The Tenth Annual Princes and Chasins Spend a Tuesday Night At Citi Field in August Game came with a surprise at the bottom of its Cracker Jack box: competitive implications beyond the bonhomie inherent in these get-togethers. Bonhomie is all the four of us were in it for when we settled on this date, same as it ever was since our first Tuesday Night at Citi Field in August Game in 2010.
We do this every year. We celebrate that we do this every year every year. “Isn’t it great?” we ask each other, and each other answers, “Yes, it’s great.” The best part is that we all mean it. The whole thing really is rather amazing, dating back to the first time we got together at Citi Field, which was in November 2009 on a Saturday afternoon, not for a game but for a Bar Mitzvah. You can revisit the prenatal event that gave birth to our little tradition here .
It was a long time ago. I’ve shaken the habit of referring to Ryder Chasin, currently 22 and a professional writer with a promising future, as “my Bar Mitzvah boy”. Ryder was Bar Mitzvahed in 2009. It’s 2019. I was Bar Mitzvahed in 1976 and nobody brought it up in 1986. Still, it’s hard to forget the gesture that bonded us. The kid invited Stephanie and me to share in his passage into manhood by writing me a touching letter telling me he was a Mets fan who liked to read, and might we join him for his big day that, incidentally, would be culminating at that new ballpark of ours. Even in 2009 letters from readers — actual letters in envelopes with stamps — were pretty rarely sent to electronic bloggers. But Ryder always was a man of letters.
Anyway, that was ten years ago, and ten ballgames have followed, Stephanie and me meeting up with Ryder and his dad Rob outside Citi Field prior to each of them, then the lot of us ambling inside and talking over the machinations of a team that’s usually out of it well before our Tuesday nights in August reconvene. In 2015, the Mets were in it, and that enhanced our annual event markedly. In 2016, the Mets were slipping away from it as far as we could tell, but we couldn’t tell accurately. It was still a good time. Otherwise, these Tuesday nights in August have gotten by on bonhomie and catching up, which is plenty. I catch up with Ryder, Stephanie catches up with Rob, everybody visits with everybody.
We didn’t foresee the Mets catching up with the National League in 2019. But catch up the Mets have, dismissing their visitors along the way. The four of us took our seats with our team 2½ games from the second National League Wild Card. After Zack Wheeler  grounded the Marlins into submission  — assisted by slick fielding from substitute DP combo Adeiny Hechavarria  and Luis Guillorme  and augmented by power displays off the bats of Wilson Ramos  and Pete Alonso  — the Mets were poised to inch closer.
Oh, look. The West Coast has sent its own letter:
Dear 2019 Mets:
We know it’s late back East, so we just wanted to let you know what’s been going on while you might be sleeping. The Phillies lost. The Cardinals lost. Though the Nationals and Brewers won, you’re doing better than ever, having moved to within a game-and-a-half of a playoff spot. Congratulations on defeating the Marlins, 5-0, and notching your fifth consecutive win and twelfth in thirteen, not to mention your seventh straight at home. Pitching, defense, home runs…what don’t you have besides access to the Pacific? (Only kidding, we’re sure the Atlantic is a perfectly pleasant ocean if not as blue as the one we wade into here.)
Please give our best to the Princes and Chasins on their tenth Tuesday Night At Citi Field in August Game in a row. That’s really something.
What a nice gesture on the Coast’s part, just like Ryder’s ten years ago, just like Rob’s Tuesday night when he surprised us with a tenth-anniversary message apropos of the occasion on the scoreboard. What a nice game on the Mets’ part, too. Their winning makes the best things about baseball that much better. And baseball, with its ability to bring Princes and Chasins together across a decade, is pretty damn good.
Kudos as well to Mr. Stem, my brother-in-law who detects little good in the Mets or baseball (and “little” may be overstating the case), yet always comes through for me when Mets baseball wanders across his path. Long story short, Mr. Stem was able to arrange for the Princes and Chasins to enjoy some swell seats adjacent to first base Tuesday night, the perfect position from which to observe all those sweet ground balls Zack was eliciting from all those futile Fish. Thank you to a man who may fancy himself the diametric opposite of “Mets,” but stands squarely in support of a relation who is all for them.