REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL, PART IV. [04-19-10]

Mets v Cubs
04-19-10

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Welcome, Ike Davis, to the New York Mets.

I know what you’re going to say: you’re going to say that the Ike Davis hype is over the top. It’s been a flurry of craziness over the past 36 hours, as #ikedavis surpassed #thatdisneyproductthatcallshimselfarocksinger and everyone everywhere seemed to be talking about Ike Davis. Ike Davis got pulled for a pinch runner on Sunday and half the media jumped on it, thinking it was A Sign. All morning people argued was he coming or was he not, was he going to play if he got called up, to the point where he arrived and media personnel were actually Tweeting things like IKE DAVIS HAS ENTERED THE CLUBHOUSE. IKE DAVIS KNOCKING DIRT OFF HIS CLEATS. IKE DAVIS ADJUSTING HIS… well, nevermind. You get the idea.

And yes, Ike Davis fever got the better of me, and around 2pm I got email from TBF, reading my twitter feed where I was ruing that I didn’t yet have the emergency bag of ballpark clothes at the office, noting that he could leave, go home and get our stuff, and meet me at the ballpark. At 3pm we flipped a coin and then still decided no. At 4pm, as I walked into a meeting, I called him and said “Let’s do it.” At 6:30, we were online at the box office at Citi Field (yes! there was a line) and buying two tickets in Section 513, Row 1. (We will leave out the tirade about why this seat doesn’t belong to a season or plan ticket holder for another time.) There were people trying to buy tickets tonight, there were lines at the ticket windows, and the sections just past the dividing line between Promenade Reserved and Promenade Reserved Infield were reasonably full for a Monday night in April.

People were here to see Ike Davis. And, well, then there were the Cubs fans.

I know the expectations are brutal. I know that Ike Davis is Just One Guy, and we have bigger problems as a team, but sometimes you have to put all of that aside. Sometimes you have to ignore all of that. The reason I decided to go to the ballpark to see Ike Davis make his debut was because I don’t know how many things we as Mets fans are going to get to celebrate or be happy about this baseball year, and I’d like to take them where I can get them. After the last few years, this was something good, and positive, and HOMEGROWN.

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I was completely prepared for us to lose, even against the Cubs and their atrocious bullpen (which they refer to as “the Pig Pen“).

(Don’t tell me that I gotta believe, if I gotta drag my ass to the ballpark on a Monday night in April, I’m believing. Thank you.)

There were plenty of people at the ballpark tonight that felt exactly the same way. There were signs. There were handmade shirts, with the I LIKE IKE campaign buttons on them. If someone at the Mets had any initiative whatsoever, we would see official versions of those being sold at the Team Store. (Wait, I said no complaining tonight.)

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It was a chance to stand and cheer the new guy. It was a chance to be proud for five minutes. It was a chance to have something to be happy about as a Mets fan for a little while. It was a chance to forget about injuries and embarrassment and horrific in-game management. It was even a chance to forget that WE’RE NOT HITTING.

It was a chance to watch the Cubs fans boo the Dickens out of Soriano, too. And the pitcher they refer to as “Spellcheck”. It was a chance for Mets/Cubs trash-talking on Twitter, which earlier tonight I termed “the biggest sports bar in the world”. My podcast partner is a Cubs fan. I hear and feel their pain. However, I was glad that tonight, I did not have to hear anyone singing their little song and waving those dumb-ass W flags.

It was not all roses and butterflies, however. There was also Gary Matthews Jr. When he was booed tonight – and nothing echoes louder than boos in a half-empty ballpark – I found myself nodding my head in agreement, and fervently praying for the health of Carlos Beltran and the return of “El Esta Aqui.” And the absence of bats.

But there was Ike Davis, giving us a perfectly respectable debut, and there was Angel Pagan, and then there was Jennry Mejia (another reason to be cheerful), and then “Taking Care of Business” (pleasefindanothersong) and back on the Baseball Express home.

It is easy to say that I wouldn’t feel like this if we had lost, or if Ike Davis had done nothing worth mentioning in his debut today. Tonight was about hope, standing there on that first base line, and I’ll go head to head with anyone who tries to say otherwise.


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