- Faith and Fear in Flushing - https://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

One For The Money

This Tuesday night in August was going to be part makeup game, part resumption. The makeup portion was for 2020 when the Princes and the Chasins (that’s me and Stephanie, Ryder and his dad Rob) did not get out to Citi Field because nobody was getting out to Citi Field on any night in any month of 2020. The resumption was picking up on a tradition we never planned to interrupt. We started going to games together on a Tuesday night in August of 2010 [1] and kept it up every year for the rest of the decade: ten in a row. One more would match the length of the longest winning streak in Mets history. Never mind that not every Prince-Chasin game was a Mets winner. The winning was in the planning together and meeting together and rooting together and being together.

I’ve decided where my personal Citi Field streaks are concerned, 2020 didn’t officially halt any of them. I was not eligible for entry into the ballpark, so it’s not as if I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain. Thus, Tuesday night, August 10, 2021, counted as the eleventh consecutive annual Prince-Chasin game. Apply an asterisk to any of those descriptors if you’re scoring at home. Last year we had our August Tuesday night via Zoom. It bridged the gap from 2019 to now. It counted in spirit.

But this one was gonna be for real. And it was, for one golden inning. Sure, Carlos Carrasco [2] got hit around, but we agreed we were better off with Carrasco in the long run of the short run of what is left of 2021. Besides, these weren’t the rampaging Phillies we were playing. These were the give-up Nationals. The Nationals had three on the board? We could make some of that up in two swings. Pete Alonso [3] nearly homered, but doubled. Dom Smith [4] nearly homered, but also doubled. Between them, they created a run. Smith showed the Mets out of the inning by next getting caught in a rundown with a basepath that didn’t meet umpire standards, but that’s OK. We pulled to within 3-1 and had eight innings ahead of us.

Or so we thought. A little lightning showed itself in the distance. Maybe not so distant distance, but we’d all checked the forecast inside and out, backward and forward before departing for Flushing. Scattered thunderstorm. Isolated thunderstorm. Then little chance of either. We didn’t even bother with an umbrella. Whatever we’re seeing and hearing — a rumbling was audible — was probably going to pass us by to the north. A little sky show for between pitches was all it would be.

Except there’d be no pitches after the top of the second got underway. It didn’t get far underway and it didn’t much stay underway. Rain began to fall in earnest. The tarp began to roll out. Fortunately, the tickets Rob procured for us were nice and covered, in Excelsior. We didn’t have to skedaddle for shelter. We could sit and talk and talk some more. Ryder and I caught up on baseball, 2021 and prior. Ryder was kind enough to be born long after I was [5], allowing me to fill in any Met blanks he didn’t know he had in the course of gleefully rambling conversation. Rob and Stephanie probably talked about non-baseball things. They’re essentially the adults in our group. But we all chatted with one another. We’d have preferred baseball as our backdrop, but we settled for the tarp on the field and, on CitiVision, satellite feeds of games from elsewhere (one went into its own delay) and a retro video game [6] in which the 1993 Mets stuck it to the 1993 Nationals, née Expos. You could tell it wasn’t real by the fact that the 1993 Mets prevailed.

As we rounded 9:30 (strangely the stadium clocks remained blank, like we were in Vegas and they didn’t want us to discern night from day) and neared two hours of delay, we were encouraged by the tarp appearing to absorb less and less rain. A security dude down below — one of the “yellow henchmen,” as Ryder referred to the gents in slickers — removed his protective gear. Surely the game would be resuming soon. Surely this was a handy interval to put a pin in our chit-chat and secure sustenance for the long night ahead. Off to the concessions we went. It was an extra snack we hadn’t anticipated investing in, but we didn’t think we were gonna be watching baseball past midnight, either.

We weren’t back at our seats more than a moment or two when the word went up on the scoreboard: SUSPENDED. The game, that is. Even though it had stopped raining. Even though we were ready to settle in for those eight unplayed innings. Even though our respective pretzel (the Princes’) and ice cream (the Chasins’) had many bites and licks left. No more baseball this Tuesday night in August. The Mets have lately lacked crisp play [7] on the field, but they really have their timing down when it comes to convincing you to buy food and drink just ahead of pointing you to the exits.

We got our inning [8]. We got our togetherness. We got our eleventh* in a row. Or twelfth* if you include 2020’s several-screen experience [9]. Rob got a rain check [10]. We can’t make it tomorrow for the 4:10 resumption [11]. But, clear skies and who knows how many other factors willing, we’ll be back next August.

POSTSCRIPT: It’s a final [12]: Mets 8 Nationals 7, about 24 hours after it began. The Princes and Chasins will take it as our own.