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STREETS OF BALTIMORE. [6-18-09] | metsgrrl.com

STREETS OF BALTIMORE. [6-18-09]

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“If we don’t win this game,” said the guy sitting behind me, “we don’t deserve to play baseball. Not even just in the American League. Baseball.”

It was the 9th inning. After being shut out for a few innings, and then tying it up, and then giving up a home run to Robert Andino – why are our villians the unlikely ones, always, why are the Mets the ones giving up the big moments, the special home runs, who did not know that Matt Wieters was not going to get his first home run this series? – they had eked themselves out a game. They got on the board. They got ahead. They took the lead.

That’s right, there was a lead at one point in this evening. There was a point in the game where the Mets were playing reasonably good baseball. Luis Castillo contributed. Alex Cora contributed. Daniel Murphy contributed. Good things happened.

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No, really, they did.

But it was that 9th inning, you know. I was sitting there, 15 rows up from home plate (a big reason we love road games), sitting because I could, because they were standing and I wasn’t standing for their team even though it meant standing for my guy, the player whose name was on my back tonight. I wasn’t standing because around the 7th inning I realized that the reason I was so goddamn warm was because I had a temperature, so I was conserving energy. I am feverish.

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I am watching Frankie, and he is not, shall we say, having his best outing ever. I turn to my friend Karen, up from North Carolina on business and Mets fan by birth, and tell her that this is the time that TBF will tell us that This Is What Frankie Does.

TBF is theorizing: “We can’t walk a run in. We have to get a fly ball and let a run come in and then a double play ball and go to extras.” I am not sure if he is theorizing or prophesizing, actually.

Matt Wieters gets a double. Felix Pie, who cannot hit, but who can clearly run, comes out to pinch run. There is another walk. And then, there is a hit and a run comes in and the game is tied.

The guy behind me assumes a sing-song tone of voice: “Oh, noooooooo, K-Rod, whatsssss wrong????” I assume the extra emphasis is because of my shirt. I would turn around and tell him to go to hell but I remind myself that I am feverish and not rational and these are Orioles fans, they will melt at one glance of death from a girl from Brooklyn.

To make matters worse, now, Nick Markakis comes to the plate. There are more Markakis jerseys in in the ballpark than anything else, even Ripken or Wieters (and there are a helluva lot of Wieters, especially considering he just got here all of three minutes ago.)

The Orioles fans, previously a pleasant and docile lot, suddenly smell blood in the water, and act accordingly. They are on their feet. They are cheering loudly. Small children near me, which I previously thought charming, are standing on seats and jumping up and down in excitement. I briefly find myself wishing that they would fall down and hurt themselves, and then I remind myself that I do not root for the Yankees and such evil thoughts are not normal or permitted.

I will confess that this is the place where my faith in my closer started to get just a little shaky. Just a little, mind you.

Carlos Beltran is suddenly playing shortstop, and I would think given my current state that I was hallucinating except that TBF says, “Hey, look at Carlos Beltran.”

Nick Markakis, thankfully, is sat down. My heart rate returns to normal.

But Aubrey Huff is next, Aubrey Huff, the gentleman who would be the savior of the 2009 Mets baseball season if only Omar would overlook his Hispanic biases and trade Ryan Church, Brian Schneider, Fernando Martinez, Jennifer Aniston’s phone number, the corpse of Walter O’Malley and several sacks of baseballs to acquire him (that is, if you have been listening to WFAN lately).

I decide that I will purposely set an opposite jinx. I pack all my things up. I put away the cameras and the cell phone and the notebook and zip the bag closed. There are no signals to TBF regarding what I want to do when the Mets win and I need to go photograph the on-field celebration. No, I am going to prepare myself for a quick getaway, the kind of getaway a fan of the opposing team would want to execute at a road game their team loses. We are, unfortunately, old hands at this getaway drill. (Pittsburgh in 2006. Various Philadelphia outings. August 1, 2008, in Houston. Yankee Stadium last Friday.)

There. I had now tipped the balance in our favor. I drank some water. I waited to watch Frankie get out of the mess he had gotten himself into. He is, after all, Francisco Rodriguez.

Of course, we all know how that went.

I am pleased to report that our getaway maneuvers were successful, aside from the rocket scientist who felt the need to screech “What happened to K-Rod, girlfriend??” as we left; I abandoned my role as a genteel, civilized visiting fan considerate of children and families and flipped him the bird with both hands, without turning around. I heard several fans of the orange and blue yelling variations on, “…and you’re STILL in last place” as we made our way out the gates, so clearly it was contagious. But we were in the car and on the highway before Wayne had finished his recap on WFAN.

Baltimore was beautiful. The weather cooperated. The park was absolutely wonderful. (More on that next week when I finally get my ballpark writeups together from the previous road games.) We smashed crabs with tiny mallets for lunch. We got a great place for BP and got to watch a game with a good friend. And ultimately, these road games are our favorite kind of trip to take together, combining travel and local food and driving and photography and history and, of course, baseball.

It just would be nice if the Mets would cooperate from time to time.

See you tomorrow night back at home.


We got home at 1:30am, I will sort these out later:
Batting Practice photoset
Photoset from the game

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