All Summer In A Day

A fleeting moment of happiness in Queens on Opening Day, amid swirling garbage and Mets-fan anxiety.
Share |
See, he looks optimistic, right? Although to be fair his face doesn't move.

Image via Amazin' Avenue.

It was sunny and clear on Monday for Mets Opening Day, with no noisy planes overhead, so we could hear every bit of the conversations around us. The lulling pitter-patter of “fucks” in row 3 bemused our whole group—not just my father, who was new to Mets baseball, but the veterans of the trip to Flushing. I was there with my old roommate; we used to live in Flushing and walk to games along Roosevelt Avenue, through the carbon monoxide haze above the Whitestone Expressway and past the Iron Triangle's auto repair shops and psychotic guard dogs, restrained from tearing you to pieces by chain-link fences that also allow you to look into their eyes and see the contempt you’ve earned. Getting to the game in this way can be loud and gray and windy and sticky and dirty all at once and altogether disorienting, which is why almost nobody does it. Arriving at the park doesn’t seem like you’ve reached paradise, or that you’re free of any of this filth and misery—these are the Mets we’re talking about, after all. In terms of misery and pride, it’s hard to know where the team ends and the rest of Queens begins, except on Opening Day; then, for three hours, people are happy. On Opening Day, Flushing is a place transformed, all smiles and radiance in a generally fraught place just across the way from where your stolen car’s radials are being hawked at a chop shop.

It’s quite a feat to turn this place positive, even during the good times. Carlos Beltran’s strikeout in the 2006 NLCS was a shocking moment that felt like a fait accompli to most Mets fans I know, which is to say most people I know, having chose my local friends wisely. It is easy to take the baseball out of Flushing—the schedule and the Mets' play does it every September—but it’s harder to take the Flushing out of baseball, even during the offseason. I have written this story before, but when Pedro Martinez signed with the Mets in 2005, he was coming off that World Series title with Boston, but his arm was hanging by wires, and everyone knew that if any one of them snapped it would be bad news. I attended the introductory press conference, which was emceed by Mets PR guru (and current Mets “Harlem Shake” auteur) Jay Horwitz, General Manager Omar Minaya, Manager Willie Randolph and King Pedro himself. Everyone gave a little speech; at question time Minaya called on a local reporter in a room bulging with reporters from the Times, News, Post, ESPN, and everywhere else.

To my horror at the time, and my admiration every minute since, the questioner was my nominal co-worker at The Queens Chronicle, Lloyd Carroll. Horwitz wouldn’t have called on Lloyd, and physically braced himself as Minaya unwittingly went off-script, calling on someone who promptly if not unreasonably dropped trou in the middle of the dog-and-pony show. Carroll asked, more or less, ‘Why are you spending millions of dollars on a tiny guy with a bum arm?’ The room went quiet, choked by decorum, and some other reporters laughed at him with ill-disguised contempt for his upsetting of the natural order of things. Lloyd, good Queens guy that he is, didn’t buy the company line that everything would work out. Mets fans almost never do, and they’re right not to do it, just as Lloyd was correct at the time. Pedro’s Mets career had its moments, but was not a success. Lloyd was right to be skeptical. Faith in Flushing is a brutal religion, but the only thing worse than their god’s swift, sure and repeated punishment is being shut out of the church. On the day that changes for the season—when the gates are thrown open again for another year of this—there are smiles in Queens, near the dead water in Flushing Bay and the chop shops, right there in the presence of all that past.

***

Of course, unreserved happiness has a way of getting itself monetized, and Opening Day fun comes at a price. We paid $115 each for tickets, then several denominations more for beer and hot dogs and peanuts and popcorn—my father loves popcorn. Compared with the $55 standing room tickets, I think we got a bargain, trying to fit a season’s worth of happiness into one day. There isn’t the same transience to Opening Day that there is to games two through 162—since this is all there is, this is all you worry about. It was a perfect fit for a visiting father, as it’s clearly the only game we’ll go to his year. Like the Mets fans basking in Opening Day's all-summer-in-a-day sunshine, we had a day to unreservedly enjoy baseball, to start anew, to live in a microclimate. Albeit, in this case, one where napkins and plastic bags darted around the field in increasing numbers until, once there were about 50, the crew finally set about cleaning them up, to thunderous applause.

