Friday, April 18, 2014

Can't Go Home

I'm 3-for-3 at Citi Field in the early going this season.

Yes, I've been to Citi Field three times in 2014 and each time, I have successfully managed to freeze my ass off while watching a Baseball game.

Between the weather and the performance I was subjected to, this evening's game will certainly go down as one of my least favorite games. I'd drawn some odd looks for wearing my winter coat on a 50˚ day, but I know better. 50˚ in the daytime can turn to low 40˚s at night, and whatever the air temperature is, it's generally a good 5-10˚ colder in the seating bowl at Citi Field. You may as well dress for an Arctic expedition when you go to one of these April night games, and yet stupid me, I still keep getting tickets for them (generally because the bulk of the "Super Value" nights, when tickets are cheapest, are in April and September. Also, I had to find some way to fill 20 games).

But the weather ended up being only slightly more pleasant than the game itself, where I had the high pleasure of sitting down and watching the Mets very nearly get No-Hit by Aaron Harang and his band of merry men. This was one of these things that was really slow in developing. Aaron Harang, who was a Met-for-a-Minute late last season, was hardly what you'd call "dominant." He was mixing pitches well and had the benefit of facing the Mets at Citi Field, where they seem to immediately forget that they're Major League quality hitters. The Mets hit balls well, but in every instance they were directly at people. They were also drawing walks, so they had men on base, but every time they had men on base, someone struck out and ended any reasonable shot at a good rally. Jon Niese pitched admirably well in a situation that was shaping up to be rather hopeless; in his 6 innings, he only allowed 1 run, which kept a decent amount of drama in the game until Gonzalez Germen became the Met Reliever du jour to crap the bed and send most of the audience to the exits after a 4-run 8th inning. With the Braves ahead 5-0 instead of 1-0, many of the lesser fans in attendance began actively rooting for Atlanta to finish off the No Hitter, even with Harang out of the game. Fortunately, David Wright saved us all from any further indignities by singling with 2 outs in the 8th inning. By that point, however, the damage had been done and between the cold and the general lack of hope, I was very close to departing early. I did ultimately stick it out until the end, but admittedly, I walked downstairs to the Field Level and watched Dainty Jordan Walden retire the Mets in order in the 9th inning, and then sped off for the Subway.

The game itself was a bit secondary to the news of the Ike Davis trade to Pittsburgh. I'm reluctantly OK with it, as I, along with most Mets fans, probably have this haunting suspicion that as soon as Ike Davis gets traded he's going to turn into Chris Davis and start running off 40+ Home Run seasons. He may well do that, but in the majority of the past 3 seasons, he's shown little to make us think something like that's a given. Still, I'd always liked Ike; he seemed to have the right kind of personality for New York, and fans generally took to him pretty much from his Major League debut back in 2010. Even when he didn't hit, he seemed to carry himself with the attitude of someone who still felt he was worthy of a Major League role. And he did manage to turn a disastrous start in 2012 into a respectable season. It all comes back to the fact that the organization just didn't like him, for whatever reason, and once that happened, he was done here. They would keep smearing him and burying him until they got rid of him, and now they've finally gotten rid of him, so I hope they're happy. For all we know, the second half of 2012 could have been the anomaly. Or maybe the change of scenery will spur him on to better things. Either way, there was only so long that this tenuous Duda/Davis sideshow could continue before one of them had to go. Lucas Duda, who as loyal readers will know is hardly one of my favorites, has actually played reasonably well by his standards since being named the full-time starter, so he stays. That being said, he'd better get his shit together and fast. He's The Guy now, and the team has in no uncertain terms told him that by dumping Davis. For now, he'll platoon with Josh Satin, but he's going to get the majority of playing time and he's going to have to prove he's earned it. No more standing around watching strikes and no more plopping on the infield in an attempt to field a Ground Ball. He's got to look the part in order to play the part. Davis had the look, but he's no longer our problem. Duda's now got to prove that the Mets made the right choice.

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