few people know this, but I am responsible for the historic choke of ’07 <You’re welcome Philadelphia>.

So i was approached by my friend Ben about going to a Met’s game on September 26, 2007. The Mets were playing the Nationals and at the time their roster was essentially the 2004 Reds, so i was game for that. One of our Young Life committee members had 4 tickets he wasn’t going to use and he asked us to take some of the junior high kids that were part of the “wyldlife” group (young life’s middle school outreach) to the game. Ben put the word out and and two of the kids Chris and Devin were super excited to go. They told us that they were the “Biggest Mets Fans of All Time”…

*Don’t ever tell Brian McGee that your the biggest fan of all time of something, because he will hold you to it.

As a midwesterner, going to the circus that is Shae Stadium, my brain jumped to this scene from Seinfeld:

But… I’m not really the one to be conservative… Especially when it comes to hanging out with “The Biggest Mets Fans of All Time”. The face was not enough… It had to be the full body.

igocrazyagainAs an art major in college, i would put my skills and school supplies to use on a regular basis for our basketball games as part of the University of Dayton’s mens basketball fan section “The Red Scare”, so this called for similar circumstances. We wanted to make this a night these kids would never forget.

DSC02260We pick the kids up, trash bags and gallon of orange paint in the back bed of my pickup truck. When we get to the stadium we hop out and begin the painting process, getting a few looks and laughs by those passing by. Since there were 4 of us, it was a no brainer to spell out the team’s signature cheer “M-E-T-S”. Then we put our shirts back on to get through security and started looking for our seats.

I by default started heading up to the nosebleeds before i asked Ben for the tickets. That’s when my eyes almost bugged out of my head… We were on the 1st base line, 11th row, box seats, valued at over $100 per seat… Man were the people around us going to be pissed…

We played it cool, were respectable, the Mets got up early 5-0 in the 3rd and the place was electric… That’s when the fan cam started scanning the crowd… And as an attention starved adult in his mid 20’s, i took the leadership opportunity to remove my shirt, quickly followed by the others as we stood up, swirling our shirts over our heads and leading the M-E-T-S cheer. The crowd went nuts, they loved it, the cameras love it, we were a hit. Then the 4th inning came. People caught wind of where we were sitting and now everyone and their mother wanted to come down and get their picture taken with us. This really began to irritate the people around us who had paid so much money to watch the game only to have such a circus going on around them. Security caught wind of this and sent down the Junior Varsity squad to politely ask us to consider relocating to the upper deck “with the rest of our type”…

STUNNED…. Did he really just say that… SERIOUSLY?

Well, instead of letting my pride get the best of me, we decided to head up to the nosebleeds and see if we could meet some other super fans.

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Well… not really, just these clowns… We gave it an inning… Won the Bubba Burger Fans of the game, but were growing board by the pitch and wanted our seats back. The thirst for attention got the best of us. We wanted that jumbotron again, and this game was getting close. We got back down to our seats, and were met with a round of applause. The fans were excited to have the “Greatest Mets Fans of All Time” back.

It lasted an inning. This time it wan’t the JV squad, but the varsity goones. It was the 7th inning now and the head security honcho came down and said that we needed to pipe down and put our shirts on. Try telling that to 2 7th graders and see how long it lasts before they rebel. The Mets were starting to falter a bit, and we knew we needed to get the crowd back into it, so we stood back up, shirts off and were going nuts. Within a minute, the goones were all over us. I got grabbed on the shoulder and was told to follow the security guard and not to ask questions. I immediately wanted to know what was the problem, I didn’t realize that being a fan was against the law. You could hear a chorus of Boo’s from METS fans as they lost their fans, as by this point, we were more entertaining than the game. In my last stand, I boldly let out a furious boast of “YOU WILL NEVER WIN A GAME IF YOU CONTINUE TO TREAT YOUR FANS LIKE THIS!” With all of the boldness of that man with his goat probably did. We were rushed down a hallway, led to a gate, and thrown out of the game, accused of being a drunk and a bunch of hooligans. <neither was true>. While we were at the game, the camera girl came around and took our picture of us at the game. I thought to myself later that week… Hmmmm, i wonder if they posted this on their site…. Well, not only was it on their site, but they had also used the image to publicize their end of the season ticket sales stating “Come out to Shae and Cheer on the Mets!” I was outraged… Where was the subtitle “And get tossed out like a piece of garbage!” Grrrrrrrr. At least I had the curse, and I hoped they seriously never did win a game again…

They didn’t… They lost 12 of the next 17 games, losing their 7 game lead, and failed to make the playoffs on the last day. Nothing brought me more joy than watching that happen. I absolutely believed it. I really cursed the Mets. I had the control now and I wasn’t letting go. I held onto this vendetta for quite sometime. I guess it wasn’t really until the Reds made their return to the playoffs in 2010 that I lost interest in hating the Mets. But that was also the year that I married a Mets fan… which brought my hatred back full fledge!

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<after being kicked out, we went all over Long Beach taking pictures of how awesome we were>

Well anyway, Rounding Third and Heading for Home, This one Belongs to the Fans!

Here is a recent article from Sports Illustrated I stumbled upon about Opening Day in Cincinnati. It is pretty neat and shows a glimpse of why I love being a Reds fan. They are some of the greatest sports fans out there when they have something to root for. Go Reds.

 

http://m.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/blog/2014/04/sports-illustrated-writer-blown-away-by-cincinnati.html?ana=fbk&r=full

My dad and brother-in-law made it down to Great American Ballpark for Opening Day and had a great afternoon taking in all the festivities. Cincinnati is so rich in tradition for Opening Day. As the first city to host a professional baseball team, Cincinnati has a deep fondness for their team and the tradition. Enjoy some of the photographs:

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