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Giddily Unseated & Rootin’ in the Stand

Perhaps you’ve heard about the butcher and the baker and the people on the streets, all of whom have gone to Meet The Mets [1]. More than 27,000, whatever the vocation, did so Monday night, myself included. We gave ’em a yell, gave ’em a hand and let ’em know we were rootin’ in the stand.

Yes, “stand,” which is the official lyric submitted by Ruth Roberts and Bill Katz in 1961 for an authorized team song [2] that would be played twice this particular 2015 evening at Citi Field, once around 7 o’clock as we leaned forward with anticipation, once a little after 9:30 as we practically pranced toward the exits. I always thought it should have been “stands,” but during the course of Monday’s game, I understood why “stand” must stand.

It’s explained several lines earlier when Roberts and Katz detail what we do when we go to meet the Mets. We’re hollerin’ and cheerin’ and jumpin’ in our seats. Seats are not made for jumpin’. Some seats, I learned, aren’t even made for sittin’.

Let me back up here, if not into my seat, for that would be an impossibility.

My seat and I reconcile after it abandoned me. [3]

My seat and I reconcile after it abandoned me.

It’s the middle of the game between the Mets and Rockies. I’m sittin’ — not jumpin’ — in my luxuriously padded Delta Sky 360 Charles Montgomery Burns Club seat, brought to me for the evening by my good friend Skid, who you’ll recall is the Mets fan from California [4] who decided to move to New York for six (hopefully seven) months and join his team every time they open their gates. Skid was celebrating his birthday Monday and opted to make his accommodations relatively ritzy for the evening, purchasing two of these seats and graciously inviting me along to occupy one of them.

Really, this whole season has been a birthday celebration for Skid. I’m thinking he wished for this on some previous August 10, blew out the candles and got what he asked for: every day he gets to go to a baseball game. Maybe he wished extra hard that one time and asked for a first-place team. Skid wishes very well.

Anyway, game’s going on, we’re not yet winning, but we’re not necessarily worried. These are our first-place Mets. If you can’t find the faith to tolerate a temporary one-run deficit, then you’ve chosen the wrong year to go to Citi Field. Me, I was delighted that we finally have a right year to go to Citi Field. I never went to see a first-place home team at this ballpark this late in any year. It’s the one feature they forgot to install when they were busy padding all those seats.

Ah yes, the seats. Specifically, my nice seat. I’m sitting in mine when I decided I’d like a nice Diet Pepsi, so I ask for one from one of those nice people who come around to ask if you’d like anything brought to your nice seat. (Everything and everybody is nice when you’re in first place.) To effect one of these transactions, you give the person the money, and the person places your order, and — an inning or three later — you get your soda.

OK then, let me just dig my wallet out of my pocket, which I shall do by shifting slightly in my seat and…

The next thing I feel is a slow drop. I don’t mean like Luis Castillo [5]’s agonizingly torpid pursuit of a fly ball a veritable baseball generation ago. I mean more like that sensation you get in a dream where you’re falling and you’re falling and, oh, it’s all right. It’s just a dream.

But this wasn’t a dream. This was my seat, less falling than sinking. I’m not sure how it managed to completely unhinge, but it sunk all the way to the ground.

With me in it.

Fancy seat, yes. Exquisite bolting, not so much.

From six or so inches above ground, I hand the nice person — who is trying very hard to not laugh uncontrollably at the PLOP! her customer has just taken — the money for the soda. I take no offense, for I’m laughing, too. As is Skid. This would be funnier if it happened to someone like Mr. Burns or the man from the Monopoly board, but it’s still funny, even though it happened to me. My rear end was safely guarded from cement and the bag I’d had under my seat withstood the blow (good thing I decided to leave my Ming vase home). Because the attendance was 27,000 and not 42,000, I didn’t have to stand in the stand for long. There was no problem finding a replacement seat right next to the one that had unseated me.

This had never happened to me at Shea Stadium. This had never happened to me at Citi Field, though it had happened to somebody in the row in front of us maybe an inning earlier. Perhaps not the comic thud, but the same idea, making it two high-roller seats too banged up to stay in the game. I’m pretty sure each had to go on the furniture DL. (Keep Ray Ramirez away from the upholstery if you ever want to see them again.)

Meanwhile, Jon Niese [6] pitched seven strong innings, Travis d’Arnaud [7] belted a home run, Curtis Granderson [8] conveniently let himself get hit by a bases-loaded pitch and Daniel Murphy [9] snuck a sharp grounder by Jose Reyes [10], who I couldn’t help but instinctively applaud most of the evening despite his insistence on wearing a bizarre purple uniform to our pennant race party. A 4-2 lead was placed into the hands of Tyler Clippard [11] and Jeurys Familia [12] and they handled it with care. If there are openings in the carpenters union [13], they might want to apply. Nothing fell apart on their watch, allowing Skid and I and everybody else to watch our first-place team maintain its first-place lead [14].

Have I mentioned the Mets are in first place? It bears repeating until it gets old, which I don’t believe it will as long as it retains the benefit of truth. Citi Field, of which I’ve never exactly been a roaring advocate, sounded like it knew exactly what place it was in when Murphy broke the 2-2 tie in the seventh. If it didn’t vibrate as I’m told it did during the Nationals series that Changed Everything, it surely echoed of the promise from April [15], when the environs began to feel tangibly engaged in a manner they never had. Then came May, June, most of July…not wholly terrible for wins and losses, but you know that dream where you’re sitting in your seat at a ballgame and the ballgame itself very slowly plummets to the ground [16] and you laugh uncontrollably because you don’t know what else to do?

It’s August and things are different in the best sense of the word. I’ve known it for a fact because I’ve seen it on TV, but sometimes you need to get your Skid on and see it for yourself. Prior to Monday, I’d been to 200 regular-season games at Citi Field between April 16, 2009 [17], and July 30, 2015 [18], but none whose result would keep a diehard up nights on account of ecstasy or misery. Then the Nats stopped by; and the Mets stymied them; and from a distance it was a revelation.

But there was perceptible distance between me and Citi Field when it seemed to matter most. Two-hundred games in that joint, yet I managed to miss the three that altered its equation. I felt like Roger Angell recounting where he wasn’t during the heart of 1969’s seminal eleven-game winning streak:

MAY 30-JUNE 1: Mets sweep Giants 3 games while I waste Memorial Day weekend in country. Bad planning.

Until I communed personally with my first-place ballclub, my giddiness was on an emotional seven-second delay.

Was this actually happening?

Were the Mets truly the team ahead of everybody?

Does Citi Field got lungs and know how to use them?

I now understand it all to be genuine, every bit as genuine as Skid [19], who is an excellent role model for us all (and should be toasted heartily this Thanksgiving at his ticket rep’s house). Skid never strays far from the Mets of New York town when they’re in the vicinity and look what they’ve done for him. Look what they’ve done for all of us rootin’ in the stand or wherever we happen to be jumpin’ from joy. When they play as they have lately, seats — no matter how lavishly cushioned — are essentially superfluous.