Those who expressed sentimentality over Shea's impending demise won a trip to sit inside its condemned walls for an hour this afternoon until postponement rendered the visit moot. Second prize was to sit there all day and all night.
Alas, rain, wind, generally glacial conditions and uncommon sense knocked off my first game at Shea for 2006 before it could materialize in earnest, though not before I spent $10 on a yearbook, $4 on a program, $5 on a slice of square high school cafeteria pizza, $4.50 on the worst French fries to ever bear the Nathan's imprimatur and $4.00 on a pretzel as cold as the weather itself.
Getting the bleep out of there before I caught the flu? Priceless.
It was supposed to be Kids Opening Day, which was appropriate because children who think they love the Mets better start learning right now what being a baseball fan entails. It ain't all sunshine, green grass and Guy Conti tossing you a souvenir. It's sitting outside on April afternoons disguised as January at dusk as much as it's anything. It'll still be that, incidentally, when Sheabbets Field opens in all its roofless grandeur. There'll be more places to take your money while you wait (and more of your money to take), but come 4/09 it will still be early and it will still be freezing and rain will still come down as wet as it did when Robert Moses decided to stick us all out in Queens.
The theme of the day was also appropriate in that I wrapped myself tight in an orange hoodie, anxiously eyeballed two unidentified Marlins loosening their fins down the left field line with a game of catch and wondered when I would get too old for sitting, shivering and hoping against hope that baseball would be played, no matter how steep the buckets that were coming down. Hasn't happened yet, so I guess it was Kids Opening Day for me, too.
Except they didn't hand me anything but a bill.