LAKE OF FIRE. [4-22-11]
Mets v Dbacks
You will probably laugh hard and uproariously when I tell you that my goal in heading to Citi Field tonight was to do something less stressful and more calming than the kind of week I have had, especially with Michael Pelfrey on the mound. But it was definitely one of those nights where my goal was to not think about work once and to enjoy Mets baseball.
This is the view from my “season tickets” for this year. I wasn’t at the game on Tuesday because I had a concert conflict, so this was the first time sitting here this year. We are in a very low row, which makes a quick exit between innings possible. We are also far, far away from the annoying people we had to sit near all last season. I am hoping the people who sat in our immediate vicinity tonight are regulars, because they were hysterical. People who were paying attention to the game, not trying to do the wave, not getting up and down and up and down and up and down (and when they did get up, it was between innings or during pitching changes). It is amazing to me that the upper deck is more civilized than the field level in this regard, but it is just easier to pay attention to the game upstairs. Maybe not on a sunny Saturday, but on a weeknight, this location will do just fine.
Some sample heckles:
“YOUR BROTHER’S A BASERUNNING GENIUS” directed at Stephen Drew
“DAVID WRIGHT OWES NICKEAS A CASE OF BEER” (you can imagine when that was yelled)
“BJ IS BETTER” (directed at Justin Upton – not true, but still funny)
Given that we spent two years sitting in Beltran-hating, baseball-essentials-lacking-stupid hell in the upper rows of the upper deck, I can deal with witty rejoinders all game. I’ll take it. It reminds me more of my mezzanine seats at Shea than anywhere else I have been at Citi Field.
There was, of course, a game. Pelfrey continued to seem to want to walk the leadoff guy, and there were way too many flyout pitches for a guy who is supposed to be a groundball pitcher.
“As long as the word ‘out’ is attached to his pitching, I don’t much care what kind of pitcher he is,” I said, teeth chattering, as TBF mumbled to himself.
“It’s just – worrying. It’s a warning sign,” he said, finally.
We watched rain delays and various no-hitters get broken up on the out of town scoreboard, while we waited for something to happen in our own 1-0 game. There were bleeps. There were bloops. There were balls hit toward left field that repeatedly disappeared into the glove of one Gerardo Parra. I watched this and thought, how nice it must be to be confident in your left fielder, and longed for the days of the Chavez/Beltran/Gomez outfield.
I especially longed for those days when I had to watch Jason Pridie (whose walk on music was “Rebel Yell,” for reasons that currently escape me) running for balls I continually feared (and justifiably so) he could not catch. I watched David Wright drop a ball five guys were running towards. I watched Carlos Beltran drop a ball I would have not had one wink of doubt that Carlos Beltran would catch (to be fair, he did make up for that for the rest of the game).
I got cold. I took out the cashmere scarf. I took out the hand warmers. TBF put on another layer.
The problem with a pitchers’ duel – the kind of thing I normally love, and was perfect for the quiet, meditative baseball environment I was seeking to assuage my bruised brain – is that there is nothing to take photographs of after you get your obligatory pitchers shots. The new seating location is challenging for taking photographs of batters at the plate, requiring a) no one in the row in front of me b) me leaning forward to the very edge of my seat or c) moving or standing up. Really, I can learn to work with these limitations.
It was so cold tonight we were dancing to “El Esta Aqui” at one point, just for a chance to move around. On the note of walk on music, I have to say that the current crop of Mets selections pleases me greatly. Pelfrey chose the unexpected “Lake of Fire” by the Meat Puppets (which most people know from Nirvana’s cover in “Unplugged,” which was the version used). Mike Nikeas came out to the Black Keys. Jason Bay is back to the classics with Pearl Jam’s “Alive”.
Or rather, as I put it: “Jason who? Who is this fellow? Is he a new signing?”
(That joke has a shelf life of about two more games, don’t worry.)
We were pleased when Pelfrey made it through a full five innings, and then when he appeared in the on-deck circle at the bottom of the sixth inning, a sign that the plan was for him to stay in for a while. I did, however, lose a little patience in the 7th inning, yelling that he needed to just get on with it, that it was cold and I wanted to go home. I also needed someone, anyone, on the Mets to actually get a run.
David Wright walked.
Jason Bay came up to the base and I pondered all of the “Alive” jokes I could make at that moment. Alas, he struck out before I could come up with anything entertaining.
David Wright stole second.
Ike Davis comes up to the plate and everyone is all, “Oh, well, Ike’s here, here we go,” and then we’re still amazed when he makes contact and for a second, just a second, I think the ball is going out, and then it doesn’t go out, but TBF is saying loudly that IT WENT OVER THE LINE and they show the replay on Diamondvision and the second it finishes, everyone in the ballpark is waving their hands over their head and starting to chant “RE-PLAY! RE-PLAY! RE-PLAY!” and then the umpires scuttle off towards the tunnel.
“Where’s that graphic,” I say.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” says TBF.
We discuss how our favorite replay ever – and we have seen quite a few – remains the Omir Santos HR at Fenway. It will be hard for anything to ever top that: Jonathan Papelbon, at Fenway, that insufferable Dropkick Murphys song, and then some little scrubino takes him yard over the top of the Green Monster.
I barely have time to pick my camera up before the umpires come back out and make the sign that it’s a HR and then Ike comes running in.
Now, at least, the Mets were no longer being shut out by the Dbacks, and were, in fact, winning, a trend that continued into the 8th inning, where the bases started to look like a round robin of blue and orange.
JOSE! STOP SLIDING HEAD FIRST!
Carlos Beltran singles, and now our chants of “IN-SUR-ANCE-RUNS! IN-SUR-ANCE-RUNS!” start to seem less silly.
Jason Bay comes up to the plate.
“‘Son, she said, have I got a little story for you…’” I begin.
“Does it involve a RBI double?” asks TBF.
Alas, it does not, but at least it brought Jose in.
“Sandungueoso” blasts out from the PA, and I am actually sad. I am sad that I used to get up when this song started and show our closer the proper respect, I would applaud Francisco Rodriguez for all he was worth. There was a scattering of applause and even some boos, but for the most part, everyone pretty much shrugged and said, “Meh,” and with only minor drama, K-rod closed it down.
I heard “Taking Care of Business” for the first time in 2011, took my first shots of the players celebrating, and then ran towards a warm 7 train as fast as my feet would carry me. I am still cold.
We are back on Sunday, and secretly praying for a rainout tomorrow so we get a double-header. (And if you have tickets for the game tomorrow, I am thinking NO SUCH THING, I swear.)