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LAST TO DIE. [09-30-07] | metsgrrl.com

LAST TO DIE. [09-30-07]

The MG+TBF house was in a fever pitch from, well, the last pitch last night, and we were up early, at Shea just shy of 11, parked under Northern Boulevard for the first time in over a year. I wanted to wander around and take pictures, and hoped we could find the “Meet the Mets” camera and tell them, We know the second verse, let us sing! I want to say that people were cautiously optimistic, not quite ebullient, but hope. There was plenty of hope. There was a drop line at the box office, and plenty of people looking for tickets. I saw one group of three boys with a sign asking for 1, and took their photo – only to see a father with a stroller and two other young children in tow stop, ask them, “You’re not selling, are you? Just don’t sell it,” and handed them a ticket, gratis.

And the signs. There were signs everywhere. I considered a sign, but we were in UR1, Row O, which means no room to hang a sign, and with a camera and a notebook there is no extra hand to hold a sign. But I thought about it, hard. We were in WRIGHT and FLOYD (it seemed the right thing to do), and TBF was wearing the crappy hat he used to wear to work on playoff days and I was in the stylin’ hat he refers to as my “big pimpin’ hat,” but I prefer to think of as my special occasion hat, which he bought me at the New Era store on 4th St., paying far too much money for a baseball hat, but he cannot resist being able to buy me things that say METS on it.

We were quiet, though, very quiet, after our initial ebullience, when we settled into our seats and realized the Mets were, indeed, quite serious about providing pre-game entertainment from – no, seriously – The Yiddish National Theater. While I appreciate that Sundays are usually the days that The Mets Welcome… the various yeshivot and B’nai Brith and JCC’s of the Tri-State area, but, speaking on behalf of my people, I assure you that EVERYONE would have understood if the Mets had made the last-minute decision to jettison “Bei Mir Bist Du Schein” for “Living On A Prayer” and “Welcome To The Jungle” at full volume through the PA.

As the entertainment began, we sat there with our mouths open (think Beavis & Butthead watching Milli Vanilli) and then, very quietly, TBF suggests:
“How about… in honor of Yiddish Day, here’s a song by someone from David Geffen’s record label?”
When I picked myself off of the floor, I was still laughing, and continued:
“Here’s a song by a band whose A&R guy uses the word ‘schmuck’ a lot.”
“Here’s a song by a band whose members really, really like matzoh ball soup.”
Maybe it’s not that funny now, but it was much-needed hilarity to cut the undertones of solemnity.

And then the game began, Shea on its feet from the first pitch, pumped up, ready to rock and roll and yell and will this team to win today. But after, oh, the fourth or fifth run, it drifted away towards the Whitestone Bridge on the wind.

I didn’t like the idea of the Glavine-Willis matchup as soon as I heard about it. Glavine has been pitching as though he’s been taken over by a robot, and I had zero confidence he would have the passion or the concentration to get through it if things got tough. Believe me when I say that I am not happy that this was how things started to look very early on.

TBF kept shooting me glances, as I assumed the posture of one waiting for the executioner.
“He’s Tom Glavine. He’ll be fine. If you’re going to act like that every time a pitch is thrown it’s going to be a very long game.”
“I have to get through this the way I’m going to get through this.”
That first inning was the lowest circle of hell I have experienced at Shea. It was worse than Yadier f’ing Molina in Game 7 last year. Because it was like being dragged through fire over, and over, and over again, by the FUCKING MARLINS. It was like the rollercoaster that scares the heck out of you and when you get to the end and can finally get out of it, you find out that something’s wrong and you speed right by the people waiting to ride and find yourself climbing that first scary hill again.

TBF was listening to WFAN in one ear, and despite bringing two pairs of headphones and a y-splitter for the radio, I couldn’t do it. The camera kept getting in the way, we kept getting up and down (I understand why they stand in the upper deck, you can’t fucking SEE THE PLATE if you don’t).

I kept waiting for it to happen, you know? I kept waiting for someone to break through or rise above or just HIT THE FUCKING BALL and get everyone excited. They demonstrated that they could do it, the question in my mind was, Why aren’t they?

TBF: “Hitting is hard. It’s just hard.”

