We Believe in Comebacks. Sort of.

After a long layoff (mostly due to the tremendous amounts of matzah I was busy stuffing in my face), Made in the Shea-de is back.  And I’ll need to believe in comebacks just like the Mets do, because that weight I was so diligently shedding prior to the holiday is trying to make a comeback of its own.

Thanks to the unfortunate timing of Opening Day (corresponding to the 7th day of Passover), my first visit to Citi Field had to be postponed to last night, Game 2 of 162.  It was a beautiful day – 88 degrees and sunny, almost unheard of in these parts, where the first week or two of the season is usually enjoyed in heavy jackets and warm hats (Scarf Day is actually coming up soon at Citi Field) – and when the family came to NYC to meet me for a picnic lunch in Central Park, I decided to keep my oldest at the office with me so the two of us could hop on the 7 train at the end of the day.

Note to self – even on “value” dates, unless you can afford an extra 20-30 minutes, spend the extra 12 bucks on Mets.com so you can avoid waiting in line at the park box office.

There was no time to explore the newer additions to Citi Field, but here are today’s random musings on our inaugural 2010 trip to Flushing:

  • Maybe it was due to missing Opening Day, but I had a weird, detached, “not-ready-for-baseball-yet” feeling during the first 2 innings.  It was kind of nice to be out there, but I wasn’t absorbed by the game until much later.  By the end of the night, I was back in the swing of things… and left feeling eerily similar to so many nights in 2009.
  • We sat in the Promenade Club (408) for the first time.  The view was good, but our seat location did nothing to assuage my ongoing fears that Citi Field simply does not get loud like Shea did.  90% of the time the crowd noise sounded like it was being funneled through a tin can, although I suppose there was not that much to cheer for large swaths of this game.  But the PA also sounded like someone stuffed socks in all the speakers (or in Alex Anthony’s mouth).  The roar of the crowd is a good 50% of why I go to the game, so the apparent loss of this factor really hurts.
  • Speaking of noise, I know many have written about this already, but I find it utterly depressing that my fellow fans need to be told by the scoreboard when to get loud.  In the good old days, we knew well enough when to start yelling Let’s Go Mets, when to stand up and holler on a full count, and so on.
  • Maine’s arm looked dead.  Worse, it seemed like he was pitching behind in the count on every hitter.  By the fifth, my 8-year old son knew what was coming from me every time I opened my mouth:

“2-0 again.  What’s he going to throw next?” 

“A fastball.” 

“And why is that?” 

“Because he has to throw a strike.” 

“And who else knows that, son?” 

“The batter.” 

“And is that good?” 

 “No, daddy.”

Luckily for him, as baseball savvy as he is, he can still get distracted by the simple things, like noticing — 12 or 13 times — that with 1 out and the count at 1-2, the scoreboard says our house number.  “Look!  1-2-1, again! Ha!”  Kids are so lucky.

  • Jason Fry at Faith and Fear in Flushing summed this up best:  “[Maine] spent most of his time on the mound looking like a guy confronted by an overflowing toilet.”  I laughed at that so much I came back and updated this post just to share it with you.  (Lucky you.)
  • Aside from Dan Uggla, the Marlins looked bewildered by Sean Green and his new delivery.  That could be good.  (But see Uggla, Dan.)
  • Jennry Mejia.  The result was not so good, but he was still exciting to watch.  If Maine’s arm doesn’t wake up in a few weeks (and/or if Pelfrey and Perez fail to impress), it will not shock me to see Mejia find his way into the rotation.  Right before the hammer drops on Jerry Manuel.
  • Wow, the Marlins are awful.  They have a bunch of power hitters and three impressive starting pitchers, but no bullpen whatsoever and atrocious defense.  Even Hanley Ramirez didn’t look good in the field, and Uggla… well he did his thing.  And yet, they’ve manage to ruin so many trips to the game for me.
  • Speaking of the Marlins’ bullpen and defense, don’t call it a comeback.  That’s what the diamondvision did (“We Believe in Comebacks!!!) when the Mets tied the score, but those of us in attendance saw what it was: a give-back.  And the Mets did all they could to treat the game like a hot potato.  It was all too familiar.  After reading about how cleanly they played on Monday, I wasn’t sure I was in the right place or the right year when I watched Tatis get tagged out at home with Wright standing in the box.
  • Did I mention my hatred of the Marlins?  Every time I see them I think of 2008, when many of these same utter losers — who can’t muster enough grit to play well when they are still in the race, but who can’t seem to lose when they might be able to ruin the party for someone else — all talked about how great it was to see little children crying in the stands at Shea when they knocked off the Mets.  I mean, children.  Really.
  • My son noted that he didn’t like the smile Cody Ross was flashing in his diamond vision picture.  I agreed.  “Carlos Beltran has a nice smile,” he said.  “He looks nice.”  I agreed.  “That Cody Ross smile, that’s not a nice smile,” I said.  “That smile says, ‘Hi, I’m Cody Ross.  I just smashed your windshield with a crowbar.”  My son laughed at this.
  • Despite my desire of late to save calories and money, the minimally-planned nature of this trip found me at the kosher stand in the 4th inning.  The food was tasty, as usual.  But it cost me $35 to get a hot dog, a sausage with peppers, a knish, a pretzel, and 2 sodas.  I guess that’s not all that bad by ballpark prices, but it still hurt, especially after I was so psyched that the tickets were only going to cost me $36 apiece.
  • While I’m on the kosher stand, I heard all year last year that there would be a stand by section 401, right near my (former) season seats (508).  I did not see it open even once.  Tried again last night to no avail.  I guess I’m being a little spoiled, crabbing that I have to go all the way downstairs or to the other side of the Promenade level to grab food.  After all, the fact that it’s there at all – and in 2 locations! –  is fantastic.  (Another reason I love New York.)  But I was still a little bit disappointed.  I don’t think they’re going to open it this year.
  • My son asked me why they don’t just make the whole stadium kosher.  Oh, to live in such an innocent world as that of the 8-year old mind.  I told him that all the folks who like (and are allowed) to eat cheeseburgers and pepperoni pizzas would be angry.  It wouldn’t be fair to them.  (Later that night, he asked me about the man who, noticing my yarmulke, was yelling at us — angrily — in the subway walkway between Times Square and the Port Authority, about “Yeshua ‘Maschiach’ [Jesus, ‘Messiah’], King of Israel.”)
  • Thanks to NJ Transit, we didn’t get home until 1:00 am.  I hope my son is doing better in class today than I am doing here at the office. 

Tonight we get Jon Niese against Nate Robertson.  Should be interesting, and hopefully not too depressing.  Tonight I’ll leave it to Gary, Keith and Ron to bring the game to me… although I am definitely trying to figure out when I can go out there again.  I don’t like being 0-1, but I believe in comebacks.

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