FREE FALLING. [7-22-10]

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It was almost love at first sight, me and Dodger Stadium. It was just as gorgeous as all of the photographs. The sky was bluer than blue, the palm trees silhouetted in the distance, the air crisp and clean. History hung heavy in the place. There were families and teenagers and a sprinkling of Mets fans. I sat in seats two rows behind the fancy-shmancy seats right behind home plate, my seats just as good except that I didn’t have a free buffet in the club downstairs. I sat there and felt enormously lucky. It has been an amazing trip.

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Dodger Stadium is as heartbreaking as it is beautiful. Never before have I felt the division between the haves and have nots at a baseball stadium as I have at Dodger Stadium. The moat exists in Yankee Stadium, but even the people who have sat there have made fun of it; they don’t look through the hired help, and douchebags waving with their cellphones aside (which is a plague at every ballpark), they’re there to see the game. At Dodger Stadium, there is negative regard for the game being played on the field. People get up and down without regard to at-bats, let alone half innings. People – including hired help – will stand with a tray of drinks or lean over a seat to chat when the count is 3-2 or the bases are loaded, and look at you expressionless when you ask them to move. The wave started in the third inning. The person next to TBF in all seriousness asked him if Hong-Chi Kuo had been pitching the entire game. I know both pitchers are Japanese and both have the same initials, but come on. Beach balls were tossed around our section, yes, the section that was field level behind the net, and the person who dared to grab one and send it to an early grave was booed roundly. (Although rumor has it that people who do that are rewarded with baseballs. We would do it anyway, on sheer principle.) I am not even telling you about the ridiculously restrictive BP access nor the fact that 75% of the stadium is closed to all but the $250-per-ticketholder types until 5:45.

Ah, Dodger Stadium. This could have been the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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To make matters worse, we continue to mourn the recent demise of our offense. I could offer dozens of theories: they’re trying too hard, they’re not thinking, they’re swinging without looking. TBF will tell you that it is a self-fulfilling prophecy, that someone wrote OH NO 11 GAME ROADTRIP and then when the team started to fade a little, they just made up their minds that they were done. I think it’s all hooey, even my own codependent theories. I can tell you that I think it’s the wrong mix of people, and that they’re trying too hard for the things that count the least.

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Omar was at batting practice, and the small amount of Mets fans present at the game and in his immediate hearing distance lost no time letting him know that he should fire Jerry, trade Francoeur, bench Beltran in favor of Pagan, provide restitution for the fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico, and sign Roy Oswalt at any cost. David Wright yukked it up with the aforementioned celeb types behind the net. (I would like to tell him that one of his BFF’s spent the entire effing game facing away from the field and yakking with his buddies, but I imagine he would not care.) They took BP, they took extra BP, but once the game started, the offense remained conspicuously absent for yet another night. I could not blame Takahashi; it’s not like we were losing 11-0 or something, if we had seized upon opportunities that were presented to us, this would not have been completely insurmountable, and he had a good outing.

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Angel Pagan was a hero. I wish Angel would take more definitive charge of the outfield when Carlos Beltran is not out there, but aside from a lack of productive at bats, I cannot find fault with Angel Pagan today. On the other hand, why the hell can’t I find fault with Angel Pagan? Why the hell doesn’t he give the rest of his teammates hell for what they are not doing out there? Or maybe he does, and it doesn’t matter, because he’s just Angel Pagan.

It’s okay, you know? It really is okay. It is better this way. TBF is torturing himself with the out of town scoreboard, calculating the standings three times a day. I have been very vocally against this strategy, stating that it can only do harm, and zero good, to be hanging off every win or loss of not only our team, but every other team. I can’t do it. I won’t do it. It is one game at a time, win or lose. We are not chasing the wild card, we are too many games back, and signing Oswalt or Ted Lilly or Santa Claus is not going to help us.

I am typing nonsense at 2:15 in the morning, and no one is reading these dispatches anyway. Not that I blame anyone. I am here, I have to watch these games. You don’t.

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I have an off day tomorrow. There will be sightseeing, but there will be no baseball. That should assure the Mets of one win in the Dodgers series. Back to Chavez Ravine on Saturday.


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