Friday, September 12, 2008

Shea Stadium: Exploration, A Rain Delay and Goodbye

wouldn't you know it... it is still raining and there is no sign of it letting up. That's the bad news. The good news is that Oweghn could really care less if there is a game. He has a hot dog, some cotton candy and a huge, empty stadium to explore with Daddy, and so explore we did.

Of course, the exploration came after we re-energized with some ballpark dogs and a quick stop by the Mets store to gear up on the standard collectibles (baseball and mini-bat) and a home-team cap for Oweghn.

Since it was raining and the seats were wet, we found a dry spot on the covered concourse and enjoyed the hot dog (I was able to enjoy a commemorative Bud Light). We also got a big bucket of cotton candy (one of the essential pieces of memorabilia that never seems to make it back home).

Once we had eaten our fill, we headed out to explore the wet and empty stadium. Oweghn discovered his favorite seat, actually, it was every seat along the top row of the stadium from which he could see Manhatten, the stadium across the way, the trains and the weather. As the upper rows were actually covered, there were people sitting up there, and I quickly learned how quick and elusive Oweghn can be as he dashed over, under and between people and their seats as he headed towards the edge of the stadium. I stumbled after him as best I could but he quickly distanced himself. Once a caught up, we had a fun little photoshoot up in the stands.

Eventually we made it down to where our seats were, well, would have been if there had been a game. Again, something Oweghn won't figure out until he reads this and sees these pics but man, what an experience that would have been! BTW, we got these tickets and the tickets for the Yankees game off of StubHub and I'm impressed (now if we can incorporate their stadium maps into SideStreet).

Here is a little video:

Rain, Rain Go Away!

It just won't stop raining...

And so we arrived wet (but not yet weary) in Flushing, NY to catch the first of our double-header. Oweghn took the umbrella and started to do his own rendition of that dude from "Singing In The Rain" and for the first time I get a good look at Shea Stadium with the new stadium just about sharing the same exterior wall.

And it continued to rain...

So I started to think about the fact that the rain was not going away and, while it really doesn't impact us native Oregonians (OK, so I'm a native Virginian, adopted Oregonian), it might actually impact a New York baseball team's ability to play baseball. Rain delay? That would be fine as we really have no other plans and, being on West coast time (along with our earlier nap), we weren't going to tire out any time soon. Cancellation? That would be disappointing. We could make a game the next day, but then we'd miss out on the Statue of Liberty, but we came out to watch baseball, but then I'm not really sure what the Mets cancellation policy is so I'm hoping we will hear those two engaging words tonight: "Play Ball!"

So we did what anyone would do in our situation. Headed for the nearest stand and ordered some hot dogs, some cotton candy (and for Daddy a cold, refreshing beverage in a commemorative container). Our seats were uncovered and wet so, along with thousands of other fans, we found dry spots on the concourse, sat down, and enjoyed one of Nathan's finest.
And it continued to rain...
Ah, the innocence of youth, the harassment of knowledge. No matter what we did, I could not get this nagging, harassing feeling that we would not witness Jose Reyes and Johan Santana and David Wright lead the New York Metropolitans to victory this evening. But we are a lemonade family (the product of being dealt lemons).

Zero Visibility

Mid-day through our first day here in NYC and Oweghn is having trouble waking up from a much-needed nap. We walk briskly for a few blocks and then we arrive at our destination (great central location for the hotel), the Empire State Building. My friend Makiko of NYC tourism has graciously offered to take me and Oweghn to the top of NYC and so we meet in the 5th Avenue lobby and catch up on things before we head up.

As Oweghn and I had been heading over to the Empire State Building, we had to borrow an umbrella from the front desk as it was raining! Can you believe this? Rain? That is definitely maxing out the humidity but I was thinking we could have left that behind in Oregon. Also, it gets me to thinking about the night's baseball game... Not a good sign.

So we started heading up and ignored the incessant reminders from every single staff member along the long and winding road to the entrance that there was "Zero Visibility." Soon enough, after a speedy ascent, we found out for ourselves.

