Follow my streak all the through to the bitter end. Schedule is this link:
Douglas “Chuck” Booth- (Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Last year when I applied for the MLB Fancave, I did so with mixed emotions. While the job looked like an awesome experience, it also would never be as exciting as going to the baseball games live. Due to my waiting around for MLB’s decision on the chosen winners, I failed to plan for any extensive road trips last year. I am not disappointed that I didn’t win. Mike O’ Hara and Ryan Wagner did a fantastic job and were completely qualified. What the verdict left me was a desire to prove a point that I have been trying to establish for the last 4 years. MLB’s 30 Baseball Parks provide the best marketing tool that this entity may ever want. It is my ultimate goal to show that people would rather go to the games live. Chasing down the Guinness Book of World Record for visiting all parks in the least amount of days has a plethora of emotions that run through ones body. It is both an adrenaline rush and a hyper vigilant anxiety clashing for every day I am on the road.
In my 2 minute video that I sent for the FanCave, I told them that “you either hire me or I am going to end up doing this on my own anyway!” So I intend to go on a 30 MLB Park journey every year from now until MLB decides to pay me a salary. To give our readers the kind of insight and information that make these ballparks the best fan experiences in Major League Sports, I have sought out some of the greatest experts in the field of ballpark chasing. Every park will have a Park Preview, an Expert Interview and a Post Game/Streak Synopsis. Our first expert interview is Lori Martini.
I had the chance to talk to lifetime Met Fan Lori Martini recently. Lori has been going to Mets games in Flushing Meadows for over 25 years and is Citi Field’s featured ballpark expert. To Our Knowledge, Lori is the first female to have visited all 30 MLB stadiums as a fan in 2005. Guaranteed she will be the first to re-certify this honor when she goes to New Marlins Ball Park for the April.2 exhibition vs the Yankees. Lori has plans to set the Guinness Book of World Record for females attending a full baseball game in all 30 MLB Parks during the 2013 season. I am going to help her with this mission. We are also going to be interviewed on the field for the New York Mets season opener on Thursday, April.5/2012. This is a game that I may need to retroactive the streak back to this gamde. Lori is also attending games with me at Citizens Bank Ballpark on April.9th, at Citi Field on April.9th and also at Fenway Park on April.16th for the Patriots Day 11:05 AM start. We had a chance to talk about Citi Field though briefly before all of that happens, this is what we discussed.
DB: ” Welcome to the Citi Field Expert Interview Lori. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and then give us a bit of background on your life as a Mets Fan.”
LM: ” First off, thank for thinking of me for Citi Field Doug. I’m a born and bred Brooklynite and daughter of a Yankees fan. My dad always watched both, so I chose the Mets as the more exciting team to watch. My dad taught me how to play softball, so I grew a larger passion for the game that I play on about 6 softball teams a year including fall leagues. I’m a screenwriter, songwriter and actress and no matter what I do with my career, it seems to revolve around the Mets.”
DB: “Your song “Believe” was adopted by Mets Second Baseman Justin Turner last year as his walkup song. What does it feel like to have all of Citi Field listen to a song you wrote?”
LM: “It’s pretty amazing how it all happened. I created a buzz on twitter to tell fans I got a pre-game performance on the May 27, 2011 game vs. the Phillies and tried to get as many people to try to attend that game EARLY. During soundcheck my rep called me over and said that Justin Turner asked Jay Horowitz (VP of Media Relations) if it was OK to use “BELIEVE” as his walkup song. My feet never touched the ground since and I’m still in awe. Turner even mentions me on twitter and in interviews including an SNY Special. People really embraced it. I wrote it specifically for the Mets, but I wrote it so it could cross over to Top 40 Radio and perhaps inspire other people and teams to do so. In fact, tons of sports teams and figures are using the motto. I’m just hoping my song resonates with them.”
DB: “Your baseball short-film “CAUGHT” has been accepted into some Film Festivals around the country. Please talk about how this baseball film has impacted your life? What is the future schedule of upcoming appearances for the film?”
LM: “I wanted to show how life is similar to plays in baseball. I paralleled this around certain events with my family and friends. I’ve experienced so many things in my life, that I feel I want to share it with the world and hope that they can relate especially because there’s such a double standard with women in sports. Caught has won Best Drama Short in the CT Film Festival and I won Best Actress in the Staten Island Film Festival. I’m really proud of these accomplishments, but mostly because people who have seen the movie come over to me and they truly relate to the story and have a similar experience. It just feels good that I’m not the only one and perhaps it will bring things to light. It has a morality story to it. In a world where anything goes, despite others, I wanted to make sure that the shortcut, dishonesty and selfishness is not going to pan out in the long run. Karma comes back to round those bases. It has recently been accepted in the Garden State Film Festival on March 24th at 1:30pm www.gsff.org; Women’s International Film and Arts Festival Mar 28-Apr 1, 2012 www.womensfilmfest.com; Boston International Film Festival April 15 at 2:45pm www.bifilmfestival.com; Buffalo Niagara Film Festival April 20 at 4pm www.thebnff.com and the Connecticut Film Festival in Danbury, CT April 27-29 www.ctfilmfestival.com and the Litchfield Hills Film Festival in Torrington, CT June.28-July.01 wwww.hillsfilmfestival.com with more to follow.
