Home Opener 2008

Now that was a rather depressing game. My camera died before the game even started and the spare batteries I brought were duds, and then the Mets were duds. The game pivoted on that double play ball that Delgado field and hit Utley in the back with.

First time they’ve ever lost to Philadelphia on opening day. I was really hoping that we could put last year behind us, but with losing to Atlanta and Philly so far and the poor bullpen, it feels like last year.

It seems like they need some time to really mesh well with each other, the way one screaming fan was pointing out as he stormed out of the building after the 8th inning because no one was standing in the bullpen clapping or cheering for Church to get a hit. You could see it in Sunday’s game where David Wright was surprised by Santana fielding a bunt, and wasn’t at third to field a throw. Little things like this that they’ll hopefully fade away as they get comfortable with each other and really click.

It’s Reyes and Castillo offensively that have been having the biggest problems, but once the lineup balances out a little more with slumps and streaks, things should be fine. The Mets are very much like Mike Pelfrey right now; They can be great, but they need to find their confidence.

All the pre-game stuff was pretty cool, with them unveiling the retired Shea in left field, or the game countdown. It was very neat seeing Citi Field so nice looking in the beginning, sort of a window into next year’s Opening Day. There was a lot of curiosity about how it may affect wind patterns in Shea and make it more hitter friendly, but judging by the way Easley’s and Wright’s long fly balls flew, I’d say it’s much the same.

Opening Day jitters out of the way, I can’t wait for tomorrow. Hopefully the Mets find their strike, and start mashing this poor pitching team that Philly has.

A trip to Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium

I told myself I would go to Yankee Stadium one more time before it closes. I barely remember my previous visits, and I figured I should have some memories of a stadium that’s been around in some form for over 80 years and hosted players like Babe Ruth. I had free tickets from a friend, so I decided to take advantage. Of course, I neglected to look at the tickets, and they were bleacher seats. The bleacher’s aren’t attached, and staying way out there didn’t sound like a fun way to watch the Mariners. I hung out for batting practice leaning on the wall over Monument Park, and debated climbing over the wall and down the side of the Mariners bullpen into Monument Park to sneak into the main part of the stadium. I decided that my bright orange shirt under my Wright jersey with my Mets hat would make it hard for me to jump down and blend into the crowd, so I didn’t do that. Eventually I walked out, an decided I’d just fork over the money to enter the main part of the stadium. Standing on line I actually ended up buying a scalped ticket, I paid $20 for a $60 ticket that I didn’t end up sitting in anyway.

You’re not allowed bags in Yankee stadium, but they didn’t actually pat me down or anything. I had to show them my cellphone and remove my cap, but If I’d had a gun in my pocket they’d never have known. I brought plastic bags and used them to hold my stuff and started walking around. I spent most of my time in fair home run territory, and it was a nice change to be able to be in fair territory where home runs can actually reach.

There wasn’t really any aggression towards my choice of attire. The phrase of choice was “You’re in the wrong stadium.” There weren’t many Mariner fans, and I only saw a handful of Mets fans.

First the negative. It’s probably mostly biased, but the new Yankee stadium just looks boring and plain. The concourses make Shea look spacious, but I guess that’s the difference of 40 years in design. If possible, the prices are actually more expensive for food. (Not to mention seating) I’ll skip the obvious in that we all know the Mets don’t play there, so that’s a big minus. Plenty of people complain about Sweet Caroline at Shea, but it’s nothing to complain about next to the grounds crew singing “YMCA”. The Yankees still feel the need to play God Bless America during the 7th inning stretch, which also annoys me.

I like being able to be in fair territory with the possibility of catching a home run. There are probably only a dozen home run balls at Shea that land in the seats, but there were a couple Tuesday night. A-Rod’s went soaring over my head and landed in the upper deck. It was definitely on it’s way down, but it was certainly impressive. Abreu’s later landed in the seats about 10 feet to my left. Staring out at the outfield, imagining that Monument Park and the bullpens aren’t there, it’s amazing to think Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs playing in this ballpark. Posada’s home run that easily cleared the fence in left-center would’ve been an out. The new Yankee mascot, the squirrel that hangs out on top of the right foul pole made an appearance, which was more interesting than the Mariners. One thing the Yankees have right is the merchandise. I saw shirts for Jobu Chamberlain, and Phil Hughes. At Shea you can’t buy a shirt for Oliver Perez, John Maine, Mike Pelfrey or Joe Smith. The Endy Chavez catch bobble head came out before the Mets were selling Chavez shirts.

