I saw two walk-offs yesterday - David Wright's game winner off Heath Bell and Angst/Joey Walnuts's bush league tantrum in the top of the ninth.
First, some background. I put the word out earlier this week that I was planning to skip work on Thursday to catch the last "businessman's special" in Shea Stadium history. (Not realizing, of course, that the Mets were shoehorning a make-up game with the Pirates in on Monday afternoon.) Invites went out to a bunch of people I like going to games with, but only AJW (because initials are easier) and T-Bone were smart enough to take me up on the offer.
AJW and I set up shop in the parking lot around 10:30 am with two chairs, a bag of pretzels and a 12-pack in an ice-filled cooler - all courtesy of AJW's forward thinking. By the time T-Bone showed up, about 20 minutes before first pitch, we were down to the last two beers and congratulating ourselves for coming up with such a brilliant idea.
The plan was to buy the cheapest seats in the stadium and sit in the top row of the Upper Deck, to fully enjoy the Shea Experience to stay the hell away from all the camp kids. A random passer-by was nice enough to drop an extra ticket in my hands at no charge - I hope the karma gods shone brightly on you yesterday, buddy. My free ticket was Upper Deck section 31, but AJW and T-Bone each bought a $20 ticket in the upper reaches of Section 44. ($20 for a mid-week day game in the Upper Deck!? Disgusting!!) We all went in together and settled in the third-highest row of Section 40, which was sufficiently child-free. Check out the view (that's T-Bone walking up the aisle, beer in hand):
The game was enjoyable - Johan Santana pitched well and the Mets led most of the way. I only had two beers, because they are outrageously expensive and since I was pacing myself for the Pitch and Putt course that T-Bone and I were going to conquer after the game.
Then came the ninth inning. The three of us were lamenting Jerry Manuel's Randolph-esque bullpen management in the eighth - I know the relievers are struggling, but you're really going to pull Duaner Sanchez after one pitch? Scott Schoeneweis inexplicably started the ninth inning, even though it took Joe Smith four pitches to get out of the eighth inning and Chase Headley was leading off. Yes, Headley is a switch hitter, but he is tattooing lefties this season and struggling mightily against righties.
Scott retired Headley to get the first out before giving up the majestic blast to Jody Gerut to tie the game. What more can be said about Scott Schoeneweis that hasn't been said already? Aaron Heilman came in to get the last two outs and the game went to the bottom of the ninth.
By this time, AJW was already smoking a cigarette in front of the press gate. He threw a hissy fit after the Gerut homer and stormed out of the stadium without so much as a goodbye to me or T-Bone. Lame! I didn't find this out until the middle of the ninth, when I called his cell to find out where the hell he went. After much yelling and several reminders that he wasn't going anywhere with T-Bone's clubs in his trunk, I hung up to focus on the bottom of the ninth.
From our vantage point, I didn't think Wright's blast was a home run. I wasn't sure if it was fair or foul, but it seemed to be too much of a line drive to go over the fence. The replays I saw later that evening made it clear how wrong I was, but hey, you try accurately predicting home runs down the left-field line from Section 40 of the Upper Deck!
So there it was, the most exciting of plays, and AJW missed it all because he acted like a nine-year-old girl. T-Bone stayed until the end but deserves a bit of a reprimand as well; he openly stated that he was going to leave if the Mets didn't score and would've skipped extra innings entirely. What is wrong with my friends?
A good day at the park was made better by 18 holes in Flushing Meadow and a big dinner at 5 Burros with T-Bone. The combination of beer and sunshine finally took its toll; I got home at 8:30 pm and promptly passed out until almost midnight. By that time, CC has called and texted me a bunch of times wondering where on Earth I was. When I told her about the day's events and my alcohol-fueled power nap, she was less than impressed. Hey, days like this are few and far between!