Oweghn was having a blast jumping through the puddles and taking on the wind gusts up on the 86th Floor Observatory Deck. Makiko and I were trying to see if there would be any breaks where we could show Oweghn just how high we were. After the wind took out both of our umbrellas, we decided to head inside and see if the visibility changed at all by being on the other side of the glass wall. It didn't...

So we headed back down and got Oweghn one of those fun commerative pennies (you know the one that you hand crank and get a flattened penny with the Empire State Building on it?).

We stopped to capture a couple more memories and then, once we determined that the Mets game had not been cancelled, made our way towards Shea. To make things fun, I splurged on a little bike adventure and took the bike-taxi the rest of the way to the train station. Oweghn loved it and it was dry, quick and worth whatever I paid. Enjoy the pics!

NYC Arrival

We are here!!! A couple of trains, a short walk, exit out of Penn Station and Voila! Even though we arrived early, the room was ready and we were able to unload and relax before heading out for some food a quick walk and some quality adventuring together!


So there we were. Daddy and Oweghn, watching the people slowly file
onto the plane that would leave shortly for NYC. Oweghn had taken a
cat nap in the car while we had swung by the Sheraton to meet some
friends from Singapore and Taiwan so he had slowly woken up through
the ticketing and security process.

But here we are. A quick 4-1/2 hour flight. Probably won't get enough
sleep but hopefully Oweghn will. Love that little (big) guy!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

On Your Mark... Get Set... Go!

Baseball tickets? Check

Airline web check-in? Check

Hotel reservation? Check

Forward information to wife? Check

Suitcase packed and ready to go? Check

Tired 5-year old who will sleep the entire way? Check

Aching back not looking forward to the 5+ hour flight? Check

iPod full of tunes and movies? Check

Laptop with extended battery? Check

It's really, really weird that in 3 hours, Oweghn and I will be on a plane across the country. I've promised Diana I would not lose Oweghn and I am just stoked to see New York City through his eyes. He is fresh off scoring his first competitive goal in soccer (earlier this evening) and the sugar high from his milkshake reward should create a manageable calm for the flight.

Kudos to Hotwire for getting me a mid-town hotel for a Long Island price.

This is going to be awesome!

Monday, September 8, 2008

New York, New York!!! (The Countdown)

As many of you may have guessed right now, I'm catching up on some unfinished business. I haven't even talked of the ballparks we visited earlier this 2008 baseball season. However, the excitement is just getting too great...

The plane tickets are purchased, the game tickets arrived by FedEx the other day and I finally found a decent deal in midtown Manhatten in a hotel that is safe and sound enough for me and my five-year old boy (while I'm trying to do this on minimal budget, the YMCA was sold out all over NYC and so only if I was willing to swing down to New Jersey could I find anything for less than $250/night).

Yes, it's a double-header in New York City. Friday night at Shea Stadium and Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. The fact that this is the last year for both stadiums pushed a wish into a reality (thanks to a loving wife) and I am already grateful. I think Diana and I both felt a little guilty for leaving Oweghn home when we went to NYC last fall, so this will more than make up for it (and Diana gets a small taste of what it will be like for Daddy to take the boys away on weekends while she relaxes with good books and relaxation, although Kelan is staying with Diana...). This will be a whirlwind trip, flying in Friday morning and flying out Sunday evening, but Oweghn and I have plenty to do. A friend will take us to the top of the Empire State Building, a ferry will take us to see the Statue of Liberty and a diet of hot dogs and cotton candy awaits 3000 miles away.

The big concern is that Oweghn just started kindergarten this week and he will not only be missing a full day (I know, kindergarten, big deal), but will also be getting back late on a school night and will probably implode sometime Monday (I'm guessing during soccer practice which should make it pretty interesting for me as a coach). Nonetheless, it will be worth it, and this will be the first trip like this for me and Oweghn alone. So, armed with iPod and iPhone and the video camera, we are counting down the days to departure (9/11 :-I).

This is better than Christmas...