There was this bizarre humming sound that popped up a couple of times from behind Loge on the first base side Friday night. Maybe it was audio feedback. Maybe it was the Martians homing in on Grovers Mill again. Or it could have been a monitor indicating a case of flatlining.
The Mets, the crowd, all of Shea Stadium went brain dead in their opener against the Phillies. No real sign of life from the bats, no sustained pulse from the fans, no evidence that the plug hadn't been pulled on the flight from Milwaukee.
Strange they and we would come into the final showdown series of the season this way. Mike Pelfrey pitched wonderfully, but Brett Myers pitched better. Ryan Church leapt and almost made a great catch; the result was a two-run homer for Greg Dobbs. Ryan Howard leapt and did make a great catch; the result was an out on Jose Reyes. Eight innings of ineffectual offensive behavior gave way to a ten-minute tease that amounted to a big fat zero.
The whole night just didn't work. The trip in on the train was slow and my car was overtaken by the vocally robust cream of Massapequa youth who apparently looked just old enough to be sold suitcases of Coors Light and Busch (in my perfect world, everybody soberly and quietly reads scouting reports and the Baseball Prospectus on the LIRR). We straggled out of Jamaica and crawled to Woodside. The Port Washington connection whooshed by a minute or so before we pulled in. I headed for the 7 Express only to learn signal failure would consign us to the local track. Once at Shea, my electronic ticket did not compute with the scanner because somebody I otherwise hold in high esteem did not follow fairly explicit “you take Seat 7” instructions (but I kind of figured he might not, so I brought a copy of what was supposed to be his ticket as well and got through the gate).
Finally, I arrive in the bottom of the first, Mets down 1-0, and some jerkoff chatting on the phone at the head of the row doesn't want to get up to let me through. I sit down and I'm treated to listless baseball in front of me, some genius loudly and repeatedly calling out JOBU! to Carlos Delgado one row in back of me and that weird humming from who knows where meaning who knows what.
On the plus side, Ricardo Rincon looked pretty good and there was almost a fight between one Phillies fan and a men's room full of Mets fans.
I'd like to think the Xcel Center in St. Paul is the only place that had an elephant in the room this week, but this was the first September date at Shea since the last spate of September dates at Shea. Sure, certain events and certain series from the recent past tend to cross your mind, and yeah, some Schmidthead in a Phillies jersey waved a small banner from Modell's that said 2007 at the start of the bottom of the ninth and the gods did not punish him for his obnoxious presumptuousness (presumably the oversized hanky was a Pennsylvania promotion, but boycott Modell's anyway), so you begin to worry if not exactly panic.
But it's a different year now. This was just a lousy game. As Tony Soprano said to Patsy Parisi — after the death of his brother Philly — “you're with us now, so why don'tcha, uh, leave the morbid shit back at Junior's crew and have a happy birthday?”
We're with the 2008 Mets this September. We're alive and well.