“TIM REDDING YOU SUCK!”
By our reckoning, this was one of the top three worst games of the year. It wasn’t worse than the Castillo game, it wasn’t worse than that game in Baltimore where Frankie blew it, it wasn’t as bad as that 15-0 game (which, blessedly, we were not at), but goddamnit, this game was brutal. Absolutely brutal.
I was astonished how many people said they had tickets to tonight’s game. I was equally astonished at how many people were actually in the ballpark when I arrived, even though the Shake Shack line at 6:30pm was the shortest I have seen it all year, aside from games in the pouring rain. And there were even plenty of filled seats in the upper deck, including a disturbing number of Giants fans, many of whom seemed confused at the original concept of row and seat numbers on their ticket. (To be fair, our game experience wouldn’t be complete if someone didn’t come up to us pregame and inform us that we were in their seats… when their seats were in the next section over.)
The game was miserable. The game was boring. The game was intolerable. There was some semblance of a breeze in the People’s Seats, at least, but barely. My main consolation this evening was the adorable 8 or 9 year old boy in front of me, wearing some kind of contraption attached to the back of his head and his ear, babbling on in sign language to his mother a mile a minute. He very clearly wanted to see the Apple, but didn’t understand that it only came out during home runs. He was over the moon during the 7th inning stretch when the apple finally emerged.
He deserved better than that. We all did.
“TIM REDDING, YOU REALLY SUCK!”
There’s a gentleman in 515 who announces this fact with in a booming baritone whenever he gets a chance. It was too hot to get agitated tonight, too hot to be upset, too hot to be disappointed, too hot to torment the Giants fan next to me who wanted to talk about our lovely new ballpark and how excited he was to be here. I wanted to be a good hostess. I wanted to be polite and welcoming. I also wanted to tell him to STFU, our team sucks right now, please let me sulk in peace.
Instead, I made sure to tell him about the John T. Branch staircase and walked over one section at the end of the 8th inning to find Greg and Jason and get the exact coordinates for him.
“TIM REDDING – NO, YOU SUCK!”
“Wasn’t this guy one of your starters?” he asked me, when the aforementioned Tim Redding made his appearance.
“What happened there?”
“Didn’t work out so well.”
“I don’t think this is working out so well, either.”
He was right, of course, but at that point in the game it didn’t matter. I stood in the top row at Citi Field, right behind home plate, with Greg and Jason and Jon, and watched the kid with the dreadlocks down a few rows get up on his feet and try to get us to yell LET’S GO METS. And then there was an unfamiliar number in the on-deck circle, which of course is going to excite Jon, he of Mets By The Numbers, and the kid with the dreadlocks starts a AN-DY GREEN chant, and the 37 people left in the ballpark, most of whom are up in the stratosphere, get to their feet. And we cheer:
It was a cheer of desperation, of forced enthusiasm, of a genuine desire to find something to grab onto, and there was a healthy dose or sarcasm as well: This is what we have come to, giving a standing O to Andy Green. But we are Mets fans. We will find something to believe in, even when it would appear that there is nothing left, when the best we can hope for is to pray that the latest scrubino to arrive from the hinterlands can marshall his adrenaline long enough to give us something, anything, just so we don’t walk out of here feeling completely defeated.
A walk! He got a walk! Now the rest of the ballpark gets to its feet.
Of course, you know how it ended. It ended the way it always ends lately, or mostly ends. There are those sparks, those moments when you think that they could at least muster a fair attempt to perform well and play out the string without completely humiliating themselves, and then there are those moments when you shake your head and wonder what compelled you to spend 3 hours (thank god it was quick) in 90 degree heat watching our team perform at rock-bottom levels.
And to think, we are back tomorrow night, and again on Thursday. At least we are there together, at least they are shared memories, and, as the song goes, some day we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny. (As the writer of that lyric once explained, “Not that it would *be* funny, but just that it would *seem* funny.”)