I believe that bear was part of Jeter's gift basket.
If I'm being honest, my feelings on the Subway Series typically fall on the "hate it" side of the fence. A twice annual reminder of why my team isn't as good as their team is usually not my idea of fun, and even those seasons where the Mets have come out victorious against their cross-town rivals, it's usually set against the overaching reality that the Yankees have a shot at playoffs and beyond, and the Mets just don't. Like in 2008, when the Mets won the season series 4-2, including a sweep at Yankee Stadium...and the Mets were eliminated from wild card contention on the last day of the season by the Marlins. Again. Or 2004, when they swept at Shea and won the series, only to go 71-91 that year.
Living in New York, the Mets are the team you root for if you don't really mind a dark cloud over your head. They're who you root for if sports don't have to be easy for you, if you want to feel a sense of fulfillment by earning success through years of despair. That is, if you think your being a fan has anything to do with anything, which - as it happens - I narcissistically do. Being a Met fan means that, even when you win, you gotta be ready to hear it from the Yankee fans in the room when they remind you of their many titles and how Jeter is God and how they don't even like A-Rod, as if that lends them more credibility (it does).
This season smells a little different, though. The teams step up the Subway Series in remarkably similar circumstances - the Yankees in third place in the AL East, a half game back of the surprising Orioles; the Mets in third, back a game and a half from the surprising Nationals. They each also sit in divisions with powerhouse teams in last place, further complicating their own prospects at an eventual postseason berth with the chance that the Red Sox and Phillies could suddenly remember how to play baseball again.
And, lest I forget, they each have teams owned by rich men who made money by swindling middle-class investors.
What's that? Only the Mets are owned by dirty crooks? Oh. Bummer.
/cries in corner over Wilpon crimes
/considers argument that all sports team owners are crooks who swindle the middle-class
Despite the similarities of circumstances, the Yankees and Mets of 2012 are still very different teams. The Yankees are squeaking by despite fielding a team of proven winners and more than their fair share of perennial All Stars, while the Mets are exceeding expectations with a team of nobodies and top guys on the DL, leaving a roster seemingly held together with duct tape, naive ambition and the magical, high-pitched tone of Terry Collins' voice. Add in a guy coming off the franchise's first no-hitter, and suddenly this series doesn't just seem like an opportunity to show up the big brother club from the Bronx, but a chance for the Mets to establish themselves - in the context of a very strong season - as the NYC team to watch this summer.
No matter what happens this weekend, I'm optimistic about the Mets this season, insofar as I had previously expected to give up on them in May and now actually think there will be meaningful games come August and September. But, if I have to walk into work on Monday to find a gaggle of cocky Yankee fans gloating about beating up on the Mets this weekend, things may get violent. You may disagree, but I don't think I'd do well in Manhattan Central Booking or Rikers Island ... so, if only for that, Let's Go Mets!
I'm the cute one on the left.
Maybe in the end, it won't matter much - as most Inter-League play most certainly does not - since the Yankee fans will still have those rings to point to with a disgusting level of arrogance and hair grease, and since the Yankees themselves will likely remain the darling of the NYC sports world until the Mets make an actual run at World Series again (and that, despite my optimism, is a long way off). But, for these few days, just maybe the Amazins can put together some solid wins and shut the knuckle-dragging front-runners up for a little while. In a City that seems to live and breathe baseball for the summer months, and is overflowing with Yankee fans falling over each other to pat themselves on the back for the good sense at following one the most successful teams in all of sports, that's certainly a nice thought.
It's been a rough morning. I blame whomever invented Crown Royal.
Wow. That game was a shit show. Mostly as with respect to me, as I'm pretty sure that I was only semi-conscious of the world around me. Which isn't to say I didn't know what was going on with the game - it was pretty easy to follow, as most baseball games are - but, boy, I must have been a sight to behold stumbling around the outfield concessions area, trying to put a straight face on while buying another beer.
It all started with a boat ride. A wonderful, drunken boat ride.
If you live in New York City, or travel here for baseball games during the summer, the NYC Water Taxi is a freakin' gift from heaven. The company, which typically runs ferry services/boat trips out of South Street Seaport, has been offering free - FREE!! - trips to all NY baseball game - Yankees and Mets - for a few years now. I've never taken the Yankee boat, as I'm sure it's filled with "special" fans from Staten Island, and I prefer to avoid those folks as often as I can. But, the Mets boat, filled with only the classiest of sports fans, has been a favorite of mine for a couple years. So, when Scizz, Apologist and I agreed that we'd check this game out, catching the water taxi was my first choice. Added benefits include forcing me to leave work right at 5 pm, rather than a 6 pm departure to get me to the field via subway, and the $5-$6 beers sold on the boat . While Aps had to opt out of the boat trip due to work, Scizz and I - as well as a dear friend of mine - found our way to the boat for the 5:40 departure.
Sidebar: Incidentally, this friend prefers to remain nameless in this post - which I can certainly appreciate - so, I agreed to find her a suitable nickname from amongst the characters in She-Ra: Princess of Power. I've settled on Madame Razz, who was apparently the witch on the show? Who the fuck knows. This line from the wikipedia page sealed it: "Madame Razz is very absent-minded, and frequently mispronounces spells or forgets them completely.." After my friend's performance last night, this seems about right.
