Friday, May 29, 2015

Horrible Game Friday

I went to Citi Field tonight. This is nothing new, but there were specific circumstances that brought me here on this specific night. Friday night, May 29th, was not a game on my plan. Generally, I don't pick Friday night games, or I don't pick many Friday nights, mainly because I prefer the Tuesday night crowd to the Friday night crowd. Tuesday nights are for the real purists, I believe. The people that come to watch a Baseball game and maybe eat a Hot Dog and drink a Beer, but food and other such entertainment are secondary. Friday night, you start getting the weekenders, the families, the hordes of Little Leaguers and, worse, Little League Parents that clog up the escalators and block you in the concourses and generally make life difficult. To say nothing of the Brosephs that tend to show up on Fridays.

I was at Citi Field on Friday night for one reason: to see Matt Harvey. After being at Harvey's first home start back in April, I'd fallen into a string of missing him by a game, or maybe two days, or whatever, but basically I just felt like I wasn't seeing him enough for my liking. So, on Tuesday, I decided to invoke my Plan Holder Privileges. I have two seats on my plan, but as I've mentioned, sometimes either I can't make it and can't sell the tickets, or I can't find someone to go with and instead I just go by myself. In the past, this would have meant eating the ticket or selling it to some geezer outside the stadium who invariably never actually shows up in the seat. However, last year, the Mets introduced a new policy in which unused plan tickets could in fact be exchanged for seats to other games. I don't know who came up with this idea, but this person needs to be nominated for a Nobel Prize for special brilliance. I invariably end up with extra tickets here and there, and now I can actually use them for some particular benefit. In this case, it meant trading in the unused ticket from the Mets/Cardinals crapfest I attended 2 weeks ago and getting a ticket for Harvey Day.

There was, of course, some concern about Harvey based on his awful outing in Pittsburgh and his Manager's assertion that he had a case of dead arm. If Harvey had a dead arm, I'd really like to see what happens when it's alive, seeing as how he charged out to the mound tonight with smoke coming out of his ears and struck out the side on 10 pitches. The second and third innings passed with similar results. Some Marlin batters did make contact, but none of them actually reached base. Harvey was pitching with his general ferocity, and the game kind of took on the feel of another game I'd seen Harvey pitch two years ago, in which he retired the first 20 batters in order and allowed all of one infield single over 9 innings (typically, he didn't win because the Mets didn't score any runs for him).

But, then came the 4th inning, and things basically went to hell in a handbasket. First, Dee Gordon did what has to be the most Marlins thing I've ever seen done: He bunted for a hit to break up the perfect game. The only way that could have been more Marlins is if he'd done it leading off the 7th inning, but I digress. Jorge Cantu Martin Prado (Cantu/Prado/Annoying Marlins 3rd Baseman, same thing) followed with a walk to bring up Mount Rushmore, but Harvey managed to get him to fly out. This, in fact, was the only time Stanton made contact all night. This brought up Justin Bour, the Marlins rookie who looks to be a cross between John Kruk and Greg Dobbs. Earlier in the season, he surfaced in a Mets/Marlins game in Miami. My other half was in the room and noticed his figure and his mullet and stated "He looks like a mouth-breather," and later, "He looks like the kind of guy who holds a woman's head down...(you can use your imagination from here)" Basically, it seems to me like the entire career of Justin Bour is that he's going to be the second coming of Chipper Jones every time he plays the Mets, and against every other team he'll go back to being Rich Becker. Tell me I'm wrong, because you know what happened here. Harvey came in with a slider on the first pitch to Bour, but I guess it hung a little bit and Bour pulled it down the Right Field line. It looked to me like it was tailing foul, but there were a group of people clamoring over a Hot Dog vendor and standing in my way, so I couldn't really tell. Also, the crowd, full and yet tepid at best, didn't seem to be paying much attention, so basically the only thing I had to go on was Bour happily rounding the bases. That was quite a turd in the punchbowl of my evening. Not only were the Mets now losing with Harvey on the mound, but nobody really seemed to care. I heard a gentleman behind me talking on his phone about something, and he launched into something to the effect of "...Yeah, Harvey's on the mound tonight and he is DEALING. I think he just gave up a hit, he had a no-hitter going for a while, I think the 6th inning, maybe..."

It was just that kind of night.

Lucas Duda got the Mets one run back when he launched a Home Run halfway up the Pepsi Porch—not that you'd notice from the reaction of the crowd—but Harvey gave up another run in the 5th of annoying variety. Granderson Homered in the 6th and the Mets started to put a little rally together, but then Daniel Murphy had a Daniel Murphy and hit into a Double play. This was how it was going down. Harvey made a couple of bad pitches and got tagged, and meanwhile, Dan Haren, who's entire career has been a series of bad pitches was going to get away scot-free because this was one of those nights when the Mets decided not to hit. Harvey kept motoring along, through the 6th, 7th and through the 8th innings without allowing the Marlins anything further, and thus finished his night with a gritty 8 inning effort that featured an incongruous 4 runs and 6 hits, and a typical 1 walk and 11 strikeouts. Go figure. On a night like this, he should win but at that point, it didn't seem likely. Really, I think I could have predicted the endgame by that point. The Mets got a couple of hits off of A.J. Ramos—who looks every bit like one of these closers whose brains you just want to beat in repeatedly—and the Mets scored a run to make it 4-3, but they got no closer, and the Mets lost a stupid game in stupid fashion, wasting a perfectly good outing by a perfectly good pitcher in the process.

I've mentioned that I'm usually in a less-than-pleasant mood when I go to a Mets game and they lose anyway. The crowd, or, more appropriately the meatheads therein put me in even less of a good mood. It was, of course, Free Shirt Friday, and on this night the Mets were giving out perhaps the most boring Free Shirt I've ever seen, but it was sponsored by Goya, and as such, Goya had a table set up outside the stadium and was handing out free bags of something after the game let out. I tried to get close to see if it was anything good, and upon seeing it was plantain chips, I decided to pass, but at that point, I was immediately run over by a group of Kappa Phis screaming "GIMME FREE FOOD!" and some other similarly well-behaved youths scampering away with armfuls of bags. I had to pause for a second because I wonder if the allure of free food at this time of night actually trumped being aware of what you were about to shovel into your mouth. It was that kind of night. I have to remind myself that next time I have to go see Matt Harvey pitch, I should make sure it's on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. It might make for a more pleasant experience.

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