My dad hadn’t seen anything like it. He lives in Arizona, now, and compared with a semi-recent trip to a Diamondbacks game what we saw at CitiField was barely the same sport. He had taken me to Yankees Stadium as a child, and I remember bustling off the train into a crowded stadium, but Yankee Stadium was still terra firma, the known world. Queens was different. On the 7 train, my dad pored over the subway map and scoffed at a landscape dominated by railroad lines, even if wasn’t new to him—I had lived in the borough for the better part of seven years, though I don't anymore. I had met Dad and my cousin at Grand Central, where hordes of fans in Yankees gear tumbled and chanted toward the 4/5, and Mets fans poured even deeper into Manhattan’s bowels to catch the John Rocker Express. As we neared the stadium, first Arthur Ashe Stadium crawled into view, then the gaudy tents for Cirque du Soleil, a non-sequitur against sooty Northern Boulevard, the very site of Fitzgerald’s forsaken ash heaps in The Great Gatsby. The parking lots were so full—this is true—that one friend who drove in left after two hours of searching for a spot. He’s the father of a four-year-old daughter who's still too young for the opener, but he knew that they'd only need to hit it once for it to matter forever. My dad and I missed it 34 times before getting it right.

And yes, there was baseball, and I did a lot of explaining who was who. My dad might have heard of David Wright; he wasn’t sure, but he thought he had. He certainly didn’t know Marlon Byrd, who had a first inning RBI that led me to stand up and do bird-arms and a loud “CAW!” that the wonderful, foul-mouthed drunks behind appropriated from me for the game’s duration. I told him about Cowbell Man and the formerly poorly hyphenated bespoke jersey he wears—which, reading “Cow Bell-Man,” used to make him sound like a bovine hotel worker. Emmy Rossum sang the national anthem and was quite fetching but missed the high note. Rusty Staub threw the first pitch from about 20 feet, and it was his birthday. My dad liked Brookyn beer more than Stone IPA. He clapped his hands at “Ev-‘ry-bo-dy-clap-your-hands!.” He didn’t clap during Lazy Mary. The answer to the trivia question was “30 Rock.” The ball was under hat number 3.

Oh, also, the game: Edinson Volquez was terrible, David Wright okay, and Collin Cowgill excellent. And then, like that, we were leaving, bouncing down stairs, filling up a Metrocard, and standing clear of the closing doors. It was a good day, but it was over, and Dad was set to spend the rest of the season back in Arizona. First, he’d have to come back to Queens one more time, though, and fly out of LaGuardia. He'd have one last look at the stadium from his seat, the exhaust from his plane mixing with that from the exasperated sighs of Mets fans, wilting the bloom from the rose. Until April rolls around again to make believers of everyone, if just for a day.


Share |

Comments

I don’t know what has happened to the custom of delivering consistent good articles. I hope that the custom comes alive after this..thumbs up for your work. gadgets for men

tesco thank you cards Hello! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing! sainsburys flower delivery

Hello! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing! posicionamiento web

I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page! https://digitaliser.dk/user/3514978

I must say, I thought this was a pretty interesting read when it comes to this topic. Liked the material. . . it services london

I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page! http://images.google.co.id/url?q=http://dramashop.dk/kostume/

A simple bookmarking tool that makes it easy to save, organize and share your favorite web pages. Access your bookmarks from any computer, phone or tablet. Listango works on all modern web browsers… h miracle

I don’t know what has happened to the custom of delivering consistent good articles. I hope that the custom comes alive after this..thumbs up for your work. Office Cubicles

http://images.google.co.za/url?q=http://www.hjertingrejser.dk/kulturrejser Its my great pleasure to visit your blog and to enjoy your great posts here. I like it a lot. I can feel that you paid much attention for those articles, as all of them make sense and are very useful. flowers delivered tesco

