Strange Fan in a Strange Land: Meet the Mets


For one day, I became a Mets fan.  I’ll say it.  For one day (and one day only), I cheered on the New York Mets.  I don’t think that makes me a bad person.  I just really, really hate the Braves.

Pre-Game

My adventure at Citi Field in Flushing, Queens was enjoyable from start to finish.  When I left East Haven, my destination wasn’t Citi Field.  I was stopping first at LaGuardia Airport to pick up Matt.  LaGuardia is very, very close to Citi Field.  I wouldn’t discover how close until I actually got to the stadium.

From the airport, it took five minutes to get to the stadium.  Driving off of the highway and into the area surrounding Citi Field, I don’t know what I expected.  I know that stadiums aren’t always built in the nicest parts of town, but what I saw was pretty surprising.  It was a decrepit shanty town of chop shops.  Structures built from corrugated metal and wire, covered with a half-assed layer of paint, all squashed next to each other.  It was ugly and seedy, and I wasn’t able to get a picture of it, though I’m sure you can imagine.  Apparently, the city wants to buy up that land and put in something that doesn’t make you fear for your life.  The owners of those fine, fine businesses apparently want to pass their pride and joy down to their children, and are refusing to sell.  Well, that or the local Mafia won’t let them sell.  The city is apparently exploring the possibility of using Eminent Domain to gain control of the land and also screw the Mafia.  Good luck with that!

Citi Field and the emptiness surrounding it.

Citi Field and the emptiness surrounding it.

I pulled into a parking spot around 2pm, two hours before the game started. This is my view of the stadium from my parking spot.  You can see the vast lot of empty parking spaces.  While I’m sure the forecasted rain scared a lot of people off, I was shocked at how few people were there.  There was almost no tailgating, save for a few souls in the commuter lot across the street.  It was pretty depressing.  And the Mets are 2nd in the division!!  What is wrong with you, New York!?!

Matt and I met up with his parents and then headed to their box on the Empire level.  We bypassed the regular entrance and went through the club doors, which was oh so fancy and special.  The Jose Reyes drawstring bag I got?  A stiff breeze could blow it apart.  You stay classy, Mets!

The fanciest way to watch baseball.

The fanciest way to watch baseball.

This picture is of Empire Suite 233.  Two flat screen TVs, stainless steel refrigerator, granite countertops, hardwood floors, comfy sofa and chairs, and a private outdoor deck to watch the game.  We even had our own waiter.  It was, in a word, glorious.

The Mets were taking batting practice when we got there, and Matt spent about ten minutes waving and cheering at the object of his man crush desires, Ike Davis.  This is a transcript of 10 seconds of our Ike Davis related conversation:

Me:  Maybe you should buy an Ike Davis jersey.

Matt:  No, I don’t want to put someone’s name on my back.  That’s commitment, and I’m not sure I want to do that.

Me:  Um…

Matt:  I just want to keep it casual.  Maybe carry a first baseman’s mitt.

You know how I mentioned earlier that Citi Field is close to LaGuardia?  It really is.  Every five minutes, you could see a plane coming in for a landing or just after taking off.  This wasn’t in the distance, either.  The planes looked like toy planes, like you could pluck them out of the sky and play with them.  And every 15 minutes, a plane would fly directly overhead, making a giant “AAK THE WORLD IS ENDING!!” noise.  As nice as the stadium is (and fuck you, it is nice), that kind of took away from the experience.

The Game

The pitching matchup for the day was all six feet four inches of Mike Pelfry, who cuts a pretty impressive figure on the mound, and Tim Hudson, who like most of his teammates on the Braves, isn’t particularly attractive.  The Braves are a pretty unattractive team.  The Phillies have more handsome than they know what to do with, and even the Mets cute quotient is pretty high (and that’s with Jason Bay and David Wright, so that’s saying something).  The Braves have some pretty unfortunate looking players.  Troy Glaus, Chipper Jones, Martin Prado, and Melky Cabrera are in desperate need of facial hair, or masks of some kind.

