The spouse politely listens when I mention some sporting event, but she is not much of a sports fan. She was for a brief span. She rooted for the Knicks decades ago in their glory years when they won championships. Since she had not been raised as a sports fan, she did not grasp that watching your team win championships was not the norm. She found it too painful to watch the losses when, as was inevitable, the Knicks slipped. Since then, while she has a pretty good understanding of the sports scene, she has not truly been a fan of any team.
Through the years, however, we have gone to a some baseball games, a few of them memorable, at least to me, including the one Reggie Jackson said was his second most exciting performance, where he hit a walk-off home run against the Red Sox. The game that may bring back the most memories to the spouse, however, was one that was a fiasco.
Marty, who had started working in the same lab where the spouse did, said that she had never attended a major league baseball game and would like to. The spouse might have accompanied Marty as a friend in any event, but the spouse became more enthusiastic when she discovered that after a particular Mets game the Grucci brothers were putting on a fireworks display. She was a fireworks fan and the Grucci brothers to her were the Baryshnikovs of artistic aerial displays. She was excited.
We drove to the game, and, to our surprise, after a lengthy search, we found that the parking lot was filled. The spouse said that I should go into the stadium while she looked for a spot because she did not care about the game. I found Marty and her husband already there in our seats in the second row of the upper deck almost behind home plate. The spouse did not arrive until the third inning. She did not then have a handicap parking permit, but she had spied a lot attendant and showed him her disability, and she proudly announced that she was parked in some special slot right next to the stadium.
We shared and ate the sandwiches and treats we had brought, and then it started. It wasn’t much of a rain, perhaps not even a drizzle, something just slightly more than a mist. Our excellent seats now were not so good. We had no protection from the dampness. Fifth inning, sixth, seventh it persisted. Marty and husband had had enough and headed for the subway. We persisted. The spouse wanted to see those fireworks. In exasperation, she said, (perhaps you might say whine, but she never whines), “Why don’t they call the game?” The field was getting sloppier but still passable, and I explained, “They won’t simply end the game. Instead they will announce a rain delay to see if it stops, and it can take an hour or more before they call the game off.”
We stuck it out. The game ended. And then the announcement. Because of the wet weather, there would be no fireworks. “Disappointment” would not be the right word for the spouse’s reaction. Anger, maybe, but more like rage. (Ok, I will succumb to saying it.) Madder than a wet hen.
We headed for the car. It was right next to the stadium. Good for getting to the seats. Bad for getting out of the lot. We were last in line for the exit, and whoever had designed the parking, had not had a plan for efficient egress. Now I was saying, “Idiot” (preceded by expletives).Perhaps forty-five minutes to get beyond the gates, but the stadium crowd and the holiday weekend traffic meant only bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go traffic on the expressway. Ninety minutes after the game ended we were inching along the Grand Central Parkway still in sight of the stadium behind us when we heard BOOM. Then a moment later, another BOOM. We looked out of the rear view mirrors. Fireworks over Shea.