After reading last night’s Mets-Braves box score and discovering that the attendance was only 31,511, I’ve decided to disown the Mets ticket window people as my friends. They’d told me the day before that the big Smoltz-Pedro rematch would be sold out–and I stupidly believed them and stayed away and cost myself at least four or five balls. Damn them. And damn me. What was I thinking? Shea Stadium on a chilly week night in April? That place wouldn’t sell out for Cy Young and Walter Johnson. But I shouldn’t complain. I’m lucky that the Mets are lousy and play in a barn. Even though I was raised as a Mets fan, it didn’t bother me when they lost, at least not after 1992 when I started attending games regularly, because I realized that fewer wins meant fewer fans, and fewer fans meant more balls. (I’m an only child. I never had to share. How’d I become so selfish?) Before long, I was actually rooting against them, and I quickly stopped calling myself a Mets fan. Now I don’t have a favorite team. I root for individual players, and I’m a fan of the game. It’s better this way. I can root for anyone anytime and not feel guilty. Take Greg Maddux. I’ve loved the guy since 1988. Even then, it didn’t feel right to root against him just because he was facing the Mets–and yet it hurt to root for him because I hated (and still hate) the Braves…although they’ve always been generous with their baseballs, so maybe I should get over it.
The Yankees, meanwhile, were also home last night and drew 36,328 for a not-particularly-special matchup against that team from California with a ridiculous name. That makes me nervous. Even back in the early 90s when the Yanks were drawing 14,000 fans a night, left field would fill up with people waiting to see Monument Park ten minutes after the gates opened. Now, with the Yankees drawing almost four million fans per season, left field is packed within five. No joke. The window of time for getting baseballs is minuscule. Someday though, hopefully within my lifetime, every person in the world will have seen Monument Park.
As tough as Yankee Stadium is, I can’t wait to get back. Tonight, I’m seeing my half-brother play in one of his many bands in the East Village, but tomorrow night I’ll be there.