Thursday, August 24, 2017

Celebratory Mood

After sitting through Monday's mess of a game I was right back at Citi Field on Wednesday for another Mets/Diamondbacks tilt. Of greater import on this night at least, was the fact that it was the 30th Anniversary of my first Mets game, way back on August 23rd, 1987, as 8-year old me attended a 9-2 Mets victory over the Padres in what was the first of what has now become 416 regular season Mets games. These 416 (plus another 12 in the Postseason) have been more good than bad, even in some of the leanest of years. Even this season, which has been a slog and has seen the Mets struggle mightily at home, I sat at 8-7 for the year, which increased to 9-7 after the Mets celebrated my anniversary with a 4-2 victory.

Chris Flexen was on the mound for the Mets and the last time I saw him things worked out pretty well. It was more of the same on Wednesday. Flexen didn't exactly light anyone on fire, but he also didn't get lit up himself. He allowed a run in the first and a run in the 6th, and in between allowed few hits and no runs otherwise, got bailed out by some solid defense (particularly Juan Lagares, who gunned down a runner at home in the 5th), and finished after 6 innings leading 3-2. This was because Brandon Nimmo, one of those young guys essentially auditioning for a future role, kept getting on base by any means necessary (usually walking), and Michael Conforto, who is also auditioning, but for the more prestigious role of All Star and Batting Champion twice drove him home. Amed Rosario, auditioning for the role of Jose Reyes, also drove in a run.

It was 3-2 in the 6th when Dominic Smith led off against Jake Barrett (who once was a closer and now finds himself journeyman) and hit a Home Run to right. This was the bit of Anniversary verisimilitude I found myself looking for. On August 23, 1987, as I mentioned, the Mets won, 9-2. All I wanted to see that day was for Dwight Gooden to pitch well, Darryl Strawberry to hit a Home Run, and the Mets to win, and I got all 3. On August 23, 2017, I was hopeful to see Chris Flexen pitch well, which isn't nearly as sure of a thing as '87 Gooden, and I wanted the Mets to win, and maybe someone would hit a Home Run. Fitting that it would be Smith, given that he shares Strawberry's initials and is a lefty hitter with some degree of power. I wouldn't go so far as to say that Smith is auditioning for the future role of Strawberry, but perhaps for the role of 1st Baseman with some degree of pop and a good glove is acceptable.

Mostly, though, I just wanted the Mets to win, which has been a tall order these days, but they did manage to do that. Ten years ago, I was at a Mets game on the 20th Anniversary of my first game, and it did not go well. This time, the Mets were in about as celebratory a mood as I was. Which is to say they at least did their best to commemorate the occasion.

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