Friday, May 18, 2007

Bring the Hate

Sunday night Ballclub will be in the house for Mets-Yanks '07. The matchup should be John Maine vs. ... somebody. The latest skinny is that Chien-Ming Wang will miss the start for the Yankees and will be replaced by young 'un Tyler Clippard making his MLB debut. Needless to say, I'm excited about our prospects now that the team seems to have shaken off the difficulties with rookie pitchers that plagued them last season.

We'll be in the upper deck for this one. We've had mixed results there in the past with the rival fans. See, I'm not from New York originally. I have this stupid hope that everyone up in the stands will cheer for their team, drink a beer, have a hot dog, and enjoy the game. A little good-natured trash talk will fly around, but everyone will behave themselves.

It, um, doesn't usually happen like that.

Actually a couple years ago we were in the mezzanine for a Subway Series game—the Kaz Matsui game—and it did go that way. It was beautiful. It was like they'd crop-dusted the stadium with Paxil. Sadly, we weren't so lucky in '05, stuck way up and out in section 47. There, a group of Yankee fans behind us began singing "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch because they needed everyone in the stadium to understand the following:
  • Yankee fans love America.
  • The Mets hate America, because we weren't playing "God Bless America" on the PA and forcing everyone to stand up and sing along.
  • Take your hat off!!!
  • This particular group of (literally) flag-waving Yankee fans was more patriotic than anyone in the stadium, even the other Yankee fans, but especially the Mets fans, who clearly want the terrorists to win.
The team got its ass handed to it that day, and it seemed like the good guys' fans were substantially outnumbered up there in the four-seven, so all told it was one of the single most excruciating experiences of my life. I couldn't take it. I could feel my face turning bright red, the color it gets when I'm waiting longer than 20 minutes for the G train, multiplied by fuchsia. I was ready to fight somebody, anybody, but at 5'7"/155 that's not something I should ever do, ever. I'm pretty sure I almost had a stroke.

We weren't about to leave early, to slink out like losers, but we did watch the last inning from one level down, allowing my blood pressure to drop below emergency levels. I can't remember another time in my life that I've felt quite that level of helpless, impotent rage. The closest I can think of is the 2000 presidential election, but the anger that time was cooled down a little bit by an icy fear, so that helped.

Needless to say, our experience last year was better.

Tonight, we'll be taking in the action at Ballclub HQ - East Village Bureau, casually known as 11th Street Bar, if the weather cooperates and they get the game in. There's less urgency in this series, I think, then there has been in the past. When the Mets were terrible, there was a sense of fighting for our dignity against the cross-town bullies, of holding onto our pride. If the standings weren't on our side, maybe we could at least have the scoreboard, if just for one night. Now it just feels like a trumped-up opportunity for the fans to go through the motions of their pissing contests. The teams, as always, have bigger fish to fry. I'm still excited to see it play out, I mean it's not like we're sitting through the Padres-Mariners "rivalry weekend" here, but a lot of the edge is gone. Of course, I'm saying this now; talk to me in the late innings Sunday and you might hear a different story.

From ESPN's Diamond Daily:
Oliver Perez has an "every-other-start" thing going. In starts one, three, five and seven this season he's 4-0 with a 1.63 ERA. In starts two, four and six he's 0-2 with a 5.65 ERA. This will be his eighth start of the season.
That's just FYI. I don't actually think it means anything.

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