Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Goodnight, Citi!

The unfortunate placement of the Jewish Holidays and work scheduling has unfortunately made it impossible for me to get to the final Home Game of the season this Thursday, doubly unfortunate that I'll be missing R.A. Dickey's attempt to win his 20th game of the year. This will be the first time since 2002 that I'm missing the home closer, so Monday night's game against the Pirates was, somewhat unceremoniously, my Citi Field Finale for 2012. Fortunately, the results made it all worthwhile.

I kicked off the evening by figuring out where to have my final Citi Field meal of the season. Some past choices have included Shake Shack (because the line was short enough) and the El Verano Taqueria (a place I've unfortunately neglected these past couple of seasons, and I've made the mental note that I must return in 2013). Tonight, I made the wise choice to mosey out to Center Field to check out my options. Wise, because most of the higher-end choices usually available in the Promenade level haven't been open these past few weekday night games. With a mild crowd in the neighborhood of 5,236 on hand for this meaningless affair, I figured tonight would be no different. I settled on the newest taste sensation sweeping over Citi Field, the Pat LaFreida steak sandwich that had, on busier days, been drawing  lines comparable to Shake Shack. Tonight, there were no such problems. While I certainly had to check myself when I noticed the $15 price tag, after taking a bite, I didn't question myself. This thing is incredible! I'm only marginally aware of Pat LaFreida, but Holy Crap! The man knows how to turn out a good sandwich. This ought to give Danny Meyer a run for his money. Not to keep gushing about this, but I'll leave you with this thought: Anyone balking at the price of the sandwich should just swallow their pride and pay for it. I assure you, it's worth it. The Ballclub gives Pat LaFreida its 100% ironclad seal of approval, with extra onion-flavored belches.

Then, there was the game, which was a game. It took the Mets about 3 hours and 13 minutes to churn out their 6-2 victory, and it took a very quick latter half of the game to get it in at that rate. Though Jenrry Mejia was effective through his 5 innings of work, he worked at a pace that rivaled Steve Trachsel or Sid Fernandez, and seemed to go to deep counts on just about everyone who came to the plate. Nonetheless, the Pirates, after a very good start to their season, seem to have melted down just as badly as the Mets did, and are very much in danger of their 20th losing season in a row. It's unfortunate for them, because if they ever get in a pennant race, they'll instantly become America's Darlings, but, then again, I'm not a Pirates fan, so the hell with them. I came to see the Mets win a game. Mejia's pace was rivaled by his counterpart, Kyle McPherson. Both pitchers worked at a snail's pace. Fortunately, both were gone by the 5th inning.

By this point, Ike Davis had already launched his first Home Run of the night, which also happened to be the first Home Run I'd seen him hit in the 16 games I've attended this season. Of course, I gave him a hearty Mazel Tov! for that, which he must have liked, because he came up the next inning and hit another Home Run, stealing the show and putting the game out of reach in the process. With the drama having mostly evaporated, we could then sit back and watch the Parade of Relief Pitchers on both sides, including an appearance by old friend Hisanori Takahashi out of the Pittsburgh pen, and listen to Josh Thole's puzzling usage of K-Pop hit "Gangnam Style" as his At-Bat music (Ridiculous, yes, but no more ridiculous than Bobby Parnell's Country music, or David Wright resurrecting "Jump Around."). It was chilly out, so even though our hearts were warmed by a relatively safe Mets lead, we were still rooting for things to wrap up quickly, and most of the later innings went by fast enough. Pittsburgh mounted some minor rallies late, but not enough to pose an actual threat, so the Mets closed out my 2012 season with a nice, tidy win, and after all the problems they've had at Citi Field recently, I managed to end up at .500 for the year, 8-8 for my 16 games.

As is my tradition, I made my final exit of the season from Citi Field through the rotunda, gave a pound to one of the pillars, said "See you in 2013," and got on the Subway. Although it's not the final Home Game of the year, and although I do feel somewhat maudlin about that, It's as good a sendoff as I could have asked for this season. Citi Field, see you in April.

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