Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): No such file or directory in /nfs/c06/h05/mnt/90799/domains/metsgrrl.com/html/wp-content/plugins/textlinkads/textlinkads.php on line 696

Warning: mysql_real_escape_string(): A link to the server could not be established in /nfs/c06/h05/mnt/90799/domains/metsgrrl.com/html/wp-content/plugins/textlinkads/textlinkads.php on line 696
“DOWN BY THE BAY, THE FOLKS ALL SAY… [5-29-07] | metsgrrl.com


…Love that Crazy Crab!”

I will begin by apologizing in advance for my obsession with the former San Francisco Giants anti-mascot, the Crazy Crab. My delight in anthropomorphism in baseball mascots would better suit a three-year-old, I realize. But, if you are not familiar with the Crab, I urge you to follow the link and edify yourself. If nothing else, it will distract you from Wedneday night’s massacre, and explain the headlines for the last two days.

But we are here to discuss Tuesday night’s jubiliation.

(The flickr feed is here for you old-skool types. Please do let me know in the comments if you like the slideshow or not.)

It was an odd, odd night from the start. The ticket taker felicitates me with, “Enjoy your win tonight.” I am used to the security guards out front and the ticket takers being fans of that Other team. Or perhaps a small smile and friendly greeting. But, “Enjoy your win”?
“I’ll enjoy watching the best team in New York right now.”
“Not just New York,” was his reply.

It wasn’t full so much as rowdy-full, add to that school groups and work groups and Fleet Week, combine it with Barry Bonds, and it’s an odd mix. “Take the Leap,” the signboards greeted us this evening, and that’s what happened as the Mets ran onto the field, each and every single one of them jumping over the foul line. I was so delighted at the sight I was not ready to capture this on film.

The euphoria was, however, short lived once we got into the first inning. On the other hand, as I kept telling myself and anyone around me who would listen, Oliver is always a little excitable the first inning. Always.

I got myself into just a bit of a lather after the second home run – not because the Giants hit two home run off of us in the first inning or anything like that (see above pgh), but because perched three or four rows behind me, were Yankees fans.
In full regalia.
Barking. “Woofing,” as the FAFIF guys describe it.
I lost it – I snapped. What could they possibly be doing here? $30 seats on a Tuesday night? You would pay that just to applaud the other team? What kind of person does that?
“They’re Yankees fans, honey,” was TBF’s wizened reply.
[It wasn’t until late in the game that we discovered that they were actually part of a large school group, which explained their presence at Shea. That’s not to say that the behavior isn’t reprehensible, and that’s not to say that, as the season progresses and the Yankees are out of the running, that this won’t actually start to happen. But at least you are spared my op-ed indignation for the time being.]

The Jose Reyes Spanish Academy teaches us the word “finger” tonight: “dedo”. As in, “Me duele el dedo,” or, “I hurt my finger.”

WHAT KIND OF SICK PEOPLE ARE YOU TEACHING US THIS? “Evil eye,” I said to the sisters next to me. “Kayn-ahora, pfoot pfoot pfoot,” like an old grandmother. Miriam and Julia are in stitches. Despite their lusty singalongs to “El Esta Aqui,” aka “He is Here,” the girls from Middle Village are nice Jewish girls.
“I’d like to see the Jose Reyes HITTING Academy,” Miriam shares.

We’re somewhere in the fourth inning when the older brother of William and Andrew, who has been sitting in Row F, Seat 1, makes his buddy in Seat 2 switch places with him, so said brother returns to his customary seat.
“Move. Now,” he demands.
I turn around.
“Something’s gotta give.”
I remember this superstition well. The gentlemen who formerly resided in seats 7 and 8 of row F were also superstitious about sitting in the same place, especially during extra innings.
I look over at Miriam and Julia, who tonight are also reversed.
“You need to move.”
“Maybe it’s not us, it’s him.”
I raise my eyebrows.
“If we don’t get a hit–”
Well, we all know how that turned out.

I note that the out-of-town scoreboard cannot contain Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s entire name. TBF covets Saltalamacchia, going so far as to have crowed (when “Baseball Tonight” was talking about Brian McCann’s excellence), “Trade us Saltalamacchia – for Lastings Milledge and– two sacks of baseballs!”

“Fast game,” TBF says. “We could be done by–”
I cut him off. “Unless we go to extra innings.”
“Right now, I think our strategy is to hope our pitcher lasts longer than theirs. They said it was going to be a pitcher’s duel.”
“I don’t know anything about this guy,” I confess.
“I don’t either, except he’s young and good!”

