We're all of us — players, announcers, staff and fans — trying to figure out how Citi Field plays. But this much is for sure: It plays weird.
Two days after the inaugural saw a lead-off home run, a normally reliable outfielder drop a fairly routine fly ball, a speedster overslide second, a fine spot of middle relief spoiled by a two-out balk, and a cat on the field, there was poor Edward Mujica playing Human Turnstile at home plate on one of the nuttier plays I've seen, a 10-second tragicomedy starring one perplexed reliever, two small Dominican middle infielders and baseballs going here, there and everywhere.
Ball gets by Hundley! Here comes Castillo to the plate! Hundley throws it past Mujica! Mujica and Castillo are tangled up! Reyes coming around third! Throw by Gonzalez gets by Mujica! Reyes scores!
If you're scoring at home that's … oh, just draw a big hairball or a cross-eyed clown face or something. Mujica looked tired and dispirited when it was over, and who could blame him? David Wright looked vaguely confused, and who could blame him? If you'd told him 10 seconds before, when there were runners on first and third, that he would not hit the ball, that no throw would be made anywhere but to home plate, and that when the next pitch was thrown those runners would be gone … he might have concluded the Rapture was nigh because, really, how much less likely was that than what actually happened? (And, of course, everybody was wearing 42 and Oliver Perez was good. Because things weren't confusing enough.)
That cheerful bit of tomfoolery aside, we got to see balls find various other parts of the yard, from Adrian Gonzalez' Modell's special to Carlos Delgado's second-deck blast off poor Luis Perdomo, facing his first batter in the big leagues. (Sorry, kid.) Daniel Murphy had a rough night in left, letting a runner tag up from first and doing whatever that was involving Reyes and Wright and a runner who should have been out at home, while Gary Sheffield (the man on the other flank of a presumably jittery Carlos Beltran) was blissfully unexposed. I think I speak for all Met fans when I say I felt a lot happier once Ryan Church and Jeremy Reed were on patrol.
Anyway, Mets win . Rachel Robinson looks better at 86 than I did at 26, no cats were frightened in the course of events, and no fans in the front row wound up in a Padre catcher's headlock. (Though if Nick Hundley had throttled that douchebag who spent three entire innings waving on his cellphone, I would have sent him a case of beer.)
All in all, not a bad night's work. Though after these first two games, can Thursday possibly be any stranger?