2016 Skid's Return to New York

Back to New York!! In January 2016 I attended my second Mets Fantasy Camp in Port St. Lucie Florida. Part of that experience is being introduced on the field before a game at Citi Field. Also the next day the campers get to have batting practice and play each other on the field at Citi Field. Since Deb was off work for the week, we decided to make it a week long vacation trip to New York for the Fantasy Camp reunion. During the weekend we took in three games against the Washington Nationals, Monday I played baseball on Citi Field, Tuesday we attended a meeting with the 7Line and watched the All*Star Game at Citi Field McFadden's. Wednesday we visited the 9/11 museum and went to Rockefeller Center for dinner before enjoying the Rockettes show at Radio City Music Hall.

2015 - 88 games at Citi ... only 3 games in 2016

Deb and I set up our week's residence at the Holiday Inn, just a ten minute walk to Citi Field. As we walked through the Citi Field parking lot (and former site of Shea Stadium) I spotted Irwin, Alex and James from the parking crew near the ticket booth entrance. These three gentlemen greeted me nearly every game last season and it was great that they were who we ran into first. After a drink at McFadden's behind center field, Deb and I entered Citi through the rotunda. As we walked around inside the ballpark, we hardly walked 100 feet without seeing someone I knew from last year. Hugs from the beer girls, Helena and Debbie. Handshakes with Guest Services people around the park. One employee, Steve, rescheduled his day off so he could be at the game today and see us. Doug, Lou, Kath, Tom, & Ed all came over to say hello. I even got a few minutes with Gloria, who has been a season ticket holder since 1986, as she was sitting only a few rows in front of me. I also ran into my friend Brian in the Delta Club.

View from our Delta Club seats

I probably saw 30 familiar faces tonight. After a couple innings I looked around, although it had been eight months since I had left the ballpark after World Series game 5 everything felt so comfortable, so right. I leaned toward Deb and said "It's like I never left, like I was here only last week. I could do this everyday, oh, wait, I already did!"

After the game Deb and I found supervisor Christine and said hello. Christine had the debatable privilege to see me after most games and meet all my family and friends that visited me during last season. We had the pleasure to share a drink and bite to eat with Christine and her husband after Sunday's game. Although the Nationals beat the Mets tonight 3-1, in what would be a continuing theme for the weekend, the game became secondary to just being at the ballpark again and getting to see all my ballpark family.

Game two against the Nationals started out the same, Deb and I ran into Irwin and James in the parking lot. I gave Irwin my free shirt from last night just as I had done most of last season. We met my friend Murph and his wife at McFadden's and relived the story of us meeting before game #6 last April. We went to 3 games together in 2015 and it was good to see him and meet his wife Mary in 2016.

Our view from the Hyundai Club seats

I wanted to get together with some of the many people that I met during last season so I bought a group of tickets in the Hyundai club. This club has limited access only to ticket holders in this section. These were some of my favorite seats last year. The club has a great buffet and hot dogs, hamburgers, peanuts, popcorn, etc. all included with the price of the ticket. It was a blast to be at the game, fill my stomach with baseball food and spend some time with just some of my New York friends.

Alongside Murph and his wife, my entourage included blogger Greg Prince and his wife. Greg and I went to 4 games last year and he wrote some great articles about my Dream Season. He also wrote a great book about the 2015 season that can be purchased on his blog Faith And Fear In Flushing here. My Fantasy Camp teammate Michael with his wife and daughter also joined us. Geraldine, who let me use her fabulous apartment during my Dream Season, came with her sister and friends. Brian (below) and Mitch were also in our party, I saw them all three games this weekend. Greg brought along friends Rachelle, Mark and Kevin, who quickly became friends as we exchanged stories of Mets fandom.

Skid & Brian

My group of New York friends

Another loss to the Nationals did not help the Mets but the evening was memorable as Deb and I enjoyed sitting and visiting with such a great diverse group of Mets fans!

Today was the Mets Fantasy Camp reunion, the main reason (or excuse) that I came back to Citi Field. I got to see teammates from the last 2 years and many fellow campers. We lined up and marched out onto the outfield warning track before the game. Each camper got to acknowledge his introduction while appearing on the huge video board. Then we all sat together in the left field stands.

Our view from our Fantasy Camper's seats

Standing on the warning track

Fellow campers Mark Rosenman and Howard Ritzer

Mark & I at the fence in Center Field

Another Mets loss did not take away anything from this day with my fellow Fantasy campers and my wife. I'm glad she came and enjoyed the weekend alongside me, meeting many of the Mets fans crazy enough to travel to Florida in the winter and play baseball as a New York Met.

NEXT: Playing LF at Citi Field