I realize I have not talked about Barry Bonds. It was a non-event to me. Everyone – even Gary and Ron, when I watched Wednesday night’s game, were going on and on about how the crowd on Tuesday was “just waiting” to boo Bonds. I honestly don’t think so. I think we were so caught up in the game and anethesthetized by strikeout after strikeout that when he did emerge from the dugout, it was just – okay, it’s you. There were not a lot of signs (although I heard tonight that – allegedly – they were confiscated? What BS if so). There was one guy parading around with a blow-up doll that looked like Barry Bonds as a cartoon syringe – but that was about it, at least in our neck of the woods. The dumb-ass Yankee kids behind us were louder all night.

David Newhan. If there is a player our section hates more than David Newhan – wait, Julio Franco hasn’t come up yet. No, that’s not fair, we see intrinsic value in Julio Franco, we just don’t want him pinch-hitting. But we want David Newhan pinch-hitting even less.
“Why does he even play baseball?” the Older Brother laments. “This is not a good career path for him.”
TBF is talking to the curmudgeons next to him, the father of the usual seat holder and his friend, a gentleman wearing a kelly green Mets hat and sporting a shiny silver claddagh ring on his hand. I am hearing snippets of conversation about the Giants in 1957, and “Oh, I always hated the Dodgers,” and his father had Sunday tickets, and it is impossible for me to follow the conversation as closely as I would like to. The curmudgeons find TBF, always, it’s the homemade scorecard that does it, I am sure. But it never occurs to them that the girl in the newer hat would also like to hear the stories.

It’s 9:18 and “Enter Sandman” is coming over the PA. How is this even possible?
This is the moment that a vendor, finished for the night, decides to block our view of home plate, just as David Wright is coming to the plate.
“Mr. Vendor?” I holler.
A girl in Prada sunglasses shoots us a withering look.
“Yeah, that was us,” Older Brother yells back. He is normally not quite this vocal. “Move!”

D. Wright. Hitting. The. Ball.
Getting pissed when it doesn’t go out.
Watching him watching himself on the Diamondvision. That was funny.

“Oh, now we’re going to deliberately walk Lo Duca?”
“That’s disrespectful to–”
“Damion Easley??”
“Well, they don’t call him ‘Hit Man’ for nothing.”
Alas, not tonight.

12th inning. Willie is arguing, Lo Duca’s veins are bulging out of his neck even up here in Section 12, and TBF has thrown his scorecard about three rows.
We settle down. At this moment, William and Andrew decide, for some reason I cannot fathom, that they are going to change seats.
“What are you DOING?” I ask.
“Changing it up,” one of them protests.
“No changing seats! No one can change seats!” I insist.

It was at the first game of the NLCS, just as they got to Mr. Looper in the lineup, that I coined the term “boo-vation”. You know, the opposite of “ovation”? Well, treble that for what happened when Armando Benitez set one foot onto the outfield and headed toward the pitcher’s mound. While perusing the lineup earlier, I had asked TBF, “Any relation?” To which his response was raised eyebrows and a gritty expression: “There’s only one.” (He sent me an email this morning entitled, “Benitez’ prior bad acts,” which thoroughly brought me up to speed on previous transgressions, some of which I was already familiar with, but not all.)

It is hard to write about that last inning because it was so crazy and happened so fast. The ump waving his hands, TBF crying “BALK!” and suddenly everyone sounding like a chicken coop. Understanding the delightful irony in this happening to Mr. Benitez. Delgado at the plate, and – suddenly he points the bat at the pitcher and – WHAT? NOT AGAIN? WHAT?

Reyes jogging to home plate and into the dugout.

TBF said later that he knew it, that after the second balk call the next pitch was going to be a fastball, and Delgado was certainly going to take it, but even not knowing anything about this at all, human nature would have suggested that just maybe this particular pitcher in this particular park at this particular time, this gentleman might be just the tiniest bit emotional and that emotion might translate into a fastball thrown too well.

It just might, indeed.

We came home, exhausted (although, honestly, it wasn’t markedly later than we’d usually get home from a game), got a snack, came home and watched the game on fast-forward, happy, glowing. And I think, how much would I have missed in this life – TBF’s life – my life – if I hadn’t become a baseball fan? All the things I would have missed out on. All the things we wouldn’t have shared.

Comments are closed.