One of the friends I met at the conference last month was going. She flew into Buffalo last night, and, on my sage advice, booked a Megabus direct from the airport to get her into doontoon TO by 8-ish this morning, leaving plenty of time to sightsee before the 1:00 first pitch. Sure enough, on two-ish hours sleep after a late flight in last night, she was at the bus stop at the appointed hour, and.... no bus. Nobody waiting for a bus. Worst of all, nobody in the Megabus office until 6 a.m. to revive her from her panic.
Or, as it turned out, not until 7:30. By then, I'd read her post about the impending disaster, told her I'd do what I could to help, picked her up from the still-deserted arrivals stop (Eleanor had already gone to her early Saturday gig at Wegmans, so I wasn't bothering anybody with this), and taken her for much-needed caffeine while we figured it out.
No, they had no idea what happened. Yes, there was another departure, this one from downtown here, at 8:15, but it was sold out. Maybe she could get on it standby if somebody didn't show. Yet, when we arrived at the station a good 20 minutes before 8:15, there was a TO-bound Megabus pulling out. Must have been all full up and no reason to wait. They'd have reimbursed her for a Greyhound ticket, but their next departure wasn't until 3.
I just gestured to the car and said, "Let's go." But not before shooting this:
Taryn is famed, along with her husband, another of the Met-blogging community, for co-authoring many of their pieces with Joey Beartran, the dude sticking out of the bag. To keep him company, I brought along my own member of the ursine Met mafia- one my sister got for me years ago which I'd never really taken out and about before, nor even formally named. Now, though, after today, his name is forever set in Met blogger lore:
Meet Megabuster Bison.
Getting there was a breeze. It took a little 'splainin' at the Peace Bridge entry to Canada about why one of us was coming back this afternoon and the other, much later tonight, but when she asked us how we knew each other, I just confidently stated, "We're both bloggers for the New York Mets." I am so glad she did not ask for formal credentials, although that's about the only thing the many wonderful members of this quasi-press corps doesn't have. We were waved through without another bother, and were around the corner from the Skydome before 11.
(I know they changed the name. Once a stubborn New Yorker, always a stubborn New Yorker.)
Some Starbucks and wi-fi were had, and I shot some proof of being there (I think Taryn has one with me actually in it):
Gargoyles on the first base side. That might be Casey Stengel pointing down at me on my far left, but I can't be sure.
I got bearings, while Taryn had some uncomfortable chatting with a random fan about Met broadcaster Ron Darling, and we then headed down the street to the Hockey Hall of Fame, where some other friends were waiting for her:
The very same. I never got past the gift shoppe, but it's a pretty majestic looking place and pretty photogenic just from the outside.
Proof of that. Their own version of the "Miracle on Ice"- including Cornell's Ken Dryden and two of the three members of the Sabres' famed French Connection (Perreault, and the recently and sadly departed Rick Martin, whose name I cut off).
The weary travelers, with bear and city-bought sweets for Taryn's game companions.
And finally, a street view walking back toward the ballpark to my car after saying my farewell, ehs. Plenty of Mets fans in evidence, but many more of the Jay persway; they're doing much better than expected this year, and they never give visiting fans much 'tude- at least not us.
The drive home took a bit longer, but not without a little relief to start. As I got onto the outbound Gardiner Expressway, I saw an inbound Megabus coming in from Buffalo- quite possibly the same one she'd been unable to get on four hours before. (Border checks doubtless take longer on a full double-decker.) There was a bit of a backup just past Missasaugua, and all three bridges allegedly had 1-2 hour backups for cars, but I picked the cars-only one in Niagara Falls and got through in under 10 minutes. Once again, border dude looked a little confused about why I'd been away for only a few hours. When I explained it was for a friend who I'd taken because of a meshuga Megabus, he said, "Wow, that's quite a trip."
I replied, as I had in an earlier message to Taryn's husband, with no truer words than could be spoken:
We're Mets fans. We stick together and expect disaster:-)
He waved me right through.
I beat Eleanor home by about half an hour, got the kitchen cleaned up, the lawn largely mowed and the story, now, told. Oh, and the game? I probably could've stayed for it. Despite both teams kicking the shit out of the ball last night- an ugly 14-5 Mets defeat where their backup catcher pitched the bottom of the eighth inning to conserve their few remaining arms- today's game was over in barely two hours, a pitchers' duel that ended with Toronto again winning, but this time 2-0 and those two runs largely resulted from an outfield error on one of the few hard-hit pitches surrendered all day by a Met pitcher. The losing pitcher in question was an early-game injury replacement for the Mets' 41-year old starter Miguel Batista, a journeyman whose professional baseball history is almost as old as our marriage (he was signed as an undrafted player by the defunct Montreal Expos in 1988) and who himself is an emergency callup from Buffalo to replace a Met starter with a season-long injury. The Jays had their Canadian bacon saved in the top of the sixth when Met centerfielder Andres Torres (who made the earlier error) hit an almost homer to right field that the other Bautista on the field, Toronto outfielder Jose, snared with a spectacular catch.
I saw not an iota of this, in the park or even on the television at home, but through the perfectly lovely play-by-play of Sportradio 590 AM from Toronto which followed me all the way home.
It's been put in the books, for better or worse. I'm home, and I have every confidence that Coop will make it back tonight:)
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