So I finally made it to my first Mets game of the season last night. Yes, I know, how could a noted blogger like myself fail to get to a game before now? Too much time in my my mother's basement wearing pocket protectors and inventing new stats, that's why.
I really don't know how things got so far away from me this year; perhaps its lingering emotion from last season's collapse. I usually make it to at least one game during the opening homestand, sort of as a celebration of the new baseball season, and then settle into a pattern where I go to games whenever tickets end up in my hands. This year, it just hasn't happened.
I met Joe around 7:15 pm in the parking lot, near the Diamond Club entrance. We sat on the hood of his car and waited patiently for Adam and Billy to show up. The area around Shea Stadium was appropriately crowded for a Mets-Yankees game, with all the spectacle of rival fans attempting to out-do each other in the competition to see who can act like the biggest fool.
* Kei Igawa. While we were waiting for the other guys, a black town car pulled up about 25 feet from us and stopped right in the middle of a turning lane, blocking all the traffic behind it. The driver jumped out, opened the trunk and started pulling Yankees bags out. Two Asian men got out of the back seat, one with Igawa's distinctive lips. Really, you can spot those things from 25 feet away. Igawa was pointed in the general direction of the Diamond Club entrance and left to his own devices.
* Mike Bloomberg. He's short, he's an elitist and his laissez-faire policies toward over-development are ruining my borough. He was also wearing a Nelson Doubleday style purple sweater draped over his shoulders, so he looked absolutely ridiculous.
Adam and Billy finally showed up and we walked to our seats just in time for the first pitch. The four of us bought a Friday night seven-pack in the offseason and this was the first game we actually made it to. The seats are surprisingly good - Section 24 in the upper deck - even though we spent the first two innings in Section 26 because Joe still needs a map to find his way around the place.
The game, of course, was terrible. I hate to say this, but Pedro is shot. There was a fifth inning at-bat against Derek Jeter where it all locked into place for me. Jeter kept fouling off pitches and it became crystal clear that Pedro just didn't have an out pitch anymore. When you can no longer put away a professional hitter, you're finished as an elite starter. Jeter eventually walked and the game got away from there. I was surprised Jerry Manuel even let him start the sixth inning. Rotator cuff injuries are career-killers.
We left in the seventh inning, once it became a contest between how many runs the Yankees were going to score and how many fights we were going to see. Joe insisted on going over to the Pine Restaurant in the Holiday Inn across the street from the stadium. He heard that some "fellow employees" were going to be there and we were hoping to get a free t-shirt. That never materialized, but I did run into one of my fiance's co-workers and one of my sister's best friends. I didn't get a chance to see my friend Bart, who left a message on my cell while I was already in the bar.