Sunday In The City–A Lot More Than Baseball

The real suprise and a true show stopper was Katie Finneran playing Marge MacDougall, a sloshed, possibly widodwed, pick-up on Christmas Eve. She was deliciously ditzy in an over-the-top role that could only appear on Broadway!

I’m writing this Monday afternoon. That says a lot about how busy we were Sunday!

Helaine bought tickets to the weekend Phils/Mets series at Citi Field. Originally the Sunday game was scheduled for 1:00 PM. That was before ESPN decided it would be the Sunday night game starting at 8:00 PM.

What was a baseball/motel/baseball plan became baseball/motel/filler/baseball plan. The question was how to fill?

Stef stepped up first. It was she who suggested going to brunch. After a little research (they have the Internet in California) she suggested Max Brenner’s in Union Square, a restaurant none of us had heard of. Max Brenner’s specializes in meals built around chocolate.

We left our motel near LaGuardia/Citi Field, walked to 111 Street and hopped on an inbound #7 train.

The Corona neighborhood where we boarded the train is mostly Hispanic. The train itself was a mini-UN. A woman sat across from us reading a Korean newspaper (with ads for State Farm Insurance and Dodge vans). There were a few groups of young Chinese girls near the door. Spanish was being spoken everywhere. It’s possible we were the only people within eyesight who spoke English as our sole home language.

We headed to Times Square, walked up a level to the downtown platform and took the local to Union Square. The restaurant was just a block away.

Breakfast was delish!

I had Belgian waffles with fresh strawberries, fresh whipped cream, shaved white chocolate and fresh strawberry syrup (plus a white chocolate syrup I never touched, but looked great). Helaine had fresh berry pancakes with blood orange syrup.

We headed out on foot down Broadway then past NYU’s sprawling non-campus to Washington Square Park. The park’s fountain was shooting water skyward and the area was alive with people this cloudy Sunday (and people with dogs).

Washington Square is a beautiful park. It’s the iconic symbol of Greenwich Village–the neighborhood within the city. This is the common meeting area. We even saw one couple get married in the park!

We walked around the Village a little longer, but it was cloudy and threatening. Back to the subway and back to Times Square.

Sunday is matinée day for the theater. We got half price tickets at TKTS for Promises Promises the Neil Simon/Hal David/Burt Bachrach revival starring Sean Hayes and Kristen Chenoweth.

I’ve gotten excellent tickets at TKTS in the past, but this was a summer Sunday and we were there at the very last minute. We sat in heaven, way up in the second mezzanine.

Twenty years ago this would have been a problem. Today Broadway performers are so well miked the sound was great though we were a little far to see facial nuances.

Promises Promises is a great show with songs you already know and a full Broadway orchestra. Kristen Chenoweth was good, but Sean Hayes (Will and Grace) was surprisingly excellent. He’s an OK singer, but an excellent comedic actor in a show which demands just that.

The real suprise and a true show stopper was Katie Finneran playing Marge MacDougall, a sloshed, possibly widowed, pick-up on Christmas Eve. She was deliciously ditzy in an over-the-top role that could only appear on Broadway!

The show broke and we walked through a now soggy Times Square back to the 7 train. It’s astounding how quickly the vendors found umbrellas to sell! Today’s going rate was $5 (pronounced “figh dollar”). I expect the rate is as fluid as the weather.

The train back to Queens was crowded, but surprisingly Mets fans weren’t a large constituency. The 7 allows the central city to unload to the less glamorous neighborhoods along its right-of-way. That’s what took up the bulk of the space.

After a quick change at the motel (and an unexpected courtesy van lift to the stadium) we were back at Citi Field. It was raining, but not heavily enough to delay a nationally televised game. The fans in the stands are second class citizens in this equation.

I want to stop for a minute to say something nice about the Mets: Citi Field and the Citi Field employees.

The stadium itself is very nice. The walking areas are wide. Food is plentiful and actually worth eating! Though Subway has a large billboard in the outfield advertising their $5 foot longs, they’re $7.50 here.

Last night as we walked from our van down a deserted footpath toward the main stadium entrance we passed a young woman casually guarding a VIP entrance. As we came within a few feet she smiled and said, “Enjoy the game.”

It seemed totally spontaneous and genuine. This woman was representative of every Citi Field employee we met! Every single one was friendly, helpful and genuinely glad to see us there… even though we were wearing Phillies shirts.

