Filled with blind optimism fueled by a four-game sweep of the Pirates and a nice weekend weather forecast, I decided it would be fun to go to one more Mets game this weekend even though none of my friends would be around. I hopped on StubHub on Friday afternoon and found a good deal for Sunday’s game.
Well, we all know how Bobby Cox’s final visit to Queens went. At least the weather didn’t disappoint.
I got to the park early… habit, I guess. I know the Mets rarely take batting practice on Sundays, and there was no giveaway item to worry about. While there were more people than you would have expected at 10:30 a.m., there was not a big line waiting to get in.
The batting cage was out on the field even though the Mets weren’t, so I decided to go down by the field and see if I was wrong about the batting practice thing. I wasn’t – the cage was for the Braves. But it’s not like there was anything else to do yet, so I waited to watch the pitchers get their work in and see the Braves hit.
There were a fair number of others with the same idea. A mother and father had their two sons – both decked out in Boy Scout uniforms – at the game. They were pointing out their welcome message on the scoreboard and taking photos when it looped around again.
There was a teenage girl wearing a “birthday princess” plastic tiara and a custom Mets t-shirt that said “Sweet 16” on the back. She was celebrating her birthday with a group of friends, and they all texted the scoreboard operator with birthday messages once they realized it was something that you could do at a Mets game.
Most of the Mets pitchers stopped to wave to the crowd on their way out of the dugout, but they went in through the bullpen after they were done. Manny Acosta and Pat Misch both came back and signed a bunch of autographs. After the seventh inning, I’m not sure how many people still wanted Acosta’s signature.
I still had an hour or so before the game started, so I wandered around for a bit. The Shake Shack lines were as short as I’d ever seen them, but I still wasn’t tempted to bother. I had a Shack Burger once last year when I got to sit in the fancy seats with waiter service. It was good, but it was just a hamburger.
All the shops were running a “30 percent off regularly-priced merchandise” sale, but 30 percent off a $40 cap is still too much. I was tempted to ask how much an Omir Santos batting practice jersey would cost at the Amazin’ Memorabilia stand, but I decided not to – it wasn’t going to fit in my budget no matter how cheap it was.
With a half hour to go, I headed up to my seat and started filling out my scorecard. I watched Bobby Cox get his bottle of wine from Henry Blanco, and booed.
I watched David Wright hit his 24th home run of the season, and I cheered. Then I watched R.A. Dickey give up hits and narrowly avoid having big innings against him. I was ready to bat for him when he came up with a runner on first and two outs in the fifth.
I like R.A. Dickey – he’s been one of my favorite Mets this year. But this start convinced me that the Mets should not sign him to a multi-year deal this off-season. There’s too much of a chance that he’s going to turn into a fifth starter/long reliever type to justify the commitment.
After reading MetsGrrl’s account of Friday’s game, I was sort of prepared for the bizarre in-between innings live deodorant commercial. But I was still embarrassed to be watching it. I hope it works out for them better than the SpongeTech ads did last year.
I was surprised when Acosta gave up the grand slam to Derek Lee. I thought he’d walk in a run or two and get pulled. At least I can’t predict how the Mets will lose yet.
There was a short-lived rally in the bottom of the seventh that let me get my hopes up again, but Josh Thole’s double play ball sucked any remaining life out of the stadium.
I reserve the right to change my mind next week when it hits me that it really will be my last chance to attend a pro baseball game until next April, but right now I think I’ve said my final farewell to the 2010 Mets.
I went to 50 baseball games this year – one in Philadelphia, one in Brooklyn, six in Trenton, 10 at CitiField and the rest in Newark. It’s nowhere near my total from 2009, but it was still fun. While the number of games I go to in 2011 is likely to decrease again, I hope that I can still keep my enthusiasm for the baseball.