DB: “As a woman that has been to all 30 Major League Stadiums in the Majors (and possibly the 1st woman fan ever), what does this accomplishment mean to you?”
LM: “It feels incredible and I hope it encourages more women to be involved with sports, whether as a fan or playing or both. Baseball is such an intellectual/strategical game with lots of passion. I’d love to do it again. I wish I was setting the world record with you.”
DB: “Describe the differences between what the experience is like now at Citi Field for a baseball game, as opposed to the Shea Stadium Days?”
LM: “Citi Field is more of an entertainment place, where Shea was a ballpark. Citi Field is more open, so people walk around and don’t generally sit in their seats, so it’s difficult to hear the roar of the crowd like it was at Shea. Then again, the Mets haven’t been a winning team since Citi Field opened in 2009. I remember in 2006 in the NLCS when Endy Chavez made that catch, the whole place was not only deafening, but Shea shook like an earthquake. I thought it was our destiny to win. You could hear a pin drop when we didn’t. Fascinating really. Citi Field has the best food.”
DB: “The Mets are bringing in the fences this year at Citi Field, do you think this will enhance the fan entertainment aspect of baseball viewing?”
LM: “I think it will help the players, especially since they adjusted the fences in Port St. Lucie so they can get a feel of it before the home opener. I sure hope it’s the Mets hitting them out and not the other teams. 🙂 At least it won’t be called “Citi Field: The place where home runs go to die anymore.”
DB: “How does the fan base feel about Jose Reyes leaving the club, do you think this will impact the attendance?”
LM: “We’re all upset really. Is it that he wasn’t made an offer or was he just greedy? In all honesty, he isn’t worth what he was paid due to his constant injuries and if he really wanted to stay with the Mets, he would have taken a lower offer. I’m a team player and I stay loyal to my team. Nobody’s truly sure what went on behind closed doors.”
DB: “What is your favorite method of transportation to and from Citi Field.”
LM: “I seriously dislike public transportation, especially since it sometimes takes me 2 hours to get home at night, when it takes me only 20-30 minutes to get to the stadium via car. I park on the side streets to avoid paying the parking lot fees and seriously, the walk is great exercise and I get home quicker by doing that than if I had entered the parking lot. Of course, elderly, people with children or handicapped people would need to use the lot…or tailgaters. I just try to be economical, healthy and save time getting home.”
DB: “What advice would you give for somebody experiencing Citi Field for the very first time?”
LM: “I personally like the excelsior level section. Tons of foul balls and t-shirts land there within the infield. I ended up on TV because my friend Mike caught a foul ball off Ike Davis’ bat. He jammed his finger, but he caught it bare-handed. We’re on the MLB Highlight Reel. I think June 25, 2010 vs. Twins. I also like section 103 in the front few rows. You feel like you’re playing RF. Section 128 has a great view of all angles/corners of the stadium. I personally love the Empire Party Suites and I usually organize a couple per year. Anyone interested should contact me. It’s all inclusive: Food/Beer/Wine/Soda etc. Plus I host the best parties and I include goodies.”
DB: “What is the food like at Citi Field? What is your favorite ballpark food there?”
LM: “It’s the BEST of ALL the stadiums. Shake Shack is my favorite. Get there early because the lines are long. The Mex Burger which is near section 128 I believe is also amazing. They have Pastrami sandwiches, Reubens, Casacarinos Pizza, Taqueria, Box Frites, Blue Smoke. All incredible. They also have a gluten free section and sushi in RF near section 103.”
DB: “What is your feeling towards the Wilpons cutting salary on the teams current payroll? Do you feel ripped off as a ticket buyer?”
LM: “I’m somewhat disappointed, but I also don’t want them giving ridiculous contracts anymore like in the past: Oliver Perez; Jason Bay; Luis Castillo etc. They’ve actually reduced the price of tickets this year. We’ll see what happens. I think Sandy Alderson knows what he’s doing and he has a great sense of humor. Our farm system is improving, so hopefully by 2013 or 2014, we will have a competitive team. Then again, I always BELIEVE so I’m hoping those kids fight in 2012 and surprise us.”
DB: “What is your favorite all time game as a Met Fan that you have been in attendance in Citi Field or Shea Stadium?”
LM: I’ve been to SO many incredible games, but I’d have to say June 30, 2000 when they played the Braves and were down 8-1 until they scored 10 runs in the 8th inning. I had said if Piazza homers and we win, that this is the turning point of the entire season and it was. It was also magical because it was the first and only time I caught a foul ball and it was fireworks night.
DCB: “As a Brooklyn native, do people still talk about the Dodgers leaving town? Do you think there are enough baseball fans in Brooklyn for MLB to ever bring a 3rd baseball franchise in the area if a new ballpark was built?”
LM: “Some of the older crowd talks about them. I wonder what it would have been like. I’d surely be a Brooklyn Dodgers fan had the Mets not existed. OMG I’m sure and that would be awesome if it happened, but I am a loyal person, so I can never abandon the Mets. “
DB: “Thank you very much Lori.”
***Thank you to our Citi Field expert- Lori Martini for participating in today’s article. To learn more about Lori Martini click these links.***
Follow me @chuckbooth3024 on twitter!