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“get off the plate a little bit, and allow yourself to be free” | metsgrrl.com

“get off the plate a little bit, and allow yourself to be free”

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The title quote comes from Mr. Cornelius Clifford Floyd, #30, one of tonight’s heroes.

Then again, where wasn’t there a hero tonight? Okay, so Valentin had one of his worst plays all season. And he can’t lay down a bunt to save his life.

But everywhere I looked, someone was doing something exceptional. Someone was rising to not just meet the challenge, but kick the living s**t out of the challenge in a dark alley.

On the 7 train at 2:45. At Shea by 3:15. Strangely, I am not hungry, at all. My heart was pounding as I left work and walked to the train, but by the time we reach Willets Point I am calmer. Having TBF around helps, but of course we are both so nervous we are bickering pointlessly once we get off the train and into the cattle chute that is the 7 train exit.

Our seats – arranged in a trade, game 2 extras for game 1 – are on the first base line, level with the visitor’s bullpen. We never sit on this side of the stadium. Mostly we prefer the third base side so we can see into the dugout, but these tickets were as close to an even trade as we could get. A little nervewracking – just a touch – until that first ticket scanned.

No stops. No detours. No snacks. No shopping. Seats. Scorecards. Notebooks. Cameras. Deep breathing.

Our section had great people in it. The hearty “SUCKS!” after each Dodger name was announced, a novelty for us. Aside from some seat-kicking children behind us (whose parents did intervene after two dirty looks) it was a great crowd of people to watch the game with. A guy in front of us started yelling, “He’s a bum!” every time a Dodger was at bat. This produced amazing results. By the end of the game, entire rows in our section were chanting: “Bum! Bum! Bum!” “It’s family-friendly, *and* it’s historical!” someone observed.

I was strangely calm once the game started; I think it helped the juggling of the camera with the new lens, and the notebook, and the new vantage point. I got so used to our third-base view, it was easy for me to watch baseball that way, I was accustomed to the rhythm. Now it is playoffs and standing up and sitting down and standing up again, and high fives and clapping so hard my hands hurt, and yelling so loudly my voice is raw.

TBF spent the beginning of the game in that quiet space which disguises gnawing anxiety. He said to me at one point, “It’s like Pittsburgh again, you thought they were going to lose from the first out,” but the truth is I didn’t. It was eerily calm inside after first pitch. He, on the other hand, did not breathe until that Delgado home run, which I lost track of once it went over the fence – 470 feet? did it go out into the parking lot as a souvenir for the firefighters called in to deal with a burning car?

So much to remember. That first at-bat. Heaping hope after hope upon John Maine. That leaping catch by Reyes. And of course, THAT play, which I don’t even have to talk about. I saw Green pick it up, I saw him throw it, I never saw Valentin touch it, next thing I know it’s careening into home plate and there’s Lo Duca and WTF?

and – CLIFF!!! Cliff hitting that ball. Cliff hitting his fist to his heart and then to the crowd as he crossed home. And, later: Cliff on the smooch cam :)

Later, pitching around Cliff to get to Shawn Green.
Me: “That’s disrespectful to the Jews!”
Guy behind me looks up.
“Um, I can say that.”
“No, it’s okay, so can I.”

Willie taking out Maine just when everyone would have expected him to NOT take out Maine. However, it would have probably been good if he had taken out Mota when we expected him to take out Mota.

But did it matter, in the end? It didn’t matter, because we FOUGHT and we won. Delgado is going to be a POWERHOUSE. Reyes is going to settle down. Wright is going to find his groove. I can’t wait for Endy to find his, too.

But what was it like? I hear you ask. What was it like? Your first post-season game ever, in your first real baseball year ever.

The truth is that it was the usual blur of action and emotion and highs and lows, less of a rollercoaster than my first games were. I will confess that I somehow TOTALLY missed that Brad Penny was out there for a little while (although I pretended to be all-knowing when TBF pointed it out later. Hi, honey). I was jealous of Jessica’s nails – I could not get mine done in half blue half orange as I planned because I have client meetings this week – as it was I ruined the manicure I had.

I like the ritual but the ritual of these games isn’t familiar enough to me yet. (And I realize that most of you could spit back: Not for us EITHER, ya know.) I will not like having to sit through “God Bless America” at every damn game (before you flame me, it’s the forced faux patriotism I don’t like, and you know I’m right). I hope I am calmer enough tomorrow that it can sink in more – plus we can get there earlier.

This sucks. I hate it. It comes nowhere near to describing what it was really like. Maybe I will get this right tomorrow. But it is jarring and not lyrical or interesting.

Some random comments:

  • Don’t make Heilman go out there again without “London Calling” especially since the reason you omitted “London Calling” was because you were showing some puff piece on the new stadium.
  • I don’t like the new Budweiser sign. The design is too plain and monolithic and it overshadows the field.
  • The Lucas Prata song is just not good. End. Any song spliced over Mets highlights is automatically better, but that doesn’t change the fact that the song is insipid. You can display the words to the chorus on Diamondvision in the futile hope that we’ll sing along all you want. We aren’t going to sing it for the same reason we didn’t sing along to “Our Team, Our Time”: it’s terrible. The melody is bland and unispiring and it’s compressed within an inch of its life. How about some kind of song that’s relevant to the team and the fans? The Spanish Mets song that Reyes comes out to was a great song. THAT would be relevant, and musically it’s livelier and more inspiring.
  • I finally figured out why I have not been thrilled with the use of “Start Me Up” and “Eminence Front,” even though those are two of my all-time favorite bands, ever: the songs do not reflect the team. When David Wright was on the first Post-Season Live on Monday (I think it was here), someone asked him about “Meet The Mets” and if it was the team’s theme song. His answer was that it wasn’t the team’s theme song, it was the organization’s theme song.

    The Who and the Stones are old white guys – old BRITISH white guys to boot – and I doubt anyone in the clubhouse, besides maybe Glavine and Heilman – listens to the Who or the Stones. Jose Reyes is not listening to Quadrophenia on his days off. David Wright is not listing Goat’s Head Soup as a Desert Island Disc. No one dances in the dugout before the game to either “Eminence Front” or “Start Me Up.” I don’t even care about hearing them; they’re not inspiring, and they’re certainly overused. Maybe they think those songs appeal to the average demographic of a ticketholder, but I’d challenge that assumption too.

  • The photo gallery is here, but here are some highlights:

    PA040057.JPGpedro's arm waving from the dugout
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