Weather.com says the high in Zip Code 11368 today was 74 degrees. What a waste of temperature.
I get why there’s a blank spot on the schedule between the first home game and the second home game, but nevertheless, Safety Day is a terrible way to follow up Opening Day, particularly an Opening Day as sweetly embraceable as 2010′s. How are the Mets supposed to build on their 1-0 momentum? How are we supposed to build on our reawakened ardor for our team?
Will ya look at that? I’m irked that there isn’t enough Mets baseball to go around. That was the one complaint you didn’t hear much last year.
About the only truly dumb thing I encountered Monday at Citi Field was the ticket-scanning protocol at the Right Field entrance. They have four turnstiles set up, but only two were working (because Opening Day wasn’t on the calendar all winter), and one of them was unable to withstand that brand new bug in the UPC system, the sun. No kidding: when it’s sunny, the scanners have a hard time working, resulting in stupidly long lines and flummoxed supervisors unsuccessfully shielding the code readers from Ol’ Sol with their hands. Instead of worrying about our open water bottles posing a threat, they should just issue tickets to perceived security threats. It’s the best way to keep them out.
Oh, who am I kidding? That was but a minor annoyance, just like the LIRR connection at Woodside smugly speeding off seconds before the passengers who intended to board it could do so, just like the fellow who backed into me steps from Catch of the Day and decorated the front of my hoodie with about a buck’s worth of Long Island-brewed Blue Point Toasted Lager from my just-purchased $7.50 cup. Major league action can withstand modestly minor annoyances when it’s Opening Day. I had made it to the park, I was inside the gates, I was balancing beer and crab cake at one o’clock on a Monday afternoon and, as my co-blogger took perverse delight in noting, there was no need for my hoodie or Starter jacket on the sun-splashed Porch. Monday’s high in Corona, says Weather.com, was 71 degrees and I was decidedly overlayered.
That was my biggest problem? Ohmigod, I went to a Mets game and have nothing substantial to kvetch about. I have only happy memories, 30-some hours removed from the event itself. Jason already gave you the essentials, so, given that I have no new Mets game to watch, I’ll just recap happily.
I happily swung by Team Chapman’s annual tailgate fiesta, still festively delicious and deliciously festive. Bonus track: the WFAN van drove right up to their spread and handed us a stack of 40th anniversary highlight CDs from 2002…which is the sort of thing that literally happens in my dreams.
I happily bulldozed the lines by the Rotunda so I could check in with my brick, still where I found it last April.
I happily scooped up my Citi Field Apple bank, now flanking my Shea Stadium Apple clock along our living room’s Bobblehead Row.
I happily accepted two pencils with my yearbook and program even though I, like the Marlins, had no intention of scoring that much. But at $17 for a yearbook and a program, I’m taking what they give me.
I happily and lustily booed every Fish during the introductions (which I watched from Field Level, having been held up at the Right Field entrance by the recalcitrant scanner), following up on my bile from the end of the Mets’ open workout Sunday when the Floridians nefariously materialized for their turn on the field. Clad in black by the third base dugout, it was too much like a vision from the moments after the last game at Shea thudded to an end. “HEY MARLINS, YOU SUCK!” I was thoughtful enough to inform them on Sunday. Fans need an open workout, too.
I happily applauded when I was supposed to be observing a moment of silence for Jane Jarvis when Howie Rose noted her offseason passing. A great performer deserves applause, not silence. (I happily swooned in the middle of the fifth when the Mets saw fit to play Jane’s 1996 recording of “Meet The Mets”.)
I happily listened as my fellow savvy fans let the Met training staff know we’ve been paying attention. No offense, Ray Ramirez, Mike Herbst and your colleagues. I didn’t boo, though, instead admonishing, “DO YOUR JOBS BETTER!” and hoping maybe everybody connected to Mets medicine and baseball would get the message.
I happily dug on the aforementioned crab cake sandwich and Blue Point Toasted Lager. Try both at Catch of the Day, even if in Year Two of Citi Field, food and drink no longer appears to constitute the only reason to make the trip to the ballpark.
I happily agreed with the only truly engaged member of our row, the guy who advised the rest of us that Rod Barajas is “the shit,” that we wouldn’t know that because “he’s from Canada” and that we were all too quiet for his liking. I always feel bad for the one slightly belligerent LET’S GO METS! guy in any given section if he’s sincere about it. You can’t let the LET’S GO METS! guy chant by himself. He gets louder, he gets more desperate, we all come off as snobs because of it. Hence, I gave him a little air cover, even though the Mets were going fine on their own steam by then.
Happy, happy, joy, joy, the Mets are 1-0, the Mets have a marvelous museum and a ton of Amazin’ accoutrement in our midst and the only problem I have is there was no second consecutive afternoon in the Citi Field sun. What a downer to have to wait until 7:10 Wednesday night.
The Mets worry about rain on Day One the way I worry about it being colder than it feels. Yet the last time the Mets were rained out in their Home Opener — which is why the second day is reserved for a precautionary makeup that would accommodate a theoretically postponed sellout crowd — was 1997. As it happened, that was the year the Mets scheduled their Opener for a Saturday because they were hesitant (to put it kindly) to open on the same Friday afternoon as another team in the same city on the day that other team would be having some sort of flag-raising ceremony…and the two teams were opening in New York on the same weekend because MLB had sent them both to California in early April to avoid bad Northeastern weather…which is what New York was soaked by when the Mets attempted to open that Saturday…while it was perfectly fine in early April when neither local club was home.
End result: The Mets wound up playing and being swept by the Giants in an Opening Day Doubleheader on the Sunday after the Saturday rainout, and — because the Mets were bad in 1996 and looked no better on that extended West Coast trip to open 1997 (3-6) — no large crowd was inconvenienced. Paid attendance for the makeup doubleheader that began the home schedule 13 years ago was a shade under 22,000. That was the worst Home Opener crowd Shea hosted since 1981 (15,205), the previous time a rainout necessitated use of the Safety Day. That was also the year I had tickets to my first Home Opener and couldn’t use them thanks to precipitation and my limited flexibility as regarded high school truancy.
Not that I’m still bitter about it 29 years later.
You can’t fool Mother Nature, but you can’t negotiate with her, either. So why bother trying? Instead, as Steve Winwood told me repeatedly one summer long ago, roll with it, baby. Once the Mets saw the forecast for Tuesday, they should have added on an extra game on the spot. Seriously, what do the players have to do but enthrall us? I had been thinking it was a little pushy to make them play every day down the stretch in Spring Training and then drag them to Flushing for a public workout, then have the Opener the next day and then shuttle them to a Welcome Home dinner Monday night, but then I read a dispatch from the Major League Baseball Players Association advising us that the Opening Day average player salary stood a little north of $3.3 million. There went my sympathy for their lack of “me time”.
It’s too late to do anything about it now, but let’s take the impromptu second game plan under advisement should the meteorological and Metropolitan atmospheric conditions intersect this gorgeously again. Make it like the snow day that, if our school district didn’t use it all winter, was tacked onto Memorial Day weekend. The Mets play the Marlins approximately 50 times a year. We’ll be bored with/tortured by them come September. So let’s play all we can in April, while the weather’s warm and we’re all as happy as clams.
Or is that crab cakes?