Madame Razz: Life-long Mets fan and vehement hater of David Wright.
Anyway....putting aside by recent obsession with childhood television, back to the details of our night.
It was a perfect night for a boat trip, and a great way to pregame any baseball game in the City. Especially since, after consulting with Scizz and Razz, and being the boy scout that I am, I packed for our trip...mini bottles of Crown, Jack and Ketel. Because, really, what's a boat ride along the East River without shots? Don't anyone tell you that I don't think ahead. Unless they're referring to the choice to drink two of those bottles during the boat ride, in which case, yes, my forward thinking may need a little tweaking. But I digress.
Three beers and two shots later, we arrived at Citi. I was in reasonably good shape then - certainly enough to manage a friendly hello to the local fuzz directing traffic, and enough to purchase a couple tickets at the booth. Tickets in hand we met up with the dear Apologist by the Big Apple outside the park, and walked in. A special thank you to the wonderful security at Citi Field, by the way. Concentrating your efforts on guns and bombs, rather than the items actually in my pockets (including two of those aforementioned mini bottles), makes me feel much more positive about this nation's choices with respect to security at large-scale events. Seriously, good work.
One of the themes of the night, aptly summed up by the Apologist as we walked out at the end of the game, was that we were going to simply enjoy this game no matter what. As Aps said, baseball is great because you can go to a game, chat freely with your friends while only partly paying attention, but never feel that you're missing anything. Sure, maybe you turn your head or are in the bathroom for a big home run, but - if we're being honest - rarely do you see a home run that is any way materially different from the thousands you've seen before. Baseball, a sport that is, by its nature, repetitive, doesn't ask a lot of the fans that come out to catch a game. Which may be why I had no problem piling on delicious Goose Island IPA as the game wore on, and why Madame Razz and I had loads of laughs standing on Shea Bridge, discussing the career of Lastings Milledge
- who, incidentally, is not on the Pirates anymore, despite our semi-racist, semi-drunk tendency to think that this guy
was Mr. Milledge in disguise, some covert effort to re-enter the league free of his reputation for being an all-around fuck-up. It took Razz a solid 8 innings to be convinced otherwise.
In addition to being the site of offensive comparisons of Milledge and McCutchen, Shea Bridge's girders double as a drum. Gotta have some percussion when those bats fall silent.
So, yeah, I went to the game and was much more interested in drinking and laughing with friends than I was about the play happening on the field. With the Mets these days, though, that's how I roll.
Which isn't to say that I didn't watch, particularly as the night wore on. The Mets' bats were pretty quiet all night. Continuing a recent trend, the team got a small-ball run in the first inning, but failed to put any more guys across, leaving Dickey high and dry as he battled hard and kept the Pirates scoreless through 7 innings. In short, Dickey pitched a fucking gem, and I can't much fault Terry Collins for leaving him in for the 8th inning - he was NASTY all night, and I can only assume that Dickey thought his stuff was still good. Though, why Dickey remained in after giving up the tying run was a weird move. Knuckleballers are hard to manage, I'm sure, since you don't necessarily see the drop off in velocity in late innings - or, at least, any decrease in speed would be pretty irrelevant, since the speed isn't how he's getting guys out anyway. So, again, I can't really blame Collins for keeping him in for the 8th...but, things got real wacky during that inning - a tough hit batsman call, an inexplicable throw from Carlos Beltran which allowed a runner to advance, and then a center field single that put the game away. These things were typical Mets baseball, and it was bizarre to see Dickey - who's also been dealing with foot issues - stay in there through it all, if only because the previous seven innings might have earned him the right to take a seat and not suffer through any more of the disaster playing out on the field.
That being said, I don't blame Collins, and I don't blame Dickey, for what went down last night. The Mets need to score more than one run to win a game, and they didn't do it. Pure and simple. If the score is 4 or 5 going into the 8th inning, maybe Dickey doesn't need to stay in, maybe the Pirates don't bother showing some late fire, and maybe I feel a little better about the lingering hangover I still have. I know that, right now, this team is full of rookies and call-ups, but they still have some decent hitters in the lineup, and those guys have to step up against teams like the Pirates.
So, there you have it. Next trip to Citi will, with any luck, include the Yachtsman as well, and maybe even Megsie, so we're hoping for a more complete DGWU Crew later this summer. If you follow us on twitter, you know that I was none too kind with the Yachter last night, and was definitely lacking in sympathy for the fact that he had just moved, was working, and didn't want to hear my shit about him not coming to the game. Sorry, bud. Such is life when your friends drink too much and resort to twitter during the boring moments of a ballgame. Next time, show up and tell me to eff myself to my face. We'll all be better off.
The plan was to leave you with my theme song of the night - "Sunglasses at Night" by Corey Hart - but I just watched the video on YouTube and it really fucking blows. I may have been a douche and worn my sunglasses throughout the entire evening, but that's no excuse to subject all of you to such a crap song. So, instead, I give you some Buffalo Expat hip-hop from Rabbi Darkside, alum of City Honors, now hailing from Brooklyn. Enjoy.
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