Nothing like victory to turn Shea indignities into amusements.
Your co-bloggers and their wives, famous in these precincts for their remarkable patience, took up residence in the upper deck within high-fiving distance of planes leaving La Guardia, and immediately had to marvel at our neighbors to the immediate rear. These guys should have been the subjects of some kind of medical experiment: They combined the manic energy of puppies with the alcohol capacity of Viking war chiefs. They were plenty obnoxious (though at least they didn’t seem to have a mean bone in their bodies), and in an 11-1 loss would no doubt have become unbearable companions early. But as accompaniments to a distant 4-1 win that never seemed particularly in doubt? What the heck. They were tolerable and even fitfully amusing. Or at least ignorable.
Similarly, getting from the top of the upper deck to the 7 train was not an odyssey for the timid. It took half an hour, much of that spent in the human equivalent of stop-and-go traffic on the south side of Roosevelt Avenue, watching one particularly wasted youth climb over the fence (topped with really nasty, sharp metal twists that you wouldn’t want anywhere near your crotch or your palms) between the street and the parking lot four times, falling twice. He kept going back and forth, and I don’t have the faintest idea why. Maybe he just liked falling off fences. (In perhaps the least-surprising development in the history of Shea Stadium, he turned out not to have a Metrocard.) As before, in an 11-1 loss this confinement and nearby dipshittery would have been torture. After taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the NLDS? It was surreal and kind of fun — Would we ever reach the 7? Would Asshat Boy fall off the fence again? Would he respond to the crowd’s increasingly inventive taunts?
Then there was our 7 car — wow. A trio of Shea vendors who’d changed back into their Yankee gear and were rehearsing really lame gangsta raps. Some braying doofus complaining that the top team in each league should just go right to the World Series and suggesting that an NLCS win against the Cardinals “would exorcise the ghosts of Jack Clark and John Tudor.” (Huh?) And, interspersed with drunk staggering Met fans, the handful of outer-borough locals who’d gotten on the empty 7 at Main Street in Flushing and looked up in uncomprehending terror when 56,000 people stormed their car a stop later.
(Oh, and once the 7 finally crawled its way to Times Square, the 2 was running local. OK, that wasn’t so amusing.)
Speaking of taunts, one of our upper-deck neighbors deserved a seat upgrade for high-quality tormenting of Kenny Lofton after his demand that a bus be moved from behind the outfield fence and out of the batter’s eye. (He wasn’t wrong — what idiot thought that was a fine place for a bus? — but let’s ignore that.) After Lofton struck out, the heckler fired off a string of gems, beginning with “TURN OFF THE SCOREBOARD! I CAN’T SEE THE BALL!” and progressing to “TIME OUT — THERE’S PAINT ON THE FIELD!” Good stuff — but, alas, completely inaudible to the players a quarter-mile below. That guy should have been escorted to a spot behind the Dodger dugout at once.
And finally, the elevator at Clark Street, which was filled with Met fans and one young woman in a Yankee shirt, accompanied by her Met-affiliated boyfriend. That was fine. It was even fine when she sighed that “I’m surrounded.” But it was not fine when she began woofing that it didn’t matter, because the Yankees were going to go all the way, that they’d win the Subway Series again.
Normally I let this kind of thing ride; after an 11-1 loss I certainly would have. But after pushing the Dodgers to the brink — and on the same day the Tigers had beaten That Other Team? Nuh-uh.
“Yankees, huh — whose name do you have on the back?” I asked. (Confession: I already knew.)
“Um…A-Rod,” she said.
“Ohh,” I said. “The clutch hitter.”
The car began to snicker.
“I didn’t even buy this shirt,” she stammered. “Someone gave it to me.”
“He was great today,” I said. “And he’s like a .500 hitter — if you’re up 10 or down 10.”
Open laughter now. The Yankee girl hid her face in her boyfriend’s shoulder. And as we walked out of the station, I heard her mutter “it’s true — I hate like half my team.”
Ah, winning. It really does change everything.