The scoreboard was keeping us abreast of what was going on on the other side of the Walt Whitman Bridge, and between EVERY half-inning, everyone was opening up their cell phones or turning on their Blackberries for an update. I was not one of them, because I wanted to watch the game in front of me. I thought it would jinx us, also. And TBF had the freaking radio in one ear and I trusted Howie Rose to come through and tell us what we needed to know when we needed to know it.

I still kept waiting for it to happen. I just refused to believe it wasn’t going to happen. i kept telling myself, we got 13 runs the other day. We got 6 in the bottom of the 9th inning on Tuesday. I was there. I saw them do it. I watched them yesterday. They can do this.

I glance down at the dugout roof and I have to glance again, because it looked like YOUR SEASON HAS COME had morphed into YOUR SEASON HAS GONE. I never saw it like that before, how close the two really were. But still, I kept thinking, the rally is coming any minute now!

Around 3:30, Coop sent us a text, telling us to come down to the Coop box. We do not like to wander around during the game, but TBF left it up to me and we weren’t exactly in love with the people around us (well, the ones who hadn’t already left, that is), so we ran down to the mezzanine. Her box is – was – one section over from section 12, spitting distance from our seats.

(Did I tell you what we ended up with for the playoffs? We ended up with seats IN OUR SECTION, TWO ROWS ABOVE OUR NORMAL SEATS. Both TBF and I ended up with the SAME SEATS for different games (since I am Tues/Fri and his was Saturday). I don’t want to sound all “my boyfriend is fucking awesome” but holy crap, this guy works the system within an inch of its proverbial life and it pays off. Not only were we in our section for all eight playoff games, we had some very dear friends sitting TWO SEATS AWAY from us. We were set. It was going to be glorious. Was. Was. Was.)

From the mezzanine, I could see the Mets dugout, and into the Mets dugout, and couldn’t believe that, unlike the Marlins dugout, everyone was SITTING DOWN. What the fuck? This is the game of your lives, assholes. Stand up, cheer every guy on the field, cheer every guy at bat. LOUDLY. Right now, I don’t care very much if it’s hard.

But I still kept hoping. Hoping. Marlon coming up to bat in the 9th – this is Marlon Anderson. He’ll do it, right? And Luis Castillo – as Coop put it, they send the one guy playing with heart out there to take the last out.

And then it was over. TBF sitting there, staring at the dugout as the photographers all turn to face it and it empties out. I leave him there, I don’t try to move him, I know he needs to see it to accept it and he’ll move of his own accord. And then the scoreboard flashes “Thanks for coming” and that’s when he loses it. “HOW ABOUT, THANK YOU FOR A GREAT SEASON. HOW ABOUT, THANKS FOR ALL THE MONEY YOU SPENT ON TICKETS. HOW ABOUT, THANKS FOR SUPPORTING THE TEAM!”

I am struggling not to break down and cry like a 7 year old, and it held while we were walking back to the car, while we backed it out into traffic, while we went into Flushing looking for ice cream, before we just decided to GO HOME because we were wandering around like zombies and starting to fight with each other. And while normally that’s kind of okay, the residual baseball-cranky squabbles, we were not going to let this team get to us and make us fight, when one of the best parts of the whole baseball thing is that this is something we get to do together.

Am I horrible person if this makes me feel better?

They had sleepwalked through the last two weeks of the season as if entitled to the NL East crown, and fresh off a 13-0 whitewashing of the Marlins on Saturday, the Mets appeared remarkably relaxed — almost too relaxed — before Sunday’s game, with everything on the line. Before batting practice Jose Reyes and a half-dozen Mets slouched on leather couches, cackling as they watched the PG-comedy Rookie of the Year on a big-screen TV. Glavine had a hard time suppressing a yawn as he sat at his locker.

After the game all TV sets were off — alas, there were no longer any relevant baseball games being played elsewhere in the country — as some Mets players sat on chairs in front of their lockers with their heads down; others gazed blankly around the room, at nothing in particular. One by one they spoke:

Pedro Martinez: “We f—ed it up as a team, plain and simple.” Carlos Delgado: “It’s surreal. You just can’t believe any of it.” David Wright: “We played beyond horrible.” Billy Wagner: “We’re all shocked.”

In the end, there was nothing more to say.

Which is about how I feel right now.

I get to feel crappy about this. I’m not going anywhere, but I get to feel crappy about this, and so do you, if you want. And if you don’t, more power to you, I will not come to your house and disconnect your cable and forbid you to watch the Fall Classic. But I get to nurse my heartbreak for a little while.

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