As I pointed out in this very popular post from last month, I got my brother the same thing this year for his birthday as I did last year. Oh, I usually get him tickets to a baseball game but this year I got him tickets to the same stadium with the same teams and the exact same promotion. And oh what a promotion it is: dollar hot dog night! But mother nature did her best to keep us from enjoying this glorious evening...
It rained on and off all day. When we drove to the stadium, it started to pour. As you can see, when we got there, the tarp was on the field. There was hope though because there was a "window" - a small break where there was about two and a half hours of lighter rain and since it was supposed to pour all day Wednesday, it seems they were going to get this game in come hell or, um, high water.
At 8pm, around an hour after the game was supposed to start, they stated to take the tarp off the field. This was by far the loudest cheer of the evening from the home crowd.
You will notice in the upper left hand corner that they were showing the Flyers/Rangers game on the big screen. This was the other highlight of the evening for the Philly fans as the Flyers would win the game (but alas, not the series). Since I hate both of these teams, I was rooting for the meteor all series - but not this night since the Flyers play right next to Citizens Bank Park.
How alike are my brother and I? It took this deluge of rain for us to notice that we independently own matching raincoats. Kinda sad but not the least bit surprising. We also once bought the exact same pair of prescription sunglasses. You'd think we came from the same gene pool or something and grew up in the same house.
An hour and an half rain delay meant that there were plenty of good seats available at game time. The announced crowd was 28,000. My guess is that maybe 5,000 were there at first pitch. And I hold no grudge against any of them. Anyone willing to sit out in this kind of rain and the 45 degree weather (oh, did I mention it was 45 fucking degrees out too? At the end of April?!?) is a hardcore baseball fan. This made our seatmates, even though they were all Phillies fans, quite enjoyable. No smack talk or jackasses at this game. We were all in this together.
As for the game itself, Jonathon Niese obviously likes it cold and rainy because he pitched a wonderful game. Seven innings of three hit ball, his only mistake a fastball to Marlon Byrd that was bone straight that went about 10 rows back in left field.
Niese's mound opponent did not take to the cold and wet as well. Cole Hamels is a California boy and he looked it all night. He was very uncomfortable and couldn't get a grip on the ball. He walked the 8th and 9th hitters at one point to force in a run and I realized "hey, maybe this game could work out well for us..."
And in the end, it did. By the seventh inning, we were the very last people in the third deck of the stadium (they had closed the upper deck early in the game) and the ushers asked us ever so politely to go to the field level so they could go home. My brother and I obliged them and from there we watched the end of the game. It was a real slog through the last few innings as the Mets bullpen decided to go 3-2 on what seemed like every batter. Somehow, though, they did not give up anymore runs and the Mets won the game 6-1. This was the first game my brother and I could recall in a very long time that the Mets won while we were in attendance. My best guess at the last time they won one? This game in Camden Yards in 2010. By the end of the game, there were about 500 fans left in the stadium, half of them Mets fans. Heck, there was more security people than fans by the end. It was a nice, quick, happy ride home in the driving rain. This might also be the first baseball game I have ever attended when I drank more hot cocoa than beer.
Oh, and what about the most important score of the night...who had more hot dogs? Well...
This one was kind of over before it started. My brother decided to go on Weight Watchers right after we decided to go to this game back in February, thus he only had three. I, on the other hand, had seven just to break my mark of six from last year. So yeah, I beat my brother handily in this department. But I am also quite proud of his will power and of the 30 pound he has lost in that time. Of course, when he complained about how cold it was at one point, I told him he would be a lot warmer with 30 more pounds of blubber on him. Sometimes you can't win, huh?