When Chipper Jones came out to bat, he was greeted by a chorus of boos.  The stadium was about half full, and this was the loudest the fans had been yet.  Everyone hated Chipper Jones.  Everyone.  For the first time that day, I felt comfortable.  We all hate Chipper Jones!  In the 3rd inning, Chipper missed a grounder and the ball rolled right between his legs.  Parts of the crowd actually stood up and cheered.  Seriously, what 38-year-old man calls himself Chipper?

I hate Chipper Jones.

I should also note that two boxes over, there was a guy wearing a Daryl Strawberry shirt with his number (18) on the back.  He was wearing this in public.  Non-ironically.  I just want to put that out there.

It took Mike Pelfry 62 pitches to get through three innings.  By the end of the 3rd, Tim Hudson’s pitch count was somewhere in the low 40s.  Pelfry and Hudson were pitching at approximately the same level, but there was one major difference – the Mets were swinging at everything Hudson threw them, and the Braves were making Pelfry work.  Hudson couldn’t find the strike zone with a fucking map, but the Mets couldn’t figure that out.  David Wright, for example, got to 3-1 and then took a mighty hack at the next pitch, which was low.  He popped it up and was out. If the Mets could have practiced a little more patience at the plate, the game would have been much different.

In the 5th inning, I went with Matt to get some Carvel soft serve in a small plastic Mets cap, which I was told is a Mets baseball tradition.  We chose a good time to take a break – Pelfry completely lost it that inning, allowing the Braves to score the only four runs of the game.   As Matt and I stood and ate our ice cream on the lower level, we started having a conversation about our favorite teams and their performance in the first half of the season.  I got no farther than “I think the Phillies have underperformed…” when some dicksmack Braves fan in a Chipper Jones jersey turned around and decided to insert himself in our conversation.  His opening salvo?  “The Mets blow and the Phillies suck.  They’re all pussies.  The Braves will win the World Series.”  Now, I’m a nice person.  But I don’t take shit from anyone, let alone some guy I’ve never met who decides he wants to take a dump on my favorite team when I wasn’t even talking to him.  “Thanks for your opinion, douchebag.  I’ll remember that when the Phillies are beating the shit out of your pathetic team in September.”  Not surprisingly, he didn’t have much to say to that, so he called me a bitch and slunk away, hopefully ashamed of being verbally bested by a chick in a flowery top.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the walk-up music of several Mets.  Jeff Francoeur had The Outfield’s Your Love, which seems a tad desperate to me.  Ike Davis walked up to Start Me Up by The Rolling Stones, which is a great song, and perfect for a lead-off hitter…which Ike Davis is not.  Still, great song.  And Alex Cora (who?  Exactly) used Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi, which is more than appropriate considering he had the lowest batting average among the Mets Saturday starting lineup.

In the 7th inning, I witnessed firsthand the incompetence of the Mets organization.  Reyes dove to make a catch (which he would just miss) and came up limping.  He tried to walk it off, and even settled in at his position before Jerry and the trainer came out to examine him.  Apparently, no one in the dugout even noticed that Reyes was limping.  David Wright had to call them out on to the field.  Reyes left the game, and later withdrew from the All-Star game.  I found out later that Reyes had been nursing a right oblique injury which he aggravated while trying to make that catch.  Now, if he was in pain and could potentially make the injury worse by playing, why was he starting on Saturday?  Only Jerry Manuel knows.  Jerry Manuel: The CB Bucknor of Managing.

The Mets lost 4-0, and when the game was over, it felt eerily like a game I’ve watched about 40 or 50 times this season.  The Mets were utterly confounded by the Braves pitching and were unable to muster anything offensively. (That is devastatingly familiar.)  After watching both teams, I determined that the 2nd half Phillies can definitely beat them.  I’m decidedly looking forward to the second half of the season, when the Phillies awake from hibernation and kick the ever loving shit out of both these teams.  Oh, and fuck you, Chipper Jones.

As I left the fancy level, I realized that I hadn’t gotten a chance to meet Mr. Met. Fortunately, there was a giant picture of Mr. Met right by the elevators.  I just want the Phanatic to know that I was thinking about him the whole time.

Me and the creepiest mascot of all time.

Me and the creepiest mascot of all time.

