Friday, July 10, 2009

Heading for the Exits

Last night's game was a first of sorts for me.

It was the first time I ever seriously considered leaving a game after one batter.

I was pretty ambivalent about going to the game in the first place. If I didn't have the tickets already, I probably wouldn't have gone at all, especially after El Guapo begged out earlier in the day. Essentially stuck with out a posse, I decided to forge ahead anyway, and I seriously wondered if I was doing the right thing. I have these existential crises at games every so often. Sometimes, they come and go with the ebb and flow of a game. Other times, however, they fester and get worse as the game progresses. I knew that the Mets were probably not going to win the game. I rarely, if ever, feel quite as pessimistic as I did last night. But they had won on Wednesday and didn't look particularly impressive in doing so, and the Dodgers really look loaded from top to bottom, particularly within their starting lineup. But, basically, knowing it was probably a waste of time, I went to the game anyway. I had the tickets, and I suppose I didn't have anything particularly better to do with myself for three hours on a Thursday evening. This, I suppose, is why I'm single and only marginally employed at age 30.

Rafael Furcal hits a dying quail on Livan's 2nd pitch of the game. It lands softly in left field for a leadoff double. An older gentleman sitting a section to my right, someone I'd seen before, one of the denizens of Shea's UR1, no doubt, piped up and yelled, "ONCE AGAIN, NO NO HITTER FOR THE METS!" I was seriously tempted to walk over and punch him in the mouth. Right then and there I wanted to stand up and leave. Nothing good was going to happen. Nothing whatsoever. Instead, I stayed. What I witnessed didn't surprise me in the least.

The crowd was taken out of the game by the end of the top of the 1st. People started to leave in the 3rd inning, I imagine, in between the Mets losing 6-1, the weather chilly and the first 3 innings taking about an hour. The game moved along at a crawl most of the way. Livan was getting creamed. The Dodgers hammered every one of his mistakes. Wolfie wasn't particularly good for the Dodgers either. But the Mets, attacking with the ferocity of a bunny rabbit, kept getting men on base and then either hitting into double plays or grounding out to the Shortstop. Wolfie wasn't good. He was just reaping the benefits of pitching against a Double-A lineup.

By the 6th, it was 8-2 and the stadium had about half-emptied out. I still stayed. I still would have prefered to leave. But I never leave early. The reasons why are beyond me. I'd already had my Sausage sandwich before the game. Had I wanted, I probably could have run down to Shake Shack and been on line for 3 minutes. Instead, I opted to move down from my perch in section 518, just to see how things looked from a little lower down. I ended up somewhere in the 400s, where you really feel on top of the action. That made me feel a little better. Then I looked up and somehow Tim Redding had made his way onto the mound. This game couldn't end fast enough.

By the 9th, I'd say there were fewer than 10,000 people left in the stadium. I'm still there. I'm still not sure why. It was about 10:20 and I'd been looking forward to the train ride out of there since about 7:12. I was plotting my escape. It was virtually empty around me, I wasn't going to bother with a ramp tonight. The stairs were right there. The game ended, and I struck, dashing down the stairs and onto the Subway with a ferocity. A trip that, on a crowded night can take up to 20 minutes was accomplished in exactly 7 minutes, and I was on that express. Of course, it sat there for about 5 minutes before I was moving, but at least I'd managed to make it through the game.

What the hell is the matter with me?

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