The wind chill was punishing. The men’s room line was eternal. The reconfigured commutation hub was a headscratcher. The manager’s decision to allow his shakiest reliever to face the opponent’s most dangerous slugger with an open base and two out was curious.
But all that goes in the “never mind that right now” file thanks to seven rousing runs and one raucous chant. And what, pray tell, did we chant?
Let’s just say that if Jimmy Rollins played in New York, they’d name a lollipop after him.
Jimmy Rollins sucks. Or hadn’t you heard?
His eighth-inning error was pivotal, both to the delightful final score  — it tied the game, kept the bases loaded and applied untold pressure on Geoff Geary — and to the pro-Lion, anti-Christian (metaphorically speaking) majority whose taste for blood would not go unsated.
Go on, we said. Give us an excuse. You dared express confidence in your team which, by our mob mentality, meant you dissed us. You, therefore, suck. We just needed a little ballast for our claim.
And you gave it to us.
Rollins misses Reyes’s grounder and…ka-BOOM! We explode. First positively for the thrill of the run. But then vengefully on he who would doubt us.
Jim Mee Rahl Ins!
Jim Mee Rahl Ins!
That’s the ticket. He’s no longer Jimmy Rollins at Shea Stadium or, one senses, Citi Field. He’s Jimmy Rollins You Suck.
He does more than suck.
He sucks in the second person.
He owns it.
On a team that “boasts” the evil Pat Burrell, the horrifying Chase Utley and the blood-curdling Ryan Howard (who sliced Burgos into paper-thin cold cuts), we have chosen you, Jimmy Rollins, to suck out loud in 2007, 2008, 2009, into the next decade — wake up the echoes razzing your name! As my host and companion for the day put it, he’ll be back here in 2015 and he’ll continue to suck.
Indeed, his failure to grab a grounder gurantees he’ll be forever reminded in these parts of his loose-lipped comment that the Phillies (1-6 at this writing) shaped up as the team to beat in the National League East this year.
You could have written that check as cashed it with your bat. Or your glove. But no. You didn’t. You couldn’t suck the way Chipper Jones and Pete Rose have here, by sucking on principle. You spoke up and then let down.
I have to go booing now.
Bless you Jimmy Rollins. You are a part of us now.
Jim Mee Rahl Ins!
Rollins’ error opened the proverbial floodgates. Wild pitches and walks and sac flies and a couple of legitimate hits rained down and what had been a frustrating Met afternoon morphed into a New York laugher. Oh, the 11-5 final was amusing but the chant was fucking hilarious! Seriously, I’ve never laughed that hard at anything the crowd came up with probably because I never heard anything like that go on as long as this one did.
It was coarse, it was base — you wouldn’t trot it out at the Algonquin — but it wasn’t vicious. If tens of thousands could have fun at one poor soul’s expense and morally get away with it, then this was the exception that proves all the rules of good sportsmanship. You shouldn’t taunt a guy when he’s down.
Unless it’s too much fun not to.
Jim Mee Rahl Ins!
The rest of the game is less a blur than a brrr. Jesus it was cold in the left field shadows. The presence of sunshine and the absence of snow permits teams to play in these conditions, as opposed to the perpetual cancellation that has become the Cleveland franchise, but it was awfully Jakey in the mezz. I’m told it was warmer in the sun. It couldn’t have been any colder.
Shea couldn’t have been any dumber, as is Home Opener tradition . They shifted some turnstiles around by the subway kiosk. It didn’t seem to help matters upon exit (though Mets 11 Phillies 5 forgives a lot of poor planning), especially when one of the two Roosevelt Avenue staircases was closed for…I have no idea why it was closed, but I’m sure somebody was following orders.
The pizza (authentic Sbarro!) has gotten worse, the puddles have seeped faster (the concourse behind mezzanine section 6 briefly turned into Flushing’s version of the lower ninth ward) and most of those whose jobs it is to hand you a thing you specifically ask for were befuddled no matter how decisively you pointed at said item. So it was Shea for the course, but ya know, if you wanted to be warm, use a bathroom and eat what you desired at bargain prices, you’d stay home.
Screw that. Shea is always gorgeous from the outside in on Home Opening Day. The Shea family’s floral horseshoe , Mex with the first pitch, the navy flyover (actually, with a major airport steps away, I have to wonder why that’s special) — this is the stuff I primp and preen  for all morning. That and baseball, featuring not just their shortstop (who still sucks) but our shortstop (who’s still great).
Jose! times four was back in force. The Copiague High School marching band played it in pregame, so you know it’s a standard. Every Endy sighting unleashed a two-syllable call that seemed to celebrate No Decisions (ND! ND!). And to all those who whined last October that “Sweet Caroline” was thieved from Fenway, it’s ours now. Deal with it.
Citi Field, maybe 15% (?) of it, loomed in the near distance. It’s a stunner to look at. Not that you can really connect the construction to the CGI we’ve been fed, but just realizing it’s becoming real…it’s daunting. Shea is stupid, but it’s the only ballpark we have. The Citi site is practically back-to-back with its older, condemned brother. Workmen were up on its planks doing something during the early innings. Perhaps building a better tomorrow. Perhaps looking busy while they tried to sneak a peek in our direction. Wouldn’t you?
When I’m sitting in the new joint swapping stories about what used to be in that parking lot behind us, I’ll remember today, certainly the wind that froze and the shortstop who sucked and the result that didn’t, but more than all that, I’ll remember the thoughtful gesture of a very kind reader who decided to offer an extra ticket to a total stranger because she liked the way he wrote about their favorite team. My heartfelt thanks to Jodie, Adam and Zack for making today possible…or as Yogi put it so correctly in this case, necessary.
And Jimmy Rollins? You do suck.