Jesse Jarnow

the upper deck (nlds, no. 1)


The drama of the upper deck is all misinformation. High above the foul poles, the sounds ricochet, like Branford Marsalis’s instrumental “Star Spangled Banner.” It echoes from the PA towers, all neutered soprano sax. “You suck!” someone shouts, but most people just stand, shifting their feet. Elsewhere, noises delay and cross, owing to the sheer size of the arena, like the polyphonic “Let’s go Mets!” chants that thunder at different tempos and from different starting points and collide like a Charles Ives orchestration. The chants, especially, are amazing: spur of the moment decisions by the collective, crunching names into a small library of flexible syllable patterns (“Car-los Bel-tran!” “M.V.P.!”). Sometimes, no consensus is reached, and the chants whither away like smoke (but not before more chaos).

Mostly, the game is far away and it is hard to see the ball. The mezzanine swallows the deep corner of right field itself. The crack of the bat is unreal, one sound in many. When the ball is hit in the air, it is like being thrust into an optical illusion, nearly impossible to tell if its movement is hard or soft, high up or just over the infielders’ heads, or even fair or foul. Adjusted to the dimensions, the ball still lands in totally unpredictable places, like David Wright’s bloop double into right in the seventh. A run scores, and the chanting starts all over again.