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LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT. [8-10-10] | metsgrrl.com


Filled up. Clearly sold a lot of seats but ppl did not show. #mets

I didn’t head out to tonight’s game expecting a win. I didn’t even expect a good performance from Mike Pelfrey. All I wanted was some time sitting up near the top of 517 (the location of our pre-All Star break pro-rated Weekday Plan) and a few hours of baseball, a few hours of knowing what was going to happen, a few hours of the comfort of the repetition of at-bats and inning breaks and sides up and sides down, of familiar at-bat music, of tedious commercial breaks, of familiar voices booming out of loudspeakers.
I lost an old friend this past weekend, and only found out on Monday. She died of a heart attack at age 48, out of the blue, sudden, no warning. As a result, I am understandably on a rollercoaster of emotions. At 4:30 I had decided I was not going to the game, and then, the more I thought about it, the more I decided that was a bad idea. As much as I didn’t want to talk to anyone and didn’t want to deal with people, headphones and music could get me from the office to the Mets-Willets Point stop. Then I didn’t need to talk to anyone, really, for a while, until TBF turned up – and I didn’t have to talk to him, because he already knew.

I got on the 7 train.

I thought we were in for disaster this evening for sure when I arrived and found these gentlemen (the term used loosely) sitting three rows in front of us in what was at the time a very empty section. Four Yankees hats, one Dodgers hat. They lustily cheered the Rockies’ introductions and half-yelled SUCKS after every Met introduction. What stopped them from being class A dbags is that by the third inning, the section filled up, the religious mom and daughter who sit to our right, and other groups, most with children, above and below us. There was some exaggerated applause at minor Rockies achievements but the dbags-in-training mostly took themselves off somewhere once they realized that our dude on the hill was not going to crumble in the mere presence of Ulbado Jiminez, nor would the Rockies start teeing off of our guy.


Section 517 is such a breath of fresh air compared to 514 I cannot even begin to tell you. People are bitter and angry and nasty in 514, and I don’t know why; they are mostly leftover Shea veterans of the Tuesday-Friday plan who got stuck in the last four rows of the Promenade. The fact that they still bother to show up at all I do consider fortunate for the Mets organization, but they are not fun people to sit near. 517, tonight, was just full of people there to watch baseball. Even the large group in the row in front of us, not all huge baseball fans, either got up and walked around or played with their phones when they were bored (and there were parts of this game that were boring). They limited their trips up and down to between innings. They talked quietly amongst themselves. No one was drunk or stupid.


There was a gaggle of small boys behind us who were a blast to listen to. i could not believe how tiny they were when I finally turned around in the 7th inning, when one of them announced I THINK THIS GAME IS GOING TO GO INTO EXTRA INNINGS! YAY! They knew what was going on on the field, and told each other, better than some professional radio announcers I have listened to. They paid attention better than many adults. They were adorable. They were what I needed, not an adult going into idiotic theories about why it’s all Carlos Beltran’s fault, why Alex Cora shouldn’t have been released, why Jeff Francoeur should play every day. They were happy for each pitch, carefully sharing with each other the speed and type from the ribbon board. They would get excited when there was a hit. They would get excited when there was a foul ball. They would get excited when the bases were loaded – oh, wait, that was all of us – but yet seemed to take things philosophically when ducks were left on the pond. It was all very matter of fact to them; while they cared passionately, it wasn’t personal – yet. (They have time.)


There was much rejoicing in the 4th inning when Fernando Martinez hit a single. I was about to nervously point out that I would not be happy to witness a no hitter in my own ballpark against my own team, but at least it would be Jimenez, and not someone I virulently hated.
POP went the ball, sending Mr. Martinez the Younger to first base.
“Oh, thank god,” exhaled TBF.
“YAY” I said. “At least we won’t get no-hit!”
It is sad, actually, that that is the most we wish for these days.

There was much nervous watching of Mike Pelfrey’s pitch count, the number of times he went full count, the number of men that got on base. There was even a broken bat single from Mr. Pelfrey, to help his cause. If he hadn’t run it out with intent, he would have likely been out (at least from my vantage point). It seemed like he was trying to hide his grin under the helmet. I am not exactly ready to break out my Pelfrey shirt again, but at least it was a solid outing. It wasn’t an outing that made you wince. It wasn’t an outing that made you sad, or angry.


The control room got our attention by playing “I’m A Rocker” and then “You’re A Friend of Mine,” which I noted that I probably hadn’t heard since it was, um, popular (or at least current). (If you are are unfamiliar with this joint Clarence Clemons-Jackson Brown joint, with guest appearance by Daryl Hannah, please do click on the link for a good laugh.) The Rockies got our attention by intentionally walking Carlos Beltran. We had previously booed their intentional walk of David Wright (while agreeing that if the situation were reversed, we would probably do the same thing), but Beltran? Last time I looked, he was on the interstate, and not exactly hitting like the Carlos Beltran of old.


But they did, and Reyes’ sac fly to right was enough to get a runner home, and the deadlock was broken. I was not exactly brimming full of confidence that the Mets would be able to maintain that position, or that a certain closer wouldn’t make it interesting later.

Those fears would be for naught, as Frankie was more or less efficient, and with “Taking Care of Business” blasting out of the PA and echoing around the half-empty ballpark, we headed down the stairs and towards the 7 train.


As the train pulled out of Willets Point, I put my head on TBF’s shoulder and said, “I’m still sad.”
I suppose if this was a perfect blog post, I would wax lyrical about the transformative power of baseball, things we all know, things you all know.
“It took your mind off things for a few hours,” he offered.
The truth is, I didn’t need much more than that. Not ever game has to be life-changing, not every win has to be breathtaking, not every reason you show up at the ballpark has to be dramatic. The Mets won, and yes, it was a peaceful few hours of respite. I am glad for all of it, always.

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