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Tuesday Night, Citi Field: Your New York Mets

Posted on 17 August 2015 by Caryn Rose (0)

#happyplace #mets

The New York Mets are playing enjoyable baseball again. The New York Mets are in a pennant race. These two sentences seem improbable, given the nuclear winter Mets fans have endured these past few years, but yet, here we are, with the Mets at the top of the division while the Nationals are on the West Coast facing the likes of Kershaw, Greinke, and Bumgardner, and doing… not so well. The old concept of Triple Happiness (Mets win, Phillies lose, Braves lose) has changed.

For years, everyone has said, “Root for the team, not for the owners,” but the owners made it very difficult to do so. Even as recently as last year, ownership continued to disgrace themselves by slut-shaming the first senior VP in Mets history because she was in a committed relationship, not married, and pregnant, by publicly chiding her about when she was going to get a ring. These are not likable men, and they have lied and mismanaged the team. But unlike the McCourts, who behaved reprehensibly and were summarily removed by MLB, the Wilpons continue to reign.

But this year, someone either told the Wilpons to shut up and get out of the way, or they realized it themselves, and they did. So you could theoretically start the season full of hope, as one typically does at the start of the season, when everything is fresh and new, and the horrors of the previous season has faded away. You think, “I’m not looking for a post-season run, I just want to be able to come to the park and watch some respectable baseball.” You think, “You know, I’m not looking for 90 wins, but would 70 be too much to ask for?” You think, “Maybe I can enjoy watching some young talent come up.” And then, halfway through the season (if not sooner) you would realize that the team called the New York Mets was not very good at baseball, you would watch Daniel Murphy’s lack of fielding skills, you would post “RIP” on Twitter when a player got an ingrown toenail because somehow the Mets manage to Mets-terize even the most routine injury, and any hope for the season would vanish before we reached the All-Star Break.

This year, we thought it was over—RIP 2014 Mets Baseball Season—as soon as David Wright was on the DL. We thought it was over even further back when there were no offseason signings that meant anything. We were dismayed when the trade deadline approached and we weren’t even ending up with a couple of scrubs and a sack of baseballs.

But some tiny moves—okay, some big moves, Yoenis Cespides is not tiny, as his arm demonstrated this Saturday night when he launched an atomic grenade from center field in the direction of Juan Uribe, who managed to field it like a major leaguer and get an improbable out—and other moves that seemed minor but have proven to be anything but, and something began to happen out in Flushing that looked a lot like Major League Baseball. Hope began to populate the ballpark. Hope sprung up out around the Home Run Apple. Hope wafted around the dugout, and on the field. You’d look around the seating bowl at first pitch and while there were still plenty of folks stuck out in the Shake Shack line, seats were filled to the top and to the outer edge of the Promenade deck. You’d be in a row with empty seats on either side of you, and you’d think, “We can spread out at the start of the third inning once we see no one is coming,” and people would show up at the start of the second. Fans bring K cards, and they debate things like the rotation for October between innings.

And the people showing up are loud, and paying attention, and clapping at the second pitch without waiting for the scoreboard to tell them to do it. They are heckling the opposing players, booing the stars of the opposing team properly. They are yelling at the umpires appropriately. They are staying until the last pitch, not walking out at the top of the 9th to get the 10:06pm LIRR, not even packing up at the bottom of the 8th inning and heading to the top of the stairs to beat the rush. Fans are showing up not just to see Matt Harvey pitch, but they’re showing up to see Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard pitch as well.

It was electric in the ballpark last Tuesday against the Rockies, “Let’s Go Mets” everywhere, chants originating from all over the ballpark and echoing everywhere. Fans stood on the Metropolitan level, in upper reaches of the 500’s on the Promenade, in the Left Field Landing, on the Pepsi Porch. The family in front of us brought their small child in hat and custom jersey, coaxing him to watch the field. Groups of friends came to watch the game, and instead of gallivanting all over the park to try craft beers, they were running out at the half inning and making it back in time. People were paying attention. People were on the edge of their seats. (None of this explains the continued presence of the wave, and if I see that Citi Field ‘DO THE WAVE’ graphic one more time I am likely to march over to the AV booth and hold up a sign saying QUIT IT ALREADY. Especially the wave when the game is tied in the 8th inning and the winning run is at bat.)

On Tuesday, after they won, the staircases echoed like the ramps used to at Shea. LET’S GO METS and WILMER FLORES, still the King of New York City, and LET’S GO DODGERS, who were playing the Nationals that night. There were faded player number shirts everywhere, and jerseys taken out and dusted off (I wore my own lamented REYES 7 for Jose’s first trip back with his new team), salt-stained hats adorning businessmen in suits, businessmen clearly there to watch the game and not to shmooze Bob in Accounting or that new client. The 7 train vibrated with happy energy.

Baseball is back in Flushing. No matter what else happens the rest of this season, I’ll be glad that we got to feel just a sliver of what it could be like.

HOUSE OF WINS. #mets

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