It’s not that I don’t like Staten Island. Wait, that’s not true. I don’t like Staten Island.
Okay, well, it’s not that nothing good happens in Staten Island. Wait, that’s not true either. Every time I’ve ever gone to this poor excuse for a borough, I’ve been disappointed. I always go thinking, there must be something good about this burg and then….there’s not. It’s just as isolated, run-down and lacking in good taste as I remembered.
But then, I give it one more chance, as I did last night. I decided to go to a Staten Island Yankee game because I’d never been there and it was just steps from the Staten Island terminus of the ferry. How bad could it be, right? Wrong! I was about to experience the most surreal time I’ve ever had at a professional baseball stadium (let’s include Little League in that).
I was excited because I had seats in the second row behind the Yankees dugout and they were only $20 each — full price. It rained hard all day in NYC and most of my friends bailed but Larry and I are made of sturdier stock and we persevered. The sun actually came out at 5 and the game was at 7 and, according to the Yankees’ website, it was on. A game against the Muckdogs! I was just hoping to buy a Muckdog hat.
We took the ferry and it was a beautiful night. The stadium was beautiful too. The men at the door took our tickets and waved us in. Easy peasy. But then, I said to Larry, “How come there’s no noise.” We looked out onto the field — no teams on the field, no teams in the dugout. We asked some guy what was going on. “They’re trying to get the field dry,” he said. “They said no earlier than 7:30.”
Okay, well, it was already 7:20 so Larry and I took our seats and admired the stadium with its gorgeous view of the skyscrapers of Manhattan. Now mind you, the concession stands were open and we bought a dog and a beer along with some peanuts. Take me out to the ballgame, y’all!
We chatted for about 20 minutes and then noticed the lights were not on and the grounds crew (three teenagers) seemed to be practicing how to fold the tarp out in the outfield. STill no sign of the ballplayers. No one was warming up, stretching or mingling with the 200 or son fans in the stands. It felt oddly intimate, like seeing your sister’s lingerie.
There were a bunch of teenagers from a Christian camp near us chanting and trying desperately to get a wave started. I waved back at them. “What are they chanting?” I asked Larry. “I love Jeter?” I was thinking, that’s weird — he retired last year.
“No, they’re chanting I love Jesus!” he said. Ah, Jesus is not retired!
That was one of the few things on this night that made sense.
Soon, we and the teenagers were the only people left in the stadium. We kept waiting for some type of announcement or message on the giant television. Nothing. I was throwing peanut shells all over the place. It’s one of the reasons I go to baseball games — so I can throw peanut shells wherever I damn please! But I did feel kind of bad for the teen girl trying to clean up my mess. It seems I was the only person in the entire stadium leaving such a mess. Finally I said to her, “Have they called the game?”
“They called it a long time ago,” she said.
“Say what?! You mean a team called the Muckdogs can’t play on a wet field?”
Larry and I left our seats to see what was going on. The concession stands were closed. Everything was closed. Rod Serling was nowhere in sight. The box office was open and they had a deal for us — we could exchange our seats for another game in August. I’m embarrassed to say I jumped at the chance. Staten Island is bound to have one good day….one of these days.