Section 10 was where we ended up after complaining to the ticket office about the fact that it freaking RAINED on us in Row B, which was underneath the rafters, in Section 22. See, in 2003, or more aptly after the 2003 season, you could effectively call to complain to the ticket office and threaten to not renew your ticket plan. And they would be all over you to renew, and do anything to keep you around. Unlike today, when you threaten to not re-up in CitiField, and they basically laugh in your face and hang up the phone in your ear. Anyway, life in Section 22, as I chronicled, was pretty rowdy. Not so much in Section 10. Veeeeerrrrry "family friendly." Fred Wilpon would be pleased at the lack of cursing, lack of chanting and overall just respectful clapping of your team. How uneventful.
Mr. E. and I also sat in the same seats in Section 10 -- Row B, seats 1 & 2. These two guys, Mark and Eddie (left to right, flanking yours truly, below), sat in seats 3 & 4. Still do. But pretty much for the 2004 season, we barely exchanged a word. Maybe "Excuse me" every once a while, when we'd have to navigate the seats to accomodate our bags, our drinks, our food, and when people around us decided to get up.
The first time we ever truly spoke was a funny situation. One game in 2005, Mr. E couldn't make it, and I wanted to go, so I made the trip to Shea by myself. I think it was a good giveaway or something. Anyway, I get to the stadium early and start walking around. I get some food, grab a program, and head to my seats. But when I get there, see, there's a girl sitting in one of the Coop seats. I say, rather snarkily I might add, "Excuse me, these seats are taken." Without a fight, she gets up, and I sit down in seat 2, my "usual" seat. The crowd heads in, takes their seats, and I start keeping score once the game starts. A guy, not the usual Mark or Eddie, starts asking me how long I've been keeping score. We strike up a conversation and I realize something...the crowd starts getting rowdy. I mean, it's seriously the second inning of a game in 2005. 2005 was a pretty good year, but much too early.
But something was also different. I didn't recognize anyone from my section. But I figured...well, maybe everyone sold their tickets. Yeah, right. I didn't see the lady who sits in the section to my right (who you'll read about soon), the two guys who sit next to me and Dad aren't there...even the nice grey-haired gentleman with the two little boys, nowhere to be found. But I knew I was in trouble when the two stoners from Hofstra weren't yelling, "What d'ya sayyyyyy...Cliff....BANGER!" whenever Cliff Floyd was at bat...where was everybody? I didn't care though, this crowd reminded me of the old days in Section 22.
But as I looked to my right, I noticed the lady and her son in their seats...not an aisle away but an aisle, a section and a whole other aisle separating us. It was then I saw the two dudes, the Hofstra boys, even the guy with the two little boys. Rather sheepishly, I might add, I turn to the guys I was sitting next to and said..."Um, yeah...I made a mistake. I'm sitting in the wrong section."
It was the third inning by now. And I was embarrassed but laughing, I might add. I go to my real seats. And I had to ask who I now know as Mark, the son, to scootch over, because he was in my seat. And I said, "Before I tell you what happened to me, I have to say I am truly embarrassed to say I have no idea what your names are." And I found out they were a father and son team from Long Island. Mark and I email each other in the offseason and to check in on each other once in a while. They have Jets season tickets, and I plan on going to a game with them sometime this season.
Now when I first noticed the people below, the mother / son team of Julie and Ben (also from Long Island), well, let's just say I don't even know if Julie remembers this. But my first impression of her was: feisty mama bear. And I loved her from the word go, even though we never uttered a word to each other.
So, providing you've been to Shea Stadium at least once in your lives, you know that the fifth inning brings out the Pepsi Party Patrol, who launch the t-shirts from their "cannons." Now, when I bring people to the Coop box now, they say, "There's no way a shirt can get up here, right?" Wrong. I've seen those shirts reach heights in the upper box. Anyway, this one particular Saturday, Ben, who I guess must have been nine, turning 10 (as he turned 13 last year), at the time, decided he was going to try to catch a t-shirt. Well, as fate would have it, a shirt came directly our way, but to his chagrin, the gentleman in the Mezz Box in front of him was taller and just edged Ben out of reach of the shirt.
Now think back to when you were nine or 10. That disappointment would have devastating. And Ben was no different. He was visibly upset and went over to Julie, crying a little. Instead of telling him, "Honey, it's a free t-shirt, don't get too upset" (which my mom would have told me, ha ha), she was instead, "He did WHAT?!?!?" (in her delicious Long Island accent). She runs over the guy, yells at him...you could tell the look on his face (now in this dude's defense, he didn't knock the kid over, I think he honestly didn't realize a little kid was behind him), he was scared to death of this woman, chastising him for sleighting her child.
That wasn't all -- she told the head security guard (whom I found out she is very good friends with) about it...and the next time they had a home run hit, they gave the ball to Ben, and he was on Diamond Vision. So see, it's nice to get riled up. Mr. E and I called Julie (when we didn't know her name) "Feisty Lady."
I feared her, yet wanted to become her.
Anyway, short story even longer, there was a 3:55 pm on a Saturday in late 2005, and I might have had a few beers on the way to the stadium. So I was a little happy. Finally, i had the guts to introduce myself to these people. Her reaction? "Well, you know, you've only been sitting here for two years now, it's about time you introduced yourself."
I wonder what she called me. In fact, she thought my dad (who looks very young, with his bleach blond Nascar mullet) might have been my brother. Very surprised.
I'm not sure if I'll miss Shea. I'll miss certain things about Shea, and Julie & Ben and Mark & Eddie are definitely four things I will certainly miss on Saturdays. I will miss sitting in the same vicinity as these wonderful wonderful folks.
And I remember when I was a little girl sitting in Section 22 of the Loge, thinking of the friends my dad and Uncle Gene made as a result of going to all those games. And hoping, someday, I would have those same friends. Well, I do. And I did. And I'm grateful for my Summer Family at Shea, my summer home.