Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Meet The Mets, Grandpa

I have a 93-year-old grandfather who moves around better than I do and gets mentally sharper by the day. My grandpa is the nicest old man you will ever meet. He likes to talk whether he knows you or not. (Word to the wise: If you smile back to what he says, he's going to talk to you for a good hour so just something to think about.) If you do engage him in conversation, speak up. His hearing isn't what it used to be. When I talk to him on the phone, I have to put the phone on the counter, lean in, and use my diaphragm. In his over 93 years of existence, there are rumors that he left the town limits once or twice but I don't give them any credence. The man knows his neighborhood and anything beyond is foreign, uncharted, and potentially dangerous territory.

My grandpa has become a big Mets fan over the past 10 years or so. My grandma became a Yankees fan later in her life and he just wanted to root against her so he went with the Mets. That's 60+ years of love right there. My grandma left us a couple of years ago and now he spends his days watching the Mets and Yankees, shaking his head when the former loses and the latter wins. There's a lot of head shaking going on this year. Regardless, baseball passes the time for him.

This leads us to yesterday. I had extra tickets to the game and my wife and I thought about how great it would be to get Grandpa to go. The problem was that the Mets don't play in Elmwood Park, New Jersey. They play in the aforementioned foreign, uncharted, and potentially (currently upgrading to definitely) dangerous territory of Not Elmwood Park, New Jersey. So we kidnapped him. I brought my mother (the convincer) and father (the muscle) and we got him in the car.

The car ride was going to be the tough part. We told him it was only 30 miles to the stadium and left out that it takes 2 hours to travel that distance. He's been around almost 94 years, he might not notice 2 hours, right? Didn't matter. We got to the game in about 50 minutes which was the fastest I've ever done it. Luck, God, Billy Mays, they were all on our side.

Watching my wide-eyed grandpa walk through CitiField is something I will always remember. Everything was "so big" and there were "a lot of Mets fans." When we told the elevator operator that this was his first time at a game, she said, "ever?" She followed that with, "Is he from this country?" We laughed and then I punched her in the face yelling, "DON'T YOU EVER MAKE FUN OF MY GRANDPA!!" We hurried out of there and to our seats.

The game started off poorly. The Mets got down 3-1 early. Grandpa spent most of the time enamored with the Jumbotron (and shaking his head, of course). He told me Oliver Perez "stinks" and they should "get him out of there." Manuel listened. Perez came out and the game turned around. The Mets tied it and Tatis, for Grandpa, hit a grand slam to put the game out of reach. K-Rod came in for the ninth and finished it up while Grandpa mimicked K-Rod's celebratory hand gestures. The night was a huge success.

Grandpa spent the car ride home babbling like a 3rd grader after the Greatest Field Trip in the History of the World. He enjoyed every second of it but he was glad to be back home where I'm sure he'll watch the game again on his kitchen television where the threat of Queens can't get to him. Thanks to the Mets for coming through and making the night a success. You brought joy to a man that has brought me so much and because of that, I forgive you for this season.

And you said the Mets don't do anything great. Look at that smile.


Missy said...

Oh my god, so endearing & humorous! Definitely brought tears to my eyes. I love your Grandpa, he is definitely one of the sweetest people I've ever met!

Sue Funke said...

Ahh that's a great story, Tor. Brings a tear to this Mets fan eye...which as a Met fan, i'm not a stranger to tears.

Tom Iacuzio said...

Awesome post, Tor. For real. Even as a Phillies fan, I applaud you.