April 1st, St Louis, MO. Chris Ewing and I had flown in, without tickets, to enjoy the festivities of opening day baseball and to see if..maybe, just maybe, we could attend.
We tried to get tickets the legit way and buy them online when they were released, but we never had a shot.
So here we were wandering around downtown on the 31st of March, touring the arch, and quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) inquiring about extra tickets.
3pm: We had wandered back to the stadium for one last shot at tickets before we found a small pub to watch the final four, When we noticed a line forming outside the stadium.
"What are you guys waiting for?"
"At 9am tomorrow, they are releasing 125 tickets for $11/pair. They could be standing room only, they could be behind home plate. Who knows."
We had our in. We knew it wouldn't be easy, so we went to the back of the line, and after 10 minutes of contemplation, decided if we were gonna go, this is how it was gonna be. Spending the night on the sidewalk. There were 11 people in line when we showed up.
"Chris..." I said. "Right now, God is telling us 'guys, how bad do you want this? because here it is.' "
3:30: I head back to the hotel for provisions: Gatorade, Ipods, and books. It's all we had.
5:00pm I finally arrive back at the stadium to find tents set up and about 10 more people in line behind us. Storms were moving in. They offered chris and I camping chairs, which we took, and a couple of oversized umbrellas.
5:05pm A squall moves in. 80 mph wind gusts (NOT kidding). Chris and I are hunkered down under our umbrellas, my backpack is now sitting in a lake beneath my feet. Soaked. It almost rips my umbrellas out of my hands. To my left, a tent us almost behind flipped over. It finally ends, and we survive, except for our wet feet.
6:30pm Our new friend, Chad, a 22 yr old Oklahoma baptist grad and Starbucks employee and FANATICAL cardinals fan, orders pizza to the corner of Broadway and Clark. "Don't worry, you can't miss us" he says. He was right.
7pm Pizza Arrives. We have dinner.
7:45 Another rain storm. The girls next to us invite us into the tent to wait it out.
Sundown: Cooler weather moves in. Dips into the 50s. Not too bad, but when you are sitting...and sitting...it starts to set in. Chris' feet are freezing. I'm not sure he'll make it through the night.
8pm Chads brother Daniel arrives and joins us in line. 17 year old high schooler. Him coupled with the sisters next to us (26 and 35) we've managed to become a little family. They share what they have with us. We feel very humbled.
9pm the line is up to about 60 or 70 colorful tents. Cars honk at us as they pass. This occurs all night. We sit some more.
11pm We really start to get tired. Feet, so cold.. Chris is fading fast. Berkely, Daniel's high school girlfriend, arrives with steaming hot coffee for all of us and Blankets for Chris and I. It's nothing short of a miracle. Seriously. We never would have made it without the blankets.
2am I wander over to the Westin hotel, where the concierge gives me some of her personal socks instead of my wet ones. that coupled with daniels extra pair of socks, I feel 100x better. chris has dry feetnow also, and huddled under his blanket, nods off. He doesn't sleep much, but he doesn't move from that chair for the rest of the evening.
At this point, we are sitting on chairs that are not ours, under blankets that are not ours, and wearing socks that are not ours.
3:30am Daniel Chad and I get together a Whiffle ball game. Warms me up and passes the time. I hit 9 home runs.
5:45am rush over to the coffee shop. Ahhhhhh sweet nectar of life.
7am people start trying to cut in line. no chance. Fans are rabid. riots almost ensue. Cutters run for their lives. up to 175 people now in line.
8am Receive ticket to stand in another line and move to other side of street.
9am finally receive VOUCHERS to pick up tickets later at the game. Chris and I head back to the hotel for a short breakfast and some sleep.
2:30pm Alarm goes off, we pack up, grab a couple sodas, and head off to the game.
6pm Standing in line, our friends Chad and Daniel arrive to find us in Mets gear. they are appalled. they had no Idea. shock and awe comes to mind. they threaten us with our lives. In the end, we allow them to cut in line, and we are friends again.
6:45pm we enter the gates, receive our standing room only tickets, and head off to find a good view.
6:50pm Cardinal fans flips my Mets hat off my head. Fight almost ensues. But doesn't. I hold back. Greatest fans in America, they say.
7pm First pitch of the new season.
8:45 Man, WITH HIS 3 MONTH OLD CHILD, flips off chad's glasses. Chad pushes back. Explicatives fly. Another fight almost ensues. Cardinal fans fighting their own. Greatest fans in America, they say.
8:50pm bases loaded, sharp ground ball to second, diving catch, flip to Reyes at second, who quickly shoots a laser to first. Double play. The game is saved for the mets.
11pm We make it back to the hotel. We pulled it off. Opening day. 18 hours in line. 5.50 for each ticket, opposed to the $200 tickets most ahd been paying for. Job well done.