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Adam's Travel Adventures: A chaotic adventure to the Subway Series
Pete Alonso laid waste to the Yankees, while starting pitcher Domingo German's performance wasn't even the biggest collapse I witnessed.
I have always told people that one of my greatest joys in life is going to a live sporting event where I do not have any rooting interest in the outcome of the game.
When I am just there for the vibes, a couple of beers, and watching a game without a single care in the world.
A Red Wings-Rangers hockey game? Awesome! A random NBA game? Perfect! A good, well played baseball game? That is my ideal.
Every summer I tell myself I am going to go on a couple of trips to some neighboring or close by cities to see random games and I rarely, if ever, actually do it. At least not as often as I plan out in my head. I did it earlier this season to see Shohei Ohtani play at Yankee Stadium again, and I did it again this week to take in a Subway Series game between the New York Mets and New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
It just seemed like a potentially fun adventure and atmosphere to be in. Especially as an uninterested third party that didn’t really give two shits about the result.
Not only do I love any chance to go to New York City for a couple of days, but it just had so many potential ingredients for entertainment.
Probably close to a 50-50 crowd split of fans, which always makes for a fun live sporting event.
An underwhelming Yankees team that is loathed by its fans for being so underwhelming.
A badly underachieving Mets team that is also loathed by its own fans for squandering a $350 million payroll.
And both groups of people gathered together in the same place probably loathing each other along with their own teams.
All I had to do was sit back and enjoy the show with a beer.
So I cashed in some credit card points to pay for my hotel, threw some clothes in a backpack, and hit the road Tuesday morning for the game on Tuesday night.
Here is the story of the Mets’ 9-3 win.
Things got off to a rocky start on Tuesday when the weather forecast abruptly changed from sunny and hot to the potential for thunderstorms and rain all afternoon and evening. Normally I wouldn’t care all that much and would just go to the next day’s game in the event of a rainout. But my schedule did not allow for such audibles. It was all or nothing on Tuesday. I also had a damn good seat down the left field line, five rows back in the 200 level so it was imperative for my own sanity that this game get played. And I was prepared to hunker down for whatever rain delay might be ahead.
And while a massive storm did roll through in the afternoon, things dramatically cleared up for the game and an on-time start.
One thing that has always fascinated me about cities that have multiple teams in the same sport as how you can have a team in your city that you don’t actually want to see win. That is a completely foreign concept to me because I come from a place — Pittsburgh — where the locals base their entire identity and personality around the success or failure of the sports teams that have “Pittsburgh” in the name.
I can’t imagine what it’s like to live in New York or Chicago and have a team 25 minutes from you that you are not passionately cheering for. It was once explained to me by a native New Yorker that unless the two teams are playing each other or are both in the playoffs, or unless you have the mentality of a high school kid, nobody really cares that much about the other.
But when they do play each other, all bets can be off.
That was sort of how it turned out on Tuesday.
Yankees and Mets fans happily co-existed on the Subway, arrived in friend groups, and nobody was giving anybody any shit about who they were cheering for or how they were dressed. Honestly, the only thing I heard was somebody in line to get into Yankee Stadium noticing my Pirates hat and saying, “Well you’re certainly a lone wolf here tonight.”
(And he wasn’t even right about that! I saw three other people in Pirates gear!)
I’ve been to both Yankees and Mets games where opposing fans are called out and relentlessly heckled for the entire game. I once saw a guy show up to a Yankees-Angels game wearing a Red Sox shirt in the bleachers and everybody spent more time yelling at him than they did anybody on the field. A Braves fan at Citi Field? Good luck to you!
But this was all pretty tame.
Until the game started.
That was when shit started to get real.
It probably helped that both teams were probably playing for their season.
Both are barely clinging to their dwindling playoff hopes, and with the trade deadline less than a week away they have big decisions to make on whether they buy or sell. It was not only a cross-town rivalry game, but also a massive game for the playoff races. So tensions were a little high.
That is one of the reasons I have always loved watching games in New York. The games really do have a different feel to them, and it is easy to pick up on as an outsider. Nobody is there for the between innings entertainment, nobody is there to just look at the ballpark, and nobody is there without being deeply invested in the result. Every at-bat is big, every pitch matters, every two-strike count seems to take on an extra layer of importance.
And that is just for your run-of-the-mill games. This was an actual big game.
Yankee Stadium needs that sort of atmosphere because the stadium itself is just so …. dull. This is my sixth time there and every time I go I come away feeling a little more underwhelmed with the stadium as a whole. Don’t get me wrong, it is by no means a BAD stadium. It is perfectly fine. It just has no real charm to it. It has no soul. The concourses are bare bones, everything where normal fans are sitting is completely cookie cutter, the food choices are way behind the offerings across the city at Citi Field, and all of the funds and investment seem to be put into the few thousand seats where the rich people sit (like the different club sections).
