By Joyce Mandelkern
The Mandelkerns are hitting the road with the Mets. We are going to Arizona and going to 3 of the 4 games scheduled there. No, I am not a stalker or a groupie. We actually go back and forth to Arizona very often during the course of the year. It is our home away from home. However, this trip is scheduled around the Mets. And for the record, seeing the Mets on the road goes against everything I stand for. I will explain.
I don't like when fans of visiting teams come into our house and root against our team. I find this very disrespectful. I know it is not rational or logical, it is just how I feel. I feel it invades the sanctity of the stadium. It is for "us". It is our place of worship so to speak. You may enter, but be quiet and respectful. Observe, don't disrupt. I know where this feeling comes from and I will explain it more in detail before the series that will take place at Shea the weekend of May 18th.
I have only gone to see the Mets play outside of Shea twice in all my years of being a fan. When we first got married, Pete and I lived in Atlanta. It was 1979 and we actually went to Atlanta Fulton County Stadium to see the Mets play the Braves. We were in different divisions at that time. The Mets were terrible. We had Frank Taveras and Willie Montanez. The Braves had Dale Murphy and Bob Horner. I don't remember having much to cheer about so I can't imagine I offended any Braves fans while they did their chopping.
The other time was this past fall when the Mets played the Dodgers in the playoffs. Our youngest son had been transferred to Southern California in July and he is as big a Met fan as we are. When we found out that the Mets were going to play the Dodgers he suggested we come out there for a visit and all go to the game. He was dying to go and we were dying to see him. So "stub hub" it was and off we went to Dodger Stadium. We wore our Met hats and shirts and let me tell you, we had nothing but trouble the whole game. People were throwing things at us and taunting us the whole time. We told security, the people around us pointed out who the culprits were, yet they did nothing and did not care. All security did was offer to show me where I could buy a Dodger hat instead of wearing the "wrong" hat. Plus, it took us 2 hours to get out of the parking lot. All in all, except for the win, a frightening experience.
So why this trip to Chase Field you may ask. Well, first of all, our son from California is meeting us there and our son and daughter-in-law are coming with us so we are all going to the games together and having a mini family vacation. We have been to Chase Field, when it was the BOB. We didn't see the Mets there, however. Two things stand out in my mind. They sold strawberries and whipped cream which I thought was amazing at a stadium. And, I had never been in a stadium that was so steep. Our seats were so high up that we were all dizzy and nauseous. No joke. I couldn't look at the field. I had to sit at an angle and look directly at other seats. We were with all the kids and we all voted to leave because none of us could handle it. When it came to walk down the aisle, I had to bump down on my rear end I was so scared. This time, we have seats on field level - "stub hub" again.
So here is my ethical dilemma and one my oldest son and I have been debating about. He feels strongly that I should leave my Met clothes and hat home and go incognito. I understand his point completely but I don't think I can do that. Nor do I think I can sit on my hands and not clap and cheer. Yet I don't want to become one of those fans I hate. Please feel free to weigh in.
Last year, the Mets broke out on their West Coast trip. The Jason Grimsly story broke just as they got to Arizona. Things are different for both teams this year. The Mets need a strong road trip. It is time to put things together and as our fearless leader would say, "get into a nice little rhythm".
Arizona is my "happy place". It is where I go to exhale and sometimes even to hide. I hope the Mets don't ruin it for me.