The Mets salvaged a split of the road trip after dropping the first four, which is cool. The division is all but wrapped up, the magic number is 19 and I’ve been to 26 (22 Mets) games this year. I have tickets to four more so far, and I’m thinking about adding another to make it 27 Mets games, officially 1/3rd of all home games. I think the Mets have turned the corner on their lackluster season, and I expect them to play well, and win well, on this long homestand.

Shea and Citi Fun Facts of the Game

Some Things I Learned At Shea For Last Night’s Game.

1.Jose Reyes is so fast, it took the scoreboard operator three batters after he tied Roger Cedeno’s single season Mets record for them to announce it on the board. (They were ready instantaneously for his record-breaking steal of third) Not to mention that he stole those bases after striking out.

2.There is going to be an Orchard Seating section at Citi Field. It will be in right center field, right next to the new Home Run Apple.

3.Some of you may have noticed that the right field side of Citi Field facing the subway seems to be more finished than the rest of the ballpark. Not surprisingly, this is where the Mets offices will be.

4.The right field ‘excelsior seating level’ will actually jut out over right field.

5.There will be a seating section directly behind the two bullpens.

6.The seats, particularly the ones for the special people behind home plate, are comfortable.

7.The neon ballplayers that adorn Shea Stadium will make the trip to Citi Field, at the very least residing in the home clubhouse.

8.I never knew that shouting ‘drop it!’ at a fielder fielding a pop-up worked, but apparently neither did Luis Castillo because when Geoff Blum dropped David Wright’s pop-up Castillo was still basically on first and had no chance to get to second before Blum picked it up and threw him out.

9.It was inconsequential, and probably mostly unnoticed, but when Alou threw the ball to the plate in the 5th inning, David Wright pretending to grab it and faked a throw to second to try to keep Gonzalez from advancing.

10.If Mota makes the postseason roster, I may cry. How can he explode so thoroughly after two outs? I strongly suspect that he’s no good after one inning, and maybe not on consecutive days either.

11.There are only three places in the entire stadium where you can buy a knish, but I still think it’s the best concession food I can buy.

12.If the Mets were to win the World Series, they could have a Ticker-Tape Parade with torn of 2007 pocket schedules. There are boxes upon boxes of the things in the ticket booths, and that’s just Gate E!

13.One of the ball-boy’s jobs is to run the umpires out their water bottles. I just find this funny.

I’m going to stop at 13 for now, I’ll probably make a longer post about my trip to the “Citi Field Preview Center” another time. Of course, I didn’t get to ask questions because it was 7:10 and I didn’t want to miss the game.

Oh, and if you haven’t already seen it, Texas won the first game of a double-header over Baltimore 30-3 setting a modern day record. It was a come from behind victory, and Littleton earned the save for the Rangers.

Ticket Woes

Feb 26, 2007 01:27 PM

It gets harder and harder to get the platinum level type ticket every season. Last year I managed to have tickets for opening day, and all three subway series games. This year I have 3 tickets to opening day, and 3 tickets to one of the Subway Series games. I also have 4 tickets to a second subway series game, but that’s only because I took the financial hit and bought a Saturday season-plan which included one.

Sadly baseball is becoming, at least here in New York from my perspective, a sport for richer folk. Now I don’t remember the days where you could see a baseball game for less than the current price of a mocha at Starbucks, but even at 24 I can see the ever increasing cost of being a fan.

I understand that a fan has to remember that baseball is a business, but I think that _baseball_ needs to remember that it is also a game and a passion of a lot of ordinary, average people. It’s understandable that baseball tries to make money, by offering corporate boxes, charging more for prime games, and the like. There are millions of us out here that are fans that cannot come up with hundreds of dollars to see a couple of games, but are willing and enthusiastic about spending what money we have on the sport we love. Making it hard for the average fan to buy a cheap ticket, even to deep bleacher seats just alienates us, and mutes our interest in the game.

Some people have wonderful memories of paying quarters to get into memorable games of baseballs rich history, remember getting into the bleachers just so they could see some of baseballs great players play. Others listen to stories of fathers, or grandfathers, or uncles as they recollect some of the exciting games they went to, even if they weren’t rich, while we listen on, remembering just how much to costs to be able to goto a game today.

With the construction of Citi Field, and others like it, the philosophy of having no bad seats is a wonderful one, but if the trade off is the cheapest ticket being $20 or $30+ dollars, I’d be just as happy watching it at Shea. For the true fans, it’s not about the seat, the concourses or the view. It’s about the game in front of us.