Today's header isn't some sort of thinly veiled reference to Derek Bell.
No, it's about the travails of the 2008 Mets.
I went to Friday night's game against the Atlanta Braves, for some reason. I say for some reason, because by the end of the night, I found myself having the beginnings of a nervous breakdown because I should have been able to find something better to do with myself for 3 hours and 6 minutes that evening, rather than subject myself to the epic crapfest the Mets put forth.
I should have turned back when I got to Grand Central at around 5:45, and while waiting on the 7 train platform, there was an announcement that there was no Express service into Queens.
I should have turned back when I got to Shea, walked up to the ticket booth by Gate E and found that the Upper Reserve was, for some reason, completely sold out.
I ponied up for the Mezzanine and continued.
I knew it was a bad idea.
The seemed just about indistinguishable from several I'd attended over the course of the 2007 season. The Mets didn't hit, they only scored when Jair Jurrjens lost the plate in the 3rd inning, and then pretty much went into the tank after that. Pelfrey had his own issues with the strike zone, coughed up the 3-1 lead in the 5th, and let the game slip away in the 6th, giving up a Home Run to Kelly Johnson, another one of those annoying little middle infielders who always seems to kill the Mets.
The atmosphere around Shea was Murderous at best. Between the normal animosity focused towards Atlanta, there was a good deal of antipathy towards the Mets as well. It was spreading, as noted by Jason at Faith and Fear over the weekend. The introductions of the starting lineup were greeted with applause that was lukewarm. Booing was frequent. The Mets managed 2 hits against a pitcher who seemed all too happy to hand the game over to them. By the end of the 8th inning, just about the entire crowd got up and left. The 9th seemed like mere formality.
Sitting in the Mezzanine, the fans seemed to range from apoplectic to half asleep. Of course, I was sitting about 8 rows behind some Napoleon Dynamite jerkoff in a Chipper Jones shirt who kept squealing and maniacally clapping and doing a solo tomahawk chop throughout the game. Some people yelled at him. I just wanted to throw peanuts at him. By the end of the game, nobody had the energy anymore. There was also a guy sitting in front of me with his girlfriend. She kept making him get up and go stand on line for food. He missed about 2 innings before returning with an order of french fries, which he then proceeded to start to feed to her before she whined that there was no ketchup, which he went back for, and took another half inning,then he disappeared for another 3 innings getting sausages and beer while she sat and sent text messages. He might have seen about 3 innings worth of the game. Something tells me he ended up getting the better end of the bargain.
I knew I was a little off when, following Pelfrey's pathetic departure in the 6th, I was almost delighted to see Scott Schoeneweis trotting in from the Bullpen. That was the warning sign. By the 9th inning, I began to wonder what the hell I was doing. Why had I gone? Why wasn't I somewhere else getting drunk, or trying to pick up a nice Jewish girl somewhere? What posessed me to go to this game? Walking down the ramps after the game, everything began spinning. I think I blacked out. Next thing I knew, I was sitting in the last car of a speeding 7 train, listening to the dulcet tones of Sarge (one of the folks who occupies UR1 most nights, I know that's not his name, but it seems to suit him well enough) absolutely BELLOWING about how the Mets suck and the Rangers suck. Then he started talking about the Pennsylvania primary.
"That's it," I realized. "I've died. The Mets have actually killed me. And this is Hell."
So, just when I was feeling my worst, the Mets managed to go out and win on Saturday and Sunday. How they managed that, I'm not quite sure. They bunched their hits when they needed them, all in the 3rd inning on Saturday, and on Sunday, Carlos Delgado, who was lustily booed during his cameo appearance on Friday, hit 2 HRs and permeated good feelings all around despite the fact that he didn't take a curtain call. I'm with Steve Somers on this one: Let Delgado not come out for a curtain call many more times over the course of this season. Beware, though. There was a stretch last season where he went on a little power streak, and people thought the real Delgado was going to show up, and it didn't happen. Take the HRs when you can. Who knows when they'll come again.
I don't know what else to say other than this team is basically a Yo-Yo. They're up, they're down, you don't know who's going to screw up one day and who'll be good the next. I can't figure it out, and right now, I'm not so sure I want to. They lose a few and people are jumping out of windows. They win a couple and now they're the best.
Such is life as a Baseball fan in New York.