The ultimate scalping guide to the Mets-Braves weekend

You're a real Met fan, not some corporate bandwagon - jumper who has never seen Shea Stadium in the light of the regular season. But unless you're tight enough with Donald Trump to playfully muss his hair or you can actually claim to be a long - lost cousin of Benny Agbayani's, you're not getting in to see the Mets play the Braves this weekend. Through the usual channels, that is.

Shea will be filthy with cops—cops on bikes, cops on horses, cops wearing Fubu shirts and backwards ballcaps—but you may still be able to score some good game. Don't blame us, though, if you get busted. We do not advocate illegal activity. Once again: Don't blame us. You cannot buy or sell a ticket within 1,000 yards of stadium grounds, and then you can charge only 10 percent over the purchase price. If you get caught buying, you get a summons for a court appearance. Get caught selling, and you could get cuffed and stuffed.

Get Into The Building If you need two tickets and you absolutely have to sit together (you're on a date, you're with your kid, etc.), you will have to go to the pro scalpers (see below). This deep into the playoffs, regular fans don't bring an extra pair of tickets to the stadium. But if you're with a bunch of friends who just want to get into the game and don't have much money, split up. No matter how big the game, there are always single-seat tickets floating around. Remember: Your main objective is just to get in the building. Even if you think you're dealing with a fellow fan, however, you still have to watch your ass: Double-check the ticket to make sure it wasn't made in the guy's basement on his new iMac.

Talk The Talk When you walk past anyone, say "Who's got tickets?" or "Who's got two?" just loud enough for the people in the immediate area to hear. Practice the pitch of this mantra so that you will attract some attention but won't draw stares from every cop in the place.

Walk, Don't Run Show up an hour and a half before game time, park your car and walk towards the subway stop to the south of Shea on Roosevelt Avenue. On the overpass connecting the Long Island Rail Road and the National Tennis Center to Shea, you will be faced with hordes of people arriving from public transit, as well as from overflow parking by the tennis stadium. Walk head-first into the stampede of fans (you always seem like you need something if you're the only person walking the wrong way) and recite your mantra. You will be the first to get to these early birds and you'll usually pay face value (if they're paranoid that you're a cop) or double the face value (if they've read this story). Dress nicely and mind your manners. People with extras will not want to spend three hours sitting next to a scumbag.

Best Place To Find A Pro Scalper If you need two together, that means you have to go to the pros (and if you need more than two, you should go to a priest, cause you ain't got a chance in hell of getting three or more without going through a high-priced broker well before the game). Look for lone guys in sweat suits who appear to be waiting for friends who aren't gonna show. Or, keep your eyes peeled for two or three guys huddled in a circle with their heads down. Odds are they're looking at a bunch of tickets and a floor plan. Stick your head in the middle of the pack and ask where the seats are. The pros were getting $150 each for Field Box during the Divisional Series and $90 each for Upper Box, prices that are sure to rise for this week's League Championship Series. If there's a Subway Series, face it: You'll probably have to kill someone for seats.

For now, walk towards Gate E, which is located outside the park between the Mets' bullpen and right field. Ten years ago, my dad and I bought at least 50 pairs in this spot, and scalpers always converge here to meet their regular customers as gametime gets closer.

Best Place To Get Pinched if you're a scalper Check the prospective buyer's neck to see if he or she is wearing an oversized beaded dog-tag-styled silver chain—odds are there's a badge on the end of it. The 110 Tracer Unit, which was working the scalper beat last Saturday, had 17 undercover guys and gals all over the Stadium. But the areas around Gates C and D were the most heaviest patrolled, because those gates are closest to the cops' temporary headquarters at Gate C.

Special warning: If you see a big guy with short hair writing on a pad in front of a really upset white guy with his palms upturned and his mouth open, walk away quickly. And recite your mantra only to yourself.

 
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