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6 Responses

  1. Fun read! I could never root for the Mets…or the Braves. Had to laugh at everyone’s mutual hatred of Chipper & how you took down that Braves fan.

  2. I really REALLY wish I could have been there. If there’s one thing I do well at games better than my entire family combined, it’s heckling. AND it’s Chipper Jones, who I’ve annoyed enough with my leading of hecking on several occasions for him to leave the game. Please come down to Atlanta for a series in the fall. We can boo the Braves and mock the annoying fans together!

  3. zing! Alex Cora.

    Wonderful recap.

  4. I used to go to Shea every year when they played the Phillies and sit in the equivalent to the box you sat in and I agree, it was AWESOME. Hopefully they still give out ice cream bars later in the game. That was the best part! (Well that, and being able to cheer for the Phillies and not have to deal with a single Mets fan)

    Great post!

  5. LOVE this post. You’ve captured the disdain that Phillies have for both teams perfectly.

    I’ve said it before: I hate the Braves more than the Mets and slightly less than Osama Bin Laden. I live in Chipper’s (LAAAARRRRRYYYY) hometown, and I’m surrounded by Braves fans here. I hope your second-half prediction come true!

  6. I’m a diehard Phillies fan living in NY with my bf who is a diehard Mets fan. We go to a lot of games. And by a lot, I mean I need to use someone else’s limbs to count on their fingers and toes how many times I’ve been to Citi Field this year.

    Mets fans normally don’t go to games early. Ever. Well, those that use the parking lot don’t go to games early. You’ll find most of your tailgaters underneath the highway. There isn’t a big draw to sit in the stadium for two hours prior, especially on a rainy day. It’s not a hitters friendly ballpark, you might get one player to smoke a ball to the stands, but mostly you’ll see the pitchers running the balls down. That being said, the game you went to was about 90% full, which is great considering the games I went to in April and May when they were only maybe 50-60% full. After the Yankees series, the attendance definitely went up. The Mets have been doing better, so more fans are now going to games. Overall attendance is still declining, but would you expect people attend games after what happened in ’06, ’07, ’08, and ’09? And would you expect people to pay an obscene amount of money for good seats? I don’t. Philadelphia’s $60 seats are not Mets $60 seats. For a team who’s in second place and has invariably let their fans down the past however many years (even before ’06, let’s be honest), they should not be charging that type of money.

    The “decrepit shanty shops” you referred to are the junkyards. They hold a special place in the hearts of fans who don’t want to pay $20 to park, and they’ve been there FOREVER. The workers don’t do anything to you or your car. Win. It may look bad, but it’s almost institution-like for them. Remember, Shea Stadium was a beloved dump and fit right in with the junkyards. It looks out of place with a $900 million stadium.

    You’ll never see Mr. Met unless you go to CF and try to cut in front of 80 kids waiting to see him an hour before first pitch. He never roams the stands. Never. No idea how people call him the best mascot in baseball, he’s unattainable.

    You’re right about Jerry Manuel. Unfortunately living with a Mets fan, my Phillies game is normally on my 15” laptop screen and the Mets game is on the 52” flat screen TV. I get to see a lot of Mets games. If Jerry can do one thing right, it’s over managing. And if he can do another thing right, it’s under managing. He just can’t seem to get that right. Proof is in the pudding: He took Francoeur out for Carlos Beltran’s return, moved Angel Pagan to right, and is leaving Jason Bay in left. Jason Bay has undoubtedly under performed for the Mets this year, while Francouer has been streaky, just like he always has been. Pagan has been great for the Mets this year, and will now reportedly platoon with Francoeur in left. Um, what? Wouldn’t you want your best hitting outfielder to play EVERY game? And wouldn’t you figure out what the hell to do with Jason Bay? Awful. Just awful. I’m sad you didn’t get to see Pelf pitch a good game. The Mets needed to win more than one game that series, and of course they couldn’t get it done. Pelf has been really good this year. Though I’m glad I got to see the Phils pummel him in Philly back in May.

    This is like a blog in itself, sorry it’s so long. The Mets get me FIRED up. I know more about being a Mets fan than most Mets fans do. And I hate the Mets.

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