It is just a really impressively big concrete fortress dropped down in the middle of a neighborhood.
The fans are what give it any personality that it has.
On Tuesday, that personality was mostly ANGER.
Starting pitcher Domingo German was roughed up for six runs, including a pair of home runs by Mets superstar Pete Alonso. He drove in the first five runs of the game, including a three-run home run in the top of the third inning that was an absolute rocket of a line drive. It was both a cheap Yankee stadium home run taking advantage of the short porch down the line, and also one of the hardest hit balls you will see. I don’t think it got more than 20 feet off the ground and still carried far enough to clear the wall.
Two innings later he hit an absolute moon shot to dead center field that resulted in the first “Fuck the Mets” chant of the evening. The frustration from Yankees fans then quickly turned toward their own dugout when Daniel Vogelbach clubbed a home run to right field to go back-to-back during the very next at-bat.
It was at this point where I started to really understand the anger Yankees fans have for manager Aaron Boone and general manager Brian Cashman.
These people are beyond done with that duo.
I kind of get it as it relates to Cashman because I have no idea how this roster has accumulated such a big payroll. Without Aaron Judge in the lineup there is just nothing even somewhat imposing about that team. It’s just a bunch of washed up former stars (Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton) and then a bunch of random guys that you will quickly forget.
You’re the New York Yankees! How are you putting that lineup on the field?!
I don’t know, maybe I am being overly dramatic but Jake Bauers, Billy McKinney and Harrison Bader are not what you envision when you think of the New York Yankees. In 15 years Yankees fans are going to be sitting down at some bar in the Bronx and playing the “remember that fucking guy?” game and getting angry about Billy McKinney suiting up and playing big games down the stretch for them.
I am not even a Yankees fan and it kind of irritates me.
George Steinbrenner would have never let this happen and would have been making the calls to acquire Ohtani himself.
It wasn’t until the Mets made it 7-0 that the Yankees started to show some life and get back into it. But even that fizzled as they loaded the bases twice in the seventh and eighth innings and managed just two runs total out of it. Even that rally would be rendered useless in the top of the ninth when the Mets would add on two more runs.
Overall, I remain jealous of the passion that you feel at these games and how much people are invested.
I am also insanely jealous of how easy it is to get to stadiums that have real, functioning mass transit to them. I am sure if you deal with it every single day you see all of the flaws, but it is remarkably easy to hop on a train 45 minutes before the game starts, get there on time with time to spare, and not have to count your beers so you can drive home. Even with a fully sellout crowd there was almost no wait after the game for a train.
I wish I had that here.
But the game wasn’t even the craziest thing that happened on my adventure. That would take place the next morning when I woke up to the sound of sirens and chaos outside of my hotel room in Hell’s Kitchen.
Sirens are just a constant thing in Manhattan — especially midtown Manhattan — so I have learned in all of my trips there just to accept it. There is always a police car, or ambulance, or fire truck going SOMEWHERE. But this was different because they kept getting closer, they kept getting louder, and they were not going away.
So I stumbled out of bed, walked over to the window, and witnessed people on the streets absolutely sprinting in the same direction. Not really a great sign. Then I heard it. It was the sound of a massive crash. And then I saw it. It was a massive crane on top of a new skyscraper across the street that was tumbling to the ground.
I literally watched it fall over, and then I looked up noticed it was on fire.
It was low-key terrifying because if that thing had completely fallen over my building could have been in the path. Initially the hotel made an announcement over the intercom system to shelter in place, get away from the windows, and to not leave the hotel under any circumstances because it was not safe. They made that announcement two times. Then about 10 minutes later the New York City Fire Department hopped on and basically said, get the hell out of the building we will tell you where to go next.
So I grabbed my shit, threw it all into my bag, and got the hell out of there. It was chaos on the streets as everybody — hotel guests and city commuters — were just staring up at it and filming it as it burned. Apparently there were 10 injuries as a result of everything, which actually seems like a minor miracle that it was not more.
I was planning on hanging around the city in the morning until checkout time, but I decided at that point since I had all of my stuff to just go over to Penn Station and catch the next train back to New Jersey where I parked. I did not even check out of my room. I just left. I am sure the hotel did not care.
In the end, it gave me everything I wanted and more. I got to see a fun baseball game, I ate a ton of good food, met up with a boss of mine for pizza, and saw some real chaos. I would rate it 11/10 and would absolutely do it again. Always buy the ticket and take the trip.