Tuesday, August 8, 2017

In Retrograde

I was back at Citi Field on Tuesday night for my 14th game of the season, and what would finally be my first against the Texas Rangers. This should have happened nine years ago, but for a biblical rain storm that washed out the proceedings before they ever got started. It should have happened again three years ago, except that the Rangers came to town the same weekend I was getting married, so needless to say I was a bit indisposed. But, finally, the timing was right and the weather was right, and so here it was, my first-ever Mets/Rangers matchup, crossing them off my list of teams I've never seen and leaving only the Cleveland Indians, and that only sort of counts because I saw them in their own stadium, just never against the Mets.

Then again, just based on my experience at Citi Field, I wonder if I still really haven't ever seen the Rangers.

I was at Citi Field more or less on time. Maybe a little later than I would have liked, but if I was on my usual route I might have been in my seat after the first batter or two. But I knew I had to detour to the ticket booth and take care of an exchange, so that might delay me a little. I also had to battle my way through the security line, which on some nights moves pretty quick, but on this night did not, probably because I ended up in one of those lines where the guy was being "thorough," and as such picked through every individual item in my bag, including my house keys, my office keys, my chewing gum and other assorted papers that I have in my bag for no apparent reason. So that took some time. But I was still in the building before first pitch.

My ticket booth of choice is the "secret" booth to the left of the escalators in the Rotunda. Unfortunately it's not so secret anymore since there is usually a line there. Those of you loyal readers who aren't plan holders probably don't go through this often, but it is a perk that you can exchange unused plan tickets for future games. But there are restrictions as there is with anything, but nothing I'd deem too complicated. I try to exchange several times a year also, because one such restriction is that you can't exchange after September 1st. It seems a lot of plan holders don't realize this. I got on line and saw a husky fellow in a David Wright jersey standing there berating the poor girl in the ticket booth for whatever reason. Apparently he was exchanging about 20 tickets, and he didn't like the games, and he didn't like the seats, and he didn't like anything, and bear in mind there were several people in front of me already, many of whom were about to go through the same ration of bullshit. And then me, who was exchanging two tickets for one game and knew exactly what they were doing. So I stood and waited. And the game started. And things were happening. And I was checking my phone and talking tickets with the other people on the line. And then there was a Home Run by Michael Conforto, which I only knew from my phone since this appears to be one of the few areas of the stadium not within range of a TV or radio broadcast. And then there was another Home Run by Yoenis Cespedes. So now we were getting annoyed because this doofus was still arguing and this girl was clearly ready to shoot herself. Finally, he finished and the remainder of us in line broke into mock applause—except me, because I knew that the other 3 people in front of me were about to do the same thing. Fortunately, they were a little more expeditious, but it was well into the 2nd inning by time I got to the window, where the girl, whose name escapes me but whom I'll commend for her fortitude and continued politness, apologized and did my exchange rather quickly. So I'll say I spent probably 30 minutes holding my jock and 3 minutes doing my transaction.

Then, I had to stop and pick up a gift for someone in one of the little concession stores. I came out just in time to see Travis d'Arnaud's Home Run land in the seats in Left Field, which put the Mets ahead 4-0. Then, I went upstairs, where I wanted to get food, because standing on line like that really works up one's appetite. And, for whatever reason, on a dopey Tuesday night, every concession stand line was miles long. I can't figure it out. I thought everyone crammed in line for Shake Shack but now it's happening upstairs too at the plain old Burgers & Dogs stands. So I stood in line some more, where I eventually realized that Andrew Cashner was not pitching for Texas, it was A.J. Griffin, whom I was only vaguely aware of as a Major Leaguer in general. Still, it was creeping later and later into the game, into the bottom of the 3rd and I was still waiting on a line that seemed to be held up by more people who were either indecisive as to what they wanted or were somehow unhappy with what they got, but either way, the line moved at a crawl, until it was my turn and I ordered and was served in probably under 2 minutes.

Finally, I hit my seat with two outs in the top of the 4th. If you're keeping score, that's about 65 minutes standing on lines, 5 minutes actually conducting transactions, and another 5-10 minutes in transit. And none of the game actually watched, and if you know how OCD I am about being in my seat and keeping score, you can understand how nuts I was getting.

But then I did sit and get to see the rest of the game mostly undisturbed. I missed the three Mets Home Runs, but I did at least get to see Chris Flexen pick up his first Major League hit in the 5th, a double off the wall, and I also got to see him nimbly work into the 6th and not get outright hammered like he had his first couple of times out. He actually looked comfortable and in a groove, you know, more like a Major League pitcher should look. He had some trouble in the 6th and was removed, as the Rangers trimmed a 4-0 game down to a 4-3 game, mostly because the Mets were having a Joey Gallo problem and also because Adrian Beltre hit a Home Run, but from there, Erik Goeddel and Jerry Blevins did fine work, Asdrubal Cabrera drove home Conforto with an insurance run, and the Mets went to the 9th up 5-3. The game was then turned over to A.J. Ramos, who gave back the insurance run by allowing a 2-out Home Run to Robinson Chirinos, but he then got the final out to finish this 5-4 victory, pick up his first Met Save and close out Chris Flexen's first Met Win.

So, I missed most of the relevant or interesting action, but in the end I still got to see a win, which I think is what matters most in the big picture. Still, it would have been nicer were it not for the fact that Citi Field seemed to be in retrograde all night. Or maybe it was the other fans. Probably both.

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