We Take Ourselves Out to the Ball Game

Kaitlyn: I have to be cautious so that you don’t assume I’m talking hyperbolically. These are my actual emotions: Coney Island is heaven on earth. I feel if “they” ever touched it—in the event that they ever tore issues down and put boring issues of their place—that might be it for me. My coronary heart could be damaged. The boardwalk, the ocean, the new canines, the outdated ladies operating the ring-toss and balloon-dart video games who’re nonetheless allowed to smoke cigarettes whereas they’re working, whereas they’re dealing with cash and prizes for kids: This is what retains us alive and kicking. Catching a primary sight of the Wonder Wheel from a mile away because the Q prepare crawls south above fifteenth Street—as Stephanie wrote in a well-known tweet, “That’s the stuff.”

Recently, our pal Abbey was visiting from Los Angeles to attend Ashley’s birthday celebration and in addition to field up the remainder of the issues she had left behind in New York. I used to be nervous to speak to her, as a result of I take it onerous when folks transfer to California. But she stated she had one thing particular in thoughts. She wanted a change of surroundings for simply lengthy sufficient that she would be capable of come again to New York and see it once more with contemporary eyes and a brand new sense of surprise. She had calculated that this might take one to a few years. “When you come back, you should go straight to Coney Island,” I informed her. Obviously.

Coney Island has what Tamar has referred to as “the forever vibe.” With this, she is riffing on the rumors about how Gen Z is newly obsessive about piano bars, church buildings, martinis, and crimson sauce. It’s not that mysterious; it’s simply the classics. It was her thought for us to change into baseball women.

Lizzie: Baseball: a lady’s perspective. Kaitlyn is a romantic. I like Coney Island, positive. Where else might you see a person hammer a nail up his nostril and trip a curler coaster so bumpy it’ll bruise your ass and (till 2017) cease by Mark Wahlberg’s hamburger restaurant? My primary connection to Coney Island is that it was as soon as the house of Siren Fest, the free annual music competition run by The Village Voice that I went to yearly from 2006 to 2010, when it ended and so they began doing a smaller, shittier model of it on the South Street Seaport. In 2010, I barfed through the Screaming Females set as a result of it was so scorching. Then I ate a scorching canine. Every summer season I nonetheless get a little bit unhappy that it’s not occurring.

I used to be a “baseball girl” as a baby, having grown up in a baseball household, however a variety of my data of the game is from 20 years in the past. Still, I might let you know what a balk is, why the National League followers are mad about designated hitters, and who Paul O’Neill is. And going to a recreation is all the time enjoyable, so when Kaitlyn urged that we go see the Coney Island Cyclones play the Hudson Valley Renegades, I used to be in.

Kaitlyn: Lizzie claims to know the identify of each single 1997 Yankee, so in case you see her, it is best to quiz her. Anyway, as everyone knows, Brooklyn used to have a distinct baseball group: the Dodgers. (I say “we all,” however I imply all of us aside from the mayor of New York City and former Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.) Tamar is engaged on a marketing campaign to get them again from Los Angeles, however within the meantime we now have the Mets’ farm group, the Brooklyn Cyclones, who play at Coney Island.

The Cyclones’ debut season was in 2001—I’m sorry to say that it was Rudy Giuliani who introduced them right here. We received’t go into that! Sadly, my first Cyclones recreation wasn’t till this April. Now I wish to go on a regular basis. Last week, on Thursday evening, it was simply pretty much as good an evening as any to see a Cyclones recreation. So, I took the Q down early and picked up the tickets for all the ladies.

Lizzie: I left my workplace proper earlier than 6, took the one-hour-and-one-minute prepare trip, and landed at Surf and Stillwell simply as the sport was beginning. The solar had lastly come out after a day of rain, and I acquired hit with a little bit little bit of Kait’s Coney Island magnificence filter on the stroll to the stadium: I actually do love the sound of seagulls! Kaitlyn and Tamar have been already there ready exterior, and Stephanie confirmed up proper after me. Katie was going to be a little bit late, so we left her ticket on the field workplace and headed inside for our free shirts.

