I got to spend an extra half-hour with my wife. I got a foam finger. I got to meet a mezzanine icon. I got a kid an ice cream cone. I got my 89th starting pitcher. I got three substantial home runs. I got a fearless catch from a fearless rightfielder. I got my third win covering two ballparks in a span of four days. I got my fourth consecutive triumph over our most bitter rivals. I got the 4:24 at Woodside. I got home earlier and with less angst than yesterday.
I didn't get Carlos Delgado returning my appreciation for him. I don't get that it's a big deal.
I've been baseballing like crazy since the gun sounded on the home season. I tied an April record for most Shea games attended and, precipitation pending, I'm not through yet. Throw in the trip to Washington (reflections on Nationals Park still to come) and I've been incredibly indulged, mostly by myself, occasionally by others — such as my Sunday hosts, the legendary Chapmans. Go to a game with Sharon, Kevin and Ross and it is Chapmania all around in the best sense of the made-up word.
So we had fun and I had foam. I nearly didn't have the latter. I was enjoying a bagel and such with Stephanie this morning and opted for a later train than planned, knowing full well that only the first 25,000 would get fitted for their complimentary puffy palms, one of those items I don't really need but didn't realize how much I wanted until I saw I'd missed out on them at Gate E. It didn't annoy me until I saw the Gate B crowds were still getting theirs even though their tickets were scanned minutes after mine. Grrr…
I put aside my huffery over my lack of puffery and joined the gang for a game whose result never felt much in doubt, even if it was against the sworn enemies of Shea satisfaction, the Atlanta Braves. I chilled out soon after arriving with two helpings of lineless Carvel, one for me, one for Ross, payment for an autumn wager when his mom's school beat mine in some sport I can barely remember caring about. My spoon wasn't to the bottom of the helmet when the bat of Raul Casanova nearly produced sprinkles. In the spirit of asking what have Brian Schneider and Ramon Castro done for me lately? I sure do like our new catching platoon.
John Smoltz was as untroubling as Tim Hudson, which is to say neither man could hold a candle to the guy with all the J's in his name from Friday. Nelson Figueroa, meanwhile, continued to warm the cockles of his relatives and the rest of us. Happy to add him to The Log, happy to raise my lifetime regular-season home win total to within two of 200, happy and amazed to note I haven't seen a loss to the Braves since 2006…and I see the Braves a lot.
It won't show up in the boxscore, but I drew face time with the one and only Kowalski (or KOWALSKI 69, if you've only seen/heard him from a distance). It was a chance meeting in the mezz concourse somewhere off his Section 18 hyping spot, but it was a marvelous interaction. Beer and kind words were graciously offered. He shouts, we blog…it's all good. (Also gratified to meet commenter Dykstraw on the 7 yesterday; hope the Donovan's burger was a hit.)
The only item absent from a potentially extraordinarily happy recap as the game wound down was my damn foam finger. It says #1 FAN on it, and I refuse to acknowledge 25,000 people in my midst today ranked ahead of me. I'll step aside for Ross and maybe Kowalski, but the other 24,998 of you are on notice.
Not to worry, though, because I was experiencing Chapmania, and the Chapmans have a way of making things happen. Kevin, who coaches baserunners from his seat better than Matt Galante ever did from the third base box, scooped up someone else's leave-behind before I even had a chance to scavenge. I was foamy, I was whole. Spurred by my completion, I somehow found the right ramp, crossed the right street, got on the right superexpress and was whisked eastbound on the LIRR before I realized I wasn't going to have stare at my watch and tap my foot (as I did yesterday when Woodside trackwork got my goat).
Sounds like a great day, huh? So why is it I'm hearing and reading that the big thing that happened this cloudy but beautiful Sunday was that Carlos Delgado, he who smashed two very round-trippers, didn't take a curtain call? We mezzanineans who were supportive with our applause even before his first swing didn't seem to mind we didn't get a bow, a tip or a wave. Would have been nice if we had, wasn't so bad that we didn't. We understood why he might have been reticent after the April he's endured, a month when his slumping ways were little tolerated by a vocal minority. By the time it was obvious Delgado wasn't curtain-calling us back, we had moved on to encouraging Casanova some more, just as we had relentlessly acknowledged Ryan Church for his spectacular catch and body bounce at the wall moments earlier. We were too overjoyed by the final result in progress to get hung up on a pointed lack of communication from our maybe moody (and highly compensated) first baseman.
I had a fine seat, good company and a great win. I was even given the finger in the best possible manner. Delgado didn't act extraordinarily grateful for being heartily feted one day after he was ridiculously booed for booming a ball that was caught at the track? When you read later or tomorrow that “the fans” were disappointed or spurned by Carlos Delgado, understand that at least one of us — and probably a lot of us — were perfectly pleased by their Sunday in the park with Mets.