We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. Great work. spotify premium hack

I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page! https://www.rebelmouse.com/kellywilson/the-advantages-of-a-private-jet-2316287033.html

I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page! http://ask.buffalostate.edu/index.php?showuser=231738

I don’t know what has happened to the custom of delivering consistent good articles. I hope that the custom comes alive after this..thumbs up for your work.
Mr.. Siu CBC chairman

I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page!
flowers by post asda

Very interesting blog. Alot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that I'm interested in. but I'm most definately interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know.
Health Hubreview com

I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page!
Eu Bookshop com

Great tips and very easy to understand. This will definitely be very useful for me when I get a chance to start my blog.
best bluetooth headphones under 100

I should state, I thought it was quite a fascinating study as it pertains to this matter. Preferred the content. . . fashion variations

Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which I need, thanks to offer such a helpful information here.
drone training

I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page!
pregnancy miracle review

Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which I need, thanks to offer such a helpful information here.
preferentes

A good blog always comes-up with new and exciting information and while reading I have feel that this blog is really have all those quality that qualify a blog to be a one.
gastos hipoteca

Nice information, valuable and excellent design, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which I need, thanks to offer such a helpful information here.
reclamacion gastos hipoteca

I found your this post while searching for some related information on blog search...Its a good post..keep posting and update the information.
clausula suelo banco sabadell

I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page!
Trade12 review

New Buick dealer Harrisburg Easily, the article is actually the best topic on this registry related issue. I fit in with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your next updates. mazda car harrisburg for sale

Kia dealership East Syracuse I don’t know what has happened to the custom of delivering consistent good articles. I hope that the custom comes alive after this..thumbs up for your work. Find Uniontown Cars for sale

Find Allentown Used Nissan trucks I am very happy to read this article .. thanks for giving us go through info.Fantastic nice. I appreciate this post. Find Allentown Used Mitsubishi

New Cadillac dealership Bethlehem I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page! New Buick dealer Philadelphia

BONO CLIP This is also a very good post which I really enjoyed reading. It is not everyday that I have the possibility to see something like this.. free credit reports from all 3 bureaus

Recent times when net has so often gossip mongering and clog; your proportion really refreshes me. music sensation

I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page!
jeecup

The other any ideas what I am doing wrong or how to fix this the be greatly thankful.2011 honda cr-v car covers

I’m happy to find so many useful info here in the post, elegant womenswear

This is also a very good post which I really enjoyed reading. It is not everyday that I have the possibility to see something like this..
Houston Homes

http://ask.buffalostate.edu//index.php?showuser=231738 I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page! http://www.spyspace.me/story.php?title=exclusive-piper-aircraft-dealer-1

I don’t know what has happened to the custom of delivering consistent good articles. I hope that the custom comes alive after this..thumbs up for your work.
custom challenge coins

Its my great pleasure to visit your blog and to enjoy your great posts here. I like it a lot. I can feel that you paid much attention for those articles, as all of them make sense and are very useful.
bv miracle

Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all of us you actually realize what you are talking about! Bookmarked. Please also seek advice from my site =).
Moneylender in Clementi

Great tips and very easy to understand. This will definitely be very useful for me when I get a chance to start my blog.
100 best whatsapp status

I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page!
knee strengthening exercises

Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it. Streetwear

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to start my own BlogEngine blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it.
therapeutic sensual massage baker street

I’m excited to uncover this page. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information in your site.
small hotel near the sea

I found your this post while searching for some related information on blog search...Its a good post..keep posting and update the information.
diet pills for sale

It’s very informative and you are obviously very knowledgeable in this area. You have opened my eyes to varying views on this topic with interesting and solid content. Actually I read it yesterday but I had some thoughts about it and today I wanted to read it again because it is very well written.
Pet transport

Easily, the article is actually the best topic on this registry related issue. I fit in with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your next updates.
Pet travel

I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information in your site.
Strength training

I don’t know what has happened to the custom of delivering consistent good articles. I hope that the custom comes alive after this..thumbs up for your work.
naperville landscaping