Royalty Tours USA

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Royalty returns to NYC to see the Mets open up their season on April Fool's Day!

First & foremost, if you're a regular reader and/or follower of my blog you know I don't joke around too often on here. I'm a person who keeps it real every day of the year even on April Fool's Day.

With that being said, here's the way we spent our first day of April.

Since we had to get to George Bush Intercontinental Airport early to catch our flights back home to the NYC area, so we didn't have time to get a great night sleep. Of course that was part of the game plan in order to make this tight schedule work out. Thankfully we stayed close to the airport so we went to the car rental center and we returned the car we rented for the weekend from Alamo first. It wound up costing a mere $36.97 for the two days. A royal deal indeed. I couldn't believe it when I had booked it. Other companies wanted double or triple that price for the Easter weekend. I wound up driving 550 miles safely.

We proceeded to get on the shuttle bus that took us to the terminal so we could catch our flights back home. Since our pal Bryan Gilligan used frequent miles he had to fly back to Newark, NJ while the King and I flew to LaGuardia Airport. Bryan's flight left at 6:17AM and our's left at 7:25AM. As a result, Bryan who left his car in Newark by the airport got back first. By doing so, he said he arranged to come to LaGuardia Airport to pick us up. He got in early which worked to our advantage. He contacted us and he left us a voice mail so we knew when to expect him. Luckily the King & I also got in early thanks to United Airlines who made our lives less stressful on this day. As usual, we had no margin for error so we needed any break we could get. In addition, there was another twist to the story. Our pal Steve Fekete aka the Padre Punk arranged to come back to NYC too. He flew back on his own on US Airways to LaGuardia Airport and he had a layover in Charlotte, North Carolina. His flight out of Houston left at 5:20AM local time. He was scheduled to land in LaGuardia at 11:51AM which was five minutes earlier than the King & I. Since US Airways is located at a separate terminal, we told Bryan to get him first. Bryan got to LaGuardia really fast and he rode around. He wound up picking us up first since we got in 15 minutes early. We then circled back around to get Steve. We wound up waiting a few more minutes. Shortly thereafter, the Padre Punk dressed up in his Padre jersey came towards us. Just before he got in the car he put his hand up to stop a local car service car so he could get into Bryan's car. Needless to say, the driver had something nasty to say to Steve. Steve gets in the car and says doesn't that guy know who I am. I'm the Padre Punk. It was hilarious.

Bryan proceeded to drive us over to Citi Field which is right nearby. We wound up parking the car on 114th Street just before Northern Blvd at 12:20PM. We walked over to the ballpark with plenty of time to make it there for first pitch at 1:10PM which wound up being at 1:13PM. We passed by the left field gate which was pretty empty. The King & I decided to keep walking to the Rotunda area which is behind home plate where we usually go when we get off the subway when we take the 7 train to the game.

Sam Citron
The main reason we did that was because we wanted to see our pal and avid reader and follower of my blog, Sam Citron. To be perfectly honest, that was the highlight of the day. The last time we saw him was at the end of September. He told us he had a rough winter. He had some health issues but thankfully he's back and ready to work all the games this year at Citi Field. We were so happy and elated to hear that. As usual, he greeted us in royal fashion. He said and I quote "it's always a pleasure." We told him the same. With that being said, baseball is now officially back at home for us.

My ticket to Mets Opening Day at Citi Field
We proceeded to walk inside at 12:30PM which gave us plenty of time to get upstairs to our season seats in section 516 row 3. We were greeted by some familiar faces as people who have had season tickets like us since Citi Field opened in 2009 were on hand. It's always nice to see people we recognize by face not necessarily by name.

Prince at Citi Field in time for Opening Day
In addition, we received visits from people we know. I'm referring to Ralph & Vincent Ascanio, Cory Zimmerman, Andy Weinstein who we met back in March 2000 when we were sitting next to him on our flight to Tokyo, Japan to see the Mets open their season there.

Speaking of openers, the King has been at every Met opener since 1977. As for me, I've been to every one since 1982. This time we really cut it close but thankfully it worked out for us. Andy Weinstein chimed in that this was his 40th consecutive one. We're all true die hard Met fans if you will.

Furthermore, we were also joined by our pals Eddie Pelle & Fredy Sanchez. They had offered to pick us at the airport before the game. Thanks to Bryan we didn't need to take them up on their generous offer.

Moreover, I saw our pal Alan Gimpel who also has season tickets for the Mets as well as the Jets, Knicks and Rangers. He helped me make it possible to get a Ranger ticket for another buddy of mine, David Curtin who's a firefighter and a big Met and Ranger fan. Thanks to Alan I was able to fulfill my promise of securing a Ranger ticket for their game that night against the Winnipeg Jets at Madison Square Garden for David who got to see his favorite teams play and win the double dip. I wound up getting the ticket from Alan who held it just in case I had a problem getting back from Houston. Luckily everything worked out as it was scripted by me.

As for the game we saw, the Mets looked like World Champions. For whatever reason, they usually do on Opening Day. In matter of fact, they have the best record of any team since 1970. They rarely lose when they open the season home or away.

It should be noted since their inception in 1962, they had lost their first eight openers. In 1970, they finally won their first opener in Pittsburgh at Forbes Field.

This time they had their hitting shoes on as they beat up the visiting San Diego Padres, 11-2 much to the Padre Punk's chagrin.

The Mets were backed by a solid pitching performance by Jonathon Niese who went six and two thirds innings to pick up his first victory of the season. He was supported by plenty of timely clutch hitting as the Mets got five two out hits and newly acquired outfielder Collin Cowgill hit a grand slam to round out the scoring. As for the Padres, Yonder Alonso hit a solo home run.

Stay tuned for the next installment of that day as the King and I went out to Newark, NJ to see the Devils play.

Thank you for reading and following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

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