Oh yeah—the free shirts. Like at many sporting occasions, the Cyclones typically give out free stuff to some share of ticket holders—this time it was a blue Hawaiian shirt made out of what looks like airplane-blanket materials with little graphics of Coney Island–themed issues on it: a scorching canine, a Ferris wheel, a bench. A bunch of individuals within the stands have been already carrying their new shirt exterior their different garments—I shoved mine in my bag for later. The subsequent order of enterprise was meals. If you need a little bit “how the sausage is made”: We have been informed by Kaitlyn’s Atlantic editor that we might every expense a scorching canine, a drink, and an ice cream as sustenance. We every acquired a scorching canine and a Coke however handed on the ice cream.

Hands holding up bag of Cracker Jack at the baseball stadium in Coney Island.
Cracker Jack, on the ball recreation. (Courtesy of Lizzie Plaugic)

Kaitlyn: My editor additionally informed me that he had been to a marriage on the stadium, sponsored by Entenmann’s, 1-800-Flowers, and the Staten Island Hotel. When I handed a hyperlink to the New York Times protection of that occasion alongside to the group chat, Stephanie stated “i would one hundred percent get married there,” and Tamar stated, “those are the exact sponsors I would want.”

Speaking of merchandise: We opted for a bag of Cracker Jack as a substitute of the ice lotions, because the evening was moderately cool and Cracker Jack is much more basic, from a sure perspective. When we acquired to our seats, Tamar watched me open the bag and pop a kernel in my mouth. “When you’re doing that, do you think, I’m making money for The Atlantic right now?” she requested. I stated sure, I feel that on a regular basis. I’m an organization girl! We settled in to do mainly nothing for the subsequent two and a half hours.

Baseball is fairly boring, which is nice. You can discuss throughout it. “Golf is for catatonics, football’s for adrenaline junkies,” I learn just lately in a baseball-themed installment of the Alice from Queens publication. (It was a quote from Alice’s dad.) “Some of us are in between. We need to idle after work, but we’re not ready to let go of all the day’s tension.” I determine with this. There is nothing like an uncomfortable plastic seat and a chilly Coca-Cola that can assist you keep wired whilst you unwind.

Also, a minor-league-baseball stadium is a scene wealthy with inscrutable characters. There is Sandy the Seagull, the wordless mascot, and Pee-Wee, the opposite wordless mascot, who can also be a seagull and “Sandy’s adopted son,” in response to Wikipedia. There is King Henry, the longtime stadium emcee, who wears a crimson swimsuit and a crown and behaves theatrically, typically taking part in an air trumpet, different occasions pretending to take private telephone calls in the course of a dialog with a baby.

Lizzie: At one level Kaitlyn thought she noticed Bill de Blasio up within the box-seats part of the stadium, however he turned out to only be a person carrying a baseball cap.

Kaitlyn: I’ll admit, the physique proportions ended up being mistaken. I had thought it is perhaps him as a result of he was posing for lots of images.

We haven’t been round lengthy sufficient to know the entire noisy regulars but, however there may be one man with a giant white beard who goes by Wolf—a couple of weeks in the past, I heard King Henry say “None of that, Wolf!” when Wolf was having a foul perspective about a mysterious fog that had rolled into the stadium. Another wears a jersey that claims Amendment 1 on the again, and he will get actually indignant with the group once they make errors. On Thursday, he yelled “We’re not pitching to win!” after which Stephanie seen the pitcher stroll in a tragic circle across the mound, tossing the ball up for himself in tiny tosses. “Oh, he’s having a little catch,” she stated sympathetically. King Henry needed to inform Amendment 1 to settle down.

The first half of the sport was uneventful—no runs, hardly any hits. We listened to the loudspeaker bulletins and wished a cheerful forty first anniversary to Natalie and Frank, and we clapped as requested to welcome some native unions and the workers of a medical heart to the stadium. “If you want an Applebee’s gift card courtesy of Applebees, let Brandon the intern hearrrrr youuuuuu,” King Henry yelled. Lizzie let Brandon the intern hear her. However, King Henry gave the Applebee’s present card to Wolf.

Lizzie: There was a variety of promoting through the Cyclones recreation. In between innings, King Henry would take the sector with a Cyclones fan and instruct them to play some sort of branded 30-second recreation within the hopes of profitable a prize. Like, at one level, a man named Jonathan needed to race Larry the Lobster down the third-base line for the possibility to win a free lobster dinner courtesy of Nick’s Lobster House. He misplaced. We have been additionally informed close to the top of the sport that if the Cyclones acquired another house run, everybody within the stadium might get a free lobster bisque with their meal at Nick’s the next evening. We puzzled, Would we take the journey again to Coney Island tomorrow simply without spending a dime lobster bisque with buy? Our assumption was no, however we by no means needed to determine since there have been no extra house runs. Another of those branded video games consisted of throwing plungers right into a Utica Avenue Plumbing Supply–branded rest room bowl. Green Mountain Energy’s recreation concerned asking a baby to kind recyclables.