The fans were equally friendly to us. I suspect they would not receive the same welcome at Citizens Bank Park in Philly. I apologize in advance. It now seems very unfair.

I understand from a Facebook friend the Mets took their blue collar team and, in building a new stadium, priced them out of the park. Judging by the sparse weekend crowd I suspect that’s true and a shame. Unsold seats do no one any good.

Saturday we sat on the first base side in the 400 level. Sunday’s tickets were on the opposite side six rows back in the 300’s. The seats were comfortable and the sight lines very good.

What luck–we were under cover!

This was a great weekend series for two Phillies fans. The Phils won both games (with the help of the floundering Mets who made more errors than runs this weekend).

Our 8:00 PM game wasn’t over until after 11:00 PM. We got home around 1:30 AM. TV friendly isn’t family friendly.

It was a great weekend. I now need a few days off to recuperate.

The Perfect Sunday

Her perfect Sunday is spent wearing pajamas, sitting on the sofa watching the NFL.

“Fine.” That was Helaine’s answer when asked if her sports expectations were answered today. The Phillies won big. The Eagles won bigger.

Helaine has said, and I have often repeated, her perfect Sunday is spent wearing pajamas, sitting on the sofa watching the NFL. Wish granted. She was down here when I came downstairs and has remained on the sofa “with limited commercial interruptions&#135” ever since.

Because of yesterday’s inclement weather the Phils play a second game against the Mets tonight. Remember when baseball used to have single admission Sunday doubleheaders? I do too. MLB seems to have forgotten. They make the schedules.

If the Phils win tonight they will be tied with the Mets–again. Helaine will sleep like a baby.

&#135–Helaine reminds me she did two loads of laundry and made dinner while the games were on. I stand corrected, in clean clothes, well fed.

Put Another One In The Win Column For The Fightin’ Phils!

Today was the JDRF walk. More on that later. I was bushed after the walk (it’s really early for me), and took a nap when we got home.

By the time I woke up, Helaine was safely ensconced on the sofa. The Mets game was on the TV. The Phillies game was on her laptop.

The Phils were already leading. The Mets were being clobbered. Helaine was in a good mood.

As it turned out, neither lead changed. The Mets lost, ending a season which will be (arguably) compared to the biggest chokes in sports history. The Phillies, counted out in the first month of the season, became the National League East champs.

This is very exciting. Ryan Howard called the atmosphere at the ballpark, “electric.”

Seven of the eight teams that get into the playoffs will leave in disappointment… will leave losing their last game. Still, hope springs eternal. Never give up.

Waiting Up For Me

Usually, when I come home from work, Helaine is already asleep. I understand her plight. Light sleeping Helaine needs to get some quality pillow time before “Snoring Geoff” comes to bed.

Last night, as I pulled in front of our house, I noticed a light on in the family room. She was awake, and I knew why.

Sitting on the sofa, Helaine had her laptop running with the Phillies game on. As is often her custom in a close game, the sound was down.

Just in case you’re not a baseball fan, let me get you caught up. The Phils began the season by losing nearly a month’s worth of games. As spring progressed, it was easy to see the Phils weren’t going to have a good year.

As poorly as the Phillies played, the Mets were their opposite. They were steamrolling through the regular season and by the first days of summer, post season play seemed inevitable.

And then it changed!

I’m not sure how, but the Phillies have clawed their way back. It’s obviously been done with smoke and mirrors, because they don’t have any relief pitching. I say that and I’m a fan!

So, as we stand now, the Phillies are tantalizingly close to catching the Mets, but the season is dwindling. That’s why last night’s game against St. Louis was keeping Helaine up.

The Phillies went ahead in the top of the 9th only to give up the lead in the bottom of the inning. The 9th became the 10th and then the 11th. With every Cardinal batter we feared… no, we knew, the wheels would come off the cart and the Phillies would lose.

They didn’t.

In the 14th inning and out of position players, the Phillies scored three, held on and won! Jose Mesa, the General Custer of closers, pitched two flawless innings.

Poor Helaine. For her, it was the middle of the night!

Odds are we’ll end the season disappointed. The Phils are still 1&#189 games out of first and 1&#189 games behind the San Diego Padres for the Wild Card. They need to catch up to play on, and with other teams in front, it’s might be out of their control.

Right now, it’s just fun rooting for them. They seem to want to win.

It was also very nice to see my wife when I got home. Thanks Phils.