As noted yesterday , nice things can happen to people at Citi Field even when they’re not happening to the Mets. When they’re not happening to the Mets, I find myself too grumpy to dwell on them. But with the Mets on a scintillating two-game winning streak , I’m in a good enough mood  to mention a couple of nice things I respectively witnessed and was told of recently.
Sometimes it helps to not be too handy with one’s devices. A few weeks ago I was at Citi Field, fiddling with my phone during BP, noticing my home page had disappeared. It hadn’t actually disappeared, it turned out. It was just hiding, but I didn’t know that, so I kept messing around with it. And the more I mess around with my phone at Citi Field in particular, I’ve noticed, the quicker its battery life gets sucked up. Kind of the way the battery life of Chris Young and Josh Thole would get sucked up that night.
I just happened to have the phone out and in the palm of my hand while a recent Mets-Marlins game was in progress in my presence — the kind of behavior I usually frown upon in myself — when I noticed that literally 36 seconds earlier my Twitter feed was urging anybody celebrating a birthday tonight at Citi Field should Tweet that fact to @Mets.
My birthday’s in December, but the reason I was sitting where I was was that night was, in fact, celebrating a birthday. It was Ross Chapman’s 16th, and because it was Ross Chapman’s 16th, where else would he be but at a ballgame? His parents Sharon and Kevin had arranged for a veritable ballpark party for Ross and his friends, inviting a few adults along in the process, me included, for which I was grateful. In a moment of full cognizance, I Tweeted the appropriate hashtag as directed, gave our seat location and explained in as few characters as I am capable that I was with a birthday celebrant this very minute. Maybe, I mused to myself, somebody will swing by with a cake or something.
Then, because my battery life was getting dangerously sucked up, I turned the phone off and forgot about it. By doing so, I missed the following four messages from @Mets:
• “Congratulations on winning this evening’s #mymetsbirthday. please send your name and hometown.”
• “Greg…are you there? We need your response this inning. Your guest must be in his/her seat in the 4th inning”
• “Greg we are going to have to offer the prize to another contestant. My apologies”
• “Going once…..Going Twice…..”
I’m sitting there blissfully ignorant that Ross has won Birthday Fan of the Game because my home page disappeared hours earlier and because my battery does what it does and, for that matter, because three months earlier I had gotten stuck in the elevator in my building, which makes me very conscious of preserving battery life because without being able to call 911 that day in May on my phone, I’m not convinced anyone would’ve noticed me in there for innings on end (a different Mets-Marlins game had just started and I was damned if I was going to miss it while stuck in an elevator…though, to be fair, I did have my radio on me). Anyway, I didn’t know what was going on, until I thought I heard somebody calling my name.
Somebody was calling my name. It was the Mets Birthday Crew or whatever they call themselves for this promotion. Maybe I was the only one who Tweeted a birthday 36 seconds in to the promotion. Or maybe somebody figured a birthday celebrant shouldn’t suffer in the face of somebody else’s technological neglect, a.k.a. my not monitoring my phone properly. Whatever, the Mets showed up, Ross was pointed out, he was presented with his Carvel gift certificate (which I’m told a certain Carvel in the middle of New Jersey refuses to honor, but that’s another story) and the birthday boy’s party was featured on CitiVision for the whole park to see, as his mom’s photo can attest.
But it doesn’t even have to be your birthday for something good to happen to you out of the blue/orange at Citi Field. Hell, you don’t even have to be Ike Davis taking one final swing against the Astros.
At the beginning of the last homestand, the one with all those losses to the Rockies, I detoured from my lovely Monday evening  with Sharon and fellow bloggers Taryn Cooper and Ray Stilwell to say hi to my buddy Jim. He and his friend George were raving about those new Pat LaFrieda steak sandwiches, and not just for the usual tasty reasons. See, Jim and George had arrived at the ballpark not long after the gates had opened. After reading the rave reviews , they made a beeline to Pat’s stand beyond center field and were the very first customers of the night. A coupla sandwiches, a coupla beers…it was all looking very promising.
Except for one thing. The cash register wouldn’t work. Wouldn’t open. Wouldn’t operate. Nothin’. There’s the food and drink on the other side of the glass and Jim and George are apparently irrevocably separated from it because there’s no practical way to effect a transaction. Jim would not have been surprised to have been expelled from the stadium as some sort of penalty for ordering the stuff in the first place. Yet the matter was resolved in a manner that left our patrons happily dumbfounded.
“OK, you get the sandwiches for free.”
No, they really did. Jim was disbelieving and offered up compensation, but no, the register malfunction meant this was their lucky day, except for one caveat.
“But you don’t get the beer.”
“Oh no!” overruled a manager on the scene. “They get the beer, too!”
Jim repeated the dialogue for me as if he couldn’t believe that was the outcome. It was almost less believable than how badly the Mets were going to waste R.A. Dickey’s sublime pitching that night.
“But you don’t get the beer.”
“Oh no! They get the beer, too!”
More dumbfoundedness. That’s two steak sandwiches and two beers, approximately $46 in consumable merchandise, on the arm, as Jim likes to put it.
Yes, this was real. Yes, they ate and drank free. Yes, they enjoyed it very much.