I didn’t thoughts these video games an excessive amount of since, like Kaitlyn stated, there wasn’t a variety of motion occurring on the sector, baseball-wise. At one level I stated, “Have there even been any hits yet?” to which Kait replied, “Yeah but they got caught,” I suppose assuming that any bat/ball contact constituted a success, even when it resulted in an out. An expansive definition by regular requirements, however the Cyclones might’ve used it. The first run got here within the fifth inning from the Renegades, who stayed on prime till the top.

Two Brooklyn Cyclones jerseys—one blue, one pink, on display.
More prizes we didn’t win. (Courtesy of Kaitlyn Tiffany)

Kaitlyn: Lmao! Lizzie is already educating me a lot concerning the recreation. Our new favourite baseball participant is Brooklyn Cyclone Joe Suozzi. (“What a name!” Lizzie exclaimed when it was proven on the display screen. “Two Z’s and three vowels …”) He made an incredible catch within the again nook of the outfield. We went wild. He additionally hit the lone house run however we didn’t see it occur as a result of Katie was telling us a narrative a few horrible-seeming girl who just lately posted an Instagram story of herself grinding (grinding!) on anyone’s ex-boyfriend, tagged the anyone within the put up, and captioned it, “Eat shit.” (Then she began promoting baseball caps that say Eat shit.) That story concerned infidelity and a boys’ journey to Las Vegas (clearly), so we additionally acquired onto the subject of “boys’ trips” and “girls’ trips,” and the stylistic variations between the 2, and the unavoidable tropes that encompass them.

This dialog was lengthy and might also have been the rationale that we missed essential context about why the Hudson Valley Renegades outfielder Aldenis Sanchez was designated “the villain of the game.” Each time he stepped as much as bat, the announcer would say “It’s the villain of the game!” after which play a couple of bars of some haunted-house music.

Lizzie: Apparently “the villain of the game” can also be promoting. It’s a part of a partnership between the Cyclones and St. Mark’s Comics. If the “villain” (randomly chosen, I feel) strikes out 3 times throughout a recreation, everybody sitting in a sure part of the stadium will get a free comedian e-book, or moderately, a coupon for a free comedian e-book.

I discovered a clip of Souzzi’s house run, however for me, essentially the most thrilling second was when the Cyclones’ Matt O’Neill acquired a bottom-of-the-ninth double after somebody within the stands yelled “You gotta swing in the ninth!” after which he did. The followers have been dedicated to the potential of a win, regardless that it appeared out of attain at this level. The vitality within the stadium spiked briefly however crashed when the inning ended with a strikeout.

Kaitlyn: I had a blast regardless that we have been dropping virtually the entire time, together with on the finish, and I used to be typically confused. I don’t know lots about baseball proper now, however I’m going to study every thing. Stephanie is a former Ohio softball star, so she helps. Also, a few months in the past I learn Jimmy Breslin’s 1963 e-book, Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?, concerning the Mets’ first season. Everyone was so unhappy that the Dodgers have been gone. They have been heartbroken and so they have been disgusted. Then they acquired this new group that wouldn’t cease dropping in spectacular style. They have been like, “Regardless, we will live and die for the Mets.”

When the sport was virtually over, Lizzie and I went to the group retailer to heat up and I defined to her how I wish to purchase a Brooklyn Cyclones hat however I can’t determine on which coloration scheme I like the perfect, and I feel there’s something mistaken with their emblem—the B appears to be like like bones. They additionally promote Brooklyn Dodgers hats within the Cyclones’ group retailer, so that is the inner battle I’ve been having: The Dodgers hats are aesthetically higher and a cooler reference. I’d prefer to have a Dodgers hat as a substitute. Well, as I used to be describing it to Lizzie, I resolved my moderately low-stakes drawback … We do need to have the Dodgers again. But! You have to like the one you’re with, don’t you?

Lizzie: I feel most likely not. That’s why they made divorce.

Kaitlyn: Go Cyclones!

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