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PLEASANT VALLEY SUNDAY. [4-24-11] | metsgrrl.com


Mets v Dbacks


It would be easy, for a game that took place on Easter, to make some borderline disrespectful joke about the bats rising from the dead, but I will not do that. If you are reading this, I know you will forgive me for even thinking such a thing; it felt like the greatest luxury in the world to be watching a game at which the Mets had a comfortable lead and to feel as though the lead was such that there was no worry about maintaining it, that maybe Jose and David could have the rest of the game off, that the word that begins with S and ends with P could start to be bandied around.


Today on Easter Sunday, the ballpark was half-empty and sleepy, almost. It was easy to make my way down through the scrum awaiting autographs off the first base line to find Ellie, president of the Mike Nickeas Fan Club and blogger in charge over at Mr. Met Is My Brother (although her actual brother was there, wearing a Yankees hat; I asked if he had been dropped on his head as a child). She was waiting for Mike to come out – which he did, later, and signed for anyone who wanted him to sign something. (He asked Ellie how softball was going this year; she is also a catcher, which is why he would remember.)


While it feels as though gate security has been given the instructions to turn things down a notch this year, this was not the case with the security fiercely guarding the integrity of the sections behind the dugout. Security tried to tell people that they couldn’t even walk on the side of the aisle closest to the dugout sections, and when I did so for one second to get around the people clogging up the aisles, a guard (who are stationed every few rows to prevent the onslaught of the great unwashed) gestured wildly at me, as though I was about to set one foot in the precious Metropolitan Box section. Here’s a tip, security: wait until someone does something before yelling at them to not do it. It was clear I was walking down to the bottom; it was clear I was moving around people who were in the way; there was nothing that indicated that I had any intention of trespassing into the forbidden sections. Stop overreacting.


Someone had given us free tickets for today’s game, which is why we were at Citi Field on a non-typical Sunday. Nothing personal against weekend baseball-goers, but I do not like the ballpark on a weekend, when it is full of looky-lous, people getting their picture taken with the field as a backdrop everywhere you turn. I do not like the long lines, I do not like the large groups of folks mall-walking around the field level. I find small children in Mets gear adorable, until they are standing in my way. I do not care for your slow canter around the ballpark even if it is a Sunday. But, free is free, and it was a lovely day to be outside and watching baseball, especially Mets baseball when there is winning going on.


We camped out in a standing spot on the field level today; after two years sitting at the very tippy top of the ballpark, I just cannot do it any more, and our free seats were in the second-to-last-row. We figured we would try standing and see if we got tired or if it got too annoying with people needing their photo of the field to be taken from our spot. If it was, we would go upstairs, where there were sure to not be many ushers around and we could improve our seating position by the fifth inning.

But we didn’t. We stayed downstairs the entire game, standing against the railings, and it was fine. I couldn’t do it for every game, or on a crowded day, but for one game on a quiet Sunday, it was the right thing to do. I had a great vantage for photos, we were close to food, we were out of the ballpark so quickly at the end we had to wait for the first super-express to open its doors.

In my mind, today was Jonathon Niese’s last chance to man up. I like Jonathon Niese just fine — he pitched my favorite game of 2010 — but seriously, someone needed to man up or get sent to the bullpen. It wasn’t the most amazing outing ever but it was a marked improvement.


Also in the marked improvement department: THE HITTING!


Clutch hitting! Extra base hitting! Home run hitting! Hitting into impossible corners of the ballpark!


Rookies getting HR’s!


All of that said, watching David Wright’s HR hit into that left field corner just adjacent to the foul pole, I am officially on board the train of thought that says, “Mr. Wilpon, lower these ballpark walls.” They don’t need to change the dimensions, but get rid of the dumb line, get rid of the forced quirk of the notch, make walls that balls can go over, instead of lines balls have to hit. It will require some money and some construction, but it will add seats (which the ballpark also needs, actually). It will never happen, or it will happen with the next owners of the team. But it is another thing that I am tired of.


The Dbacks have a third base coach with the name of “Sherlock”. Make your jokes now.


I took photos of Armando Gallaraga, not because he is a good pitcher, but because he is a historical note, and some day I will be glad to have photos of him, even in a Dbacks uniform.


And at the end, I took photos of the on-field celebration for yet another Mets win, a three-game-series win, an actual SWEEP. They need to keep this up, they need to win in DC, and they need to win in Philly, where their rotation is not invincible and that bandbox of a ballpark just begging to hit balls out of.


We are not, however, going to cave at any point and take another one of our infamous last-minute trips to Philly for the last game of the series, because the Mets never win when we do that. THIS IS PUBLIC NOTICE.

We did, however, just acquire lovely seats right behind the dugout for the series in Pittsburgh in June. We love PNC and I’ve been wanting to visit the Warhol Museum since the last time we were there. A few wins, and hope springs alive again, at least for a little while, at least until tomorrow.

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