We were in Citi Field Wednesday night for the Mets 7-4 win over the Nationals, completing a three-game sweep. A weird night overall, from Murphy's Subway home run to Fernando making his first rookie mistake (run, Fernando, run!) to Johan doing an Ollie imitation.
Plus Citi Field was a massive distraction last night, thanks to the new exclusivity rules in the bars and my first fight with a drunk at a Met game in a few decades. More on that later.
First the game: despite no Reyes, Church, Delgado and the rest of the injured parade, the Mets put up a good fight. Johan was erratic, striking out 10 but walking 6 along the way. With a 3-0 lead in the 4th, Johan came a bit undone, giving up a massive 2-run homer to Adam Dunn that almost hit the old Apple beyond the bridge. Later in the inning, Santana walked in the tying run. Ugh.
But the Mets did not let themselves get beat by a lesser team. Murphy redeemed himself for a missed catch at 1st in the first by crunching a 2-run homer in the 5th. At least it was a home run eventually. The ball hit the Subway sign on the Pepsi Porch, now known as Wilpon's Folly, as our owners' desire to create a quirky homage to dead old stadiums not named Shea resulted in this ground rules trivia question. The umps had to leave the field and review the tape. Meanwhile, 40,000 of us in our seats were not allowed to watch an instant reply on the two giant Citi Field screens. Eventually, the HR was acknowledged and the Mets kept the lead for good.
It should be noted that just below Wilpon's Folly, young Fernando Martinez made a great catch early in the game, crashing into the bullpen at one of its nooks (or is that a cranny?). A great catch all but forgotten when, during his next at-bat, Martinez watched as his meager pop-up in front of home plate fell out of the catcher's glove. By the time Fernando ran, it was too late - he was out at first and in the dog house of impatient Met fans. Welcome to the big leagues. It can only get better from here kid, unless you cut a rap record with Lastings Milledge
But I'd say Citi Field had a worse night. The stadium itself is fine and I'm getting to like the sight lines. But last night's experience was the opposite of my Citi Field trip
a few weeks back. Last game, O entered the Promenade Box bar and enjoyed the view while dining and drinking - very civilized. Last night, when my Dad and I tried to enter, we were stopped by two ushers who demanded our tickets, then informed us we didn't have access. But I was here last game, I reasoned. "We've changed our policy," I was told. So the Mets have gone back to excluding fans from even the most modest of bars. Never mind that the food and restaurants are touted as a selling point for the stadium. Never mind that the Promenade Box Bar was EMPTY. Never mind that I had cash in hand and was not afraid to spend. We walked out and pocketed the dough I would have gladly coughed up to the Mets. Foolish.
But this policy is nothing compared to the Ambulatory Rules of Citi Field. As previously mentioned, our seats are in the last row of our section, on the same level as the Promenade walkway. Folks are allowed to stand directly behind us. Most of the time, that's fine but occasionally people will stand there jabbering about anything but the game. Or a drunken lout or two will scream nonsense gibberish in the general direction of the field, their slobbering syllables passing first through my aching head.
Last night we asked the green jacketed director matron of our section to clear the area when folks were lingering too long. She said she can't - it's stadium policy to let people stand there. That policy was in full effect, when around the third inning, two drunk guys stood behind us to the side, talking on their cell phones and to two tourist ladies. They weren't directly annoying; most of the time they weren't even watching the game and were easily ignored. But when the ladies left, the guys finally noticed the game and began to randomly blurt out cheers. By the 6th inning, they were directly behind me. Finally, after one particularly loud random "Lets Go Mets," I politely asked the louder dude to move 10 feet in either direction. To which he replied, "I said lets go Mets, what the F#*& is your problem." This argument usually wins with me, at least it did 20 years ago. But not last night. Words were exchanged; Ron Hunt asked the dude where his seats were. he told us way up behind us.
And that's the galling part. Folks can buy inferior tickets, then move around the stadium as part of the "experience." Instead, they move to right behind us and set up beer camp and our "experience" is obliterated. A few minutes after our spirited debate subsided, I got up and talked with the drunk dude, explaining that when he cursed, he blew it. I don't care what you're chanting but don't curse me out in my seat. He apologized, we shook hands and he moved on. He was actually not a bad guy at all. The real problem here is the policy...and the "directors" whose job it is apparently is to stand around telling us about the policy. Our green jacket witnessed the whole affair and did nothing to intervene. Unacceptable.
Fred or Jeff, feel free to come sit with us one night and see if our experience matches what it used to be like in Ebbets Field.
Anyways, the Mets are in first with a day off to mend.