…from Game 3 of my Getting Acquainted With It tour was this: There wasn't any particular news.
OK, there were a couple of new things I found out. I exited down the ramps in the left-field corner and found them a pleasant surprise — you zig-zag ever downwards, the light filtered by the big sepia banners that were my first happy glimpse of Met history at the new place, accompanied by the giant faces and numbers of David and Jose and Keith and Tug and others. Confronted by a Shake Shack line that fazed even me, I had the Danny Meyer tacos and they were fantastic. I skipped the insane line at the Jackie Robinson Rotunda for the nonexistent one at the Swoboda Gate and decided that from now on this was my entry point to the park. So there were a few more notes to scribble in my Citi Field ledger for next time.
But that was about it — I didn't have another Come to Jesus moment at a concession stand, though those carnitas did renew my faith in a higher culinary power, or revel in additional legroom, though I did start to wonder when I'll break the Shea-style habit of sitting with my feet scrunched under me. And that lack of big moments is for the best. Because what I spent a lot of time doing Saturday afternoon was … watching a baseball game. And while ballpark eats and explorations are fun, particularly for a man on the brink of 40 with a six-year-old son who's not always going to be gripped by impassioned explanations of who should be the cover man, ultimately the game's the thing. And in Game 3 the game pushed its way back to the head of the line.
Unfortunately, the game was a fairly rude arrival. Emily likes to call Oliver Perez the girl with the curl, and today boy was he ever horrid. No life on the fastball, no sense of the strike zone, no inkling of the wisdom to wait a moment while Luis Castillo and Jose Reyes sorted out who was covering second, and no mercy from Jed Lowrie. Exit Ollie to midseason-form boos, enter worry and fuming: Next time they have the fucking WBC, if Omar lets ANY fucking Met play I'm going to TP his fucking house. Fucking Teddy Higuera, not answering his cellphone and pitching our fucking crucial third starter twice in 19 fucking days. Fucking Oliver! Fucking WBC! Fuck we are FUCKED! You'll note there wasn't anything about Danny Meyer or seat angles in that pungent little reflection. And that's as it should be.
Sitting in the Excelsior level (which still sounds like it should be somewhere between the Valhalla and Excalibur levels, but we'll get used to it) just behind Daniel Murphy, my friends Chris and Peggy and I had a pretty good view of the proceedings, though the left- and center-field warning tracks were mysteries requiring a turn to glance at one of the several nearby HDTVs. And as the Mets spotted the Bosox an Alfonsecan handful of runs and then fell further behind, we compared notes on how the new park seemed to play.
* Like there's very little foul ground behind the catcher, and balls come back off the brick hard. The Melvin Moras and Kevin Mitchells of alternate Met universes please take note.
* Like those outfield walls are high, and have already cost Fernando Tatis and Jeremy Reed home runs. I'm sure the Lost Met Home Runs count will start up in the Post or the Daily News any day now. It'll be interesting to see if the top panels in left and center come down and the orange lines (still weird to the eye) get drawn lower in 2010.
* Like those walls and the Moddell's gap in right-center will produce a lot of triples. David Wright may not have quite as many highlights in Citi Field at first, but Jose Reyes seems assured of an additional share.
I'll be happy to not miss a pitch on the scoreboard obverse (working today) while Joshua plays Wiffle Ball or I'm in line for something I couldn't have had at Shea. I want to hang out during a cool summer evening at one of the picnic tables in the Keyspan-style plaza that sits atop the rotunda. I want to find a great vantage point from which I can look out over the field when I arrive late or when I can't bear to take myself home just yet. But most of all, when I'm at Citi Field I want to watch the Mets. Doing that will make the new place home more than any kitchen wizardry or traffic planning will. And today that's what I started to do again.
You can't watch the Mets Sunday — and Monday looks pretty dicey too — so why not watch the words go by in Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets. You can order FAFIF: AIPHOTNYM from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or find it at a bookstore near you. Keep in touch and join the discussion on Facebook.