Thursday, August 21, 2008
Shea Memories: The Chair Debacle
I was probably 12 years old and I went to a Mets game with my parents and a friend of mine. This was back in 1990 when baseball only let people vote for the All Star Game that actually went to a major league ballpark. They had these little ballots and you had to punch a whole next to the player's name that you wanted to vote for. I used to grab a stack of 50 ballots and make my way through them as the game went on.
It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon game and we had great seats down the first base line in the field box section. We were probably 20 rows back from the dugout and I was punching holes in my All Star ballots when I dropped the pencil I was using to punch the ballot. Now if you're familiar with stadium seating you know that the seats fold down and when you're seated there's a little gap between the back of the chair and the actual seat. I could see that the pencil rolled underneath my seat and I could clearly see it through that gap between the seat and the back. So, while still seated, I reached down in that gap to grab the pencil. I grabbed it and soon found that my arm was stuck in that gap.
You see I was still sitting down so there was no way I could lift up on my seat to free my arm. I had no idea how I force my arm in that gap to begin with but there I was in the middle of the field box section at Shea Stadium with my arm caught in a stadium chair. As a twelve year old I wanted to avoid potential embarassment so I quickly notified my mom, who was sitting next to me, that my arm was stuck. As all mothers do she alerted my father of the tragic situation in which I found myself.
Now my dad like to listen to the game being called on the radio while at the ballpark. He would put on his headphones and turn on his walkman and listen to Bob Murphy and Gary Cohen call the game. The problem with this was that as my mother was explaining my current plight, dad didn't take his headphones off and had no idea how loud he was talking.
So there I am with my mother trying to tell my father what's going on only to have him unintentionally shouting back instructions because he couldn't hear how loud he was yelling. Meanwhile, I'm stuck with my arm in a Shea Stadium chair thinking that they're going to have to bring in a torch or a buzzsaw to get me out. Thankfully a stranger witnessed this memorable scene, hopped over the row in front of us, lifted me up out of my seat, and folded the chair up to relieve the tension that was keeping my arm caught.
Fortunately, I still have my right arm and was able to avoid eye contact with those seated around for the rest of the game. My friend and family still laugh about this Shea moment, and I can still hear my dad shouting back instructions while still having his headphones on.
While this moment will never make a top Shea moments list, it's one that is burned into my memory for better or worse.