The Bronx Sure Ain’t Burning With Highlander Fever

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Check out last nights Sports Media Watchdogs Podcast where Mike Silva and I talk about my day  at Highlander Stadium, Mike’s bet with Michale Kay, The Giants season preview and a look at the NHL Lockout.

I haven’t had much time to post this weekend as the last holiday of the summer has been a whirlwind between having a big barbeque at my house, the up early to get to Highlander Stadium (more on the in a minute) and now today off to Coney Island to see and root for the Brooklyn Cyclones as they try to get the NY-Penn League Wild Card spot.

Yesterday I was at Highlander Stadium for an event where the NY Highlanders were honoring young men who had achieved the status of Eagle Scout in the past year. So with my son and nephew achieving this we were all invited to the game between the Highlander and Orioles.

All the Scouts were brought on to the field for a pre-game ceremony and they too a group shot that was shown on the giant TV screen in centerfield but no player joined them to take a picture or shake their hands, oh well. We were given seats in the terrace section of left field which is just below the upper deck. Problem with that section is you can’t’ see left field or left/center field, so I missed Mark Reynolds two home runs which made my delayed cheering a bit awkward, oh yeah I was rooting for Buck’s Birds yesterday for sure.

The stadium is massive, so big that to see everything there is from food and stores would take you all game to see. If you sit up in the upper reaches of the stadium and would like to go all the way to the field level where they have a food court, you’re going to miss at least two innings getting down there another inning getting food and another couple of innings getting back upstairs.  Not really worth it.

The seats, especially the bleachers are so far back from the action that even when fans make noise they’re not a factor in making a difference. I’ve heard louder fan noise at Shea/Citi Field after a 2 hour rain delay when maybe 1,500-2,000 fans were still in the park. It could be the weekend crowd in the Bronx is different than the weeknight crowd as the upstate contingent of Highlander fans show up regularly on the weekend for day games (leaving the parking lot it’s funny to see the Major Deegan northbound bumper to bumper and the southbound entrance to the FDR south a breeze) but the stadium was monastery quiet most of the game and for a game that was crucial to the Highlanders it was a bit of a shock to me.

Ok time to watch Collin McHugh take on the Cards for a few innings then head to Coney Island

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Metscellaneous

While the Mets were off yesterday they still made some news albeit bad news that Tim Brydak is suffering from torn capsule in his left shoulder, same injury that Johan Santana and Chris Young suffered, and is done for the season and maybe for good.

A real shame that Brydak has gone down injury and this one is devastating when you factor in his age (38) and he doesn’t have a contract for 2013. I would not count Brydak out from returning to pitching after rehabbing this injury but I doubt he’s come back to the Mets if he did.

If you are in the Tarrytown area today between 12 Noon and 1:30 PM, head over to the Citi Bank branch at 2 South Broadway to meet John Franco and get a handshake, picture and an autograph.

Ike Davis and country music performer Lee Brice will join in a benefit for Solving Kids Cancer at the City Winery on September 9th at 7 PM. City Winery is located at 155 Varick St in Manhattan.  Along with the concert there will be an open bar, raffles and an auction.

The Mets will unveil a new concession tonight at Citi Field, Pat LaFrieda’s Steak Sandwich. The sandwich is made with 100 % Black Angus Filet Mignon, Monterey Jack cheese, caramelized onions, special au jus sauce on a toasted baguette. The only thing this sandwich doesn’t have is power and the abilty to play right field. The sandwich will be sold at the Taste of the City food court on the field level behind centerfield.

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“HEY KEEP IT DOWN, WE’RE TRYING TO ENJOY A QUIET EVENING AT THE BALL PARK ”

For those of you who are still interested, Mets single game tickets go on sale today at 10AM. When you click on the link you’ll see that opening day is still available. It wasn’t long ago that opening day was one of the toughest tickets of the season to obtain. You either had to be a season ticket holder, of a partial plan holder to get a first game ticket and regular price. I remember some seasons paying a premium price on the secondary market to make sure I was in the ball park for the season opener. This year I bought my opening day ticket on a special pre-sale but not to worry if you haven’t purchased yours yet there should be plenty for sale.They’ll be plenty of concourse space to stroll around the ballpark on April 8. Sad.  

Mets management has come up with a very good move in making sections 338 and 339 the Mr. Mets Landing. Ticket for kids under 12 years old are 10 bucks and for adults $20. That’s well worth it. Now if the organization would just understand they are not in a real strong position to have price tiering and how it is an absolute turn off to fans and the fact they really need to stop catering to the fat cats who could care less if the Mets win or lose as long as the Chablis and brie is flowing and price their tickets to a more middle class fan friendly level, it would be better for business. I see all these ads with the catchy slogans but I guess I missed the one that said all tickets 50 % off.

It’s very rare that I link to Phil Muschnick on this site but today(Thanks to Eagle for the link) he had a column that sums up what Citi Field, Highlander Stadium on eventually Madison Square Garden have become, a mall with sporting events going on.

No need to rehash my assessment of Citi Field as a food court with a baseball diamond but all the new stadiums in the area have become just that. There is no home field advantage anymore for any of the NYC teams, they play in gentrified playgrounds where the emphasis is on the cuisine and drink rather than the home run, touchdown or power play goal.

Another must read today is Larry Brooks column on the NY Rangers having no home ice advantage anymore at MSG. You need not be a hockey fan to read this article as it pertains to all the sports teams here in NYC. Back in the late 70’s and through the decade of the 1980’s if you were a visiting hockey team coming into MSG, you were intimidated by who was in stands more than who was on the ice.  I sat in the late lamented Section 432 of the Blue Seats back then and every game night at the Garden was intense. When the Islanders came in the building during the National Anthem all you could here were screams of POTVIN SUCKS and banners were unfurled from the seats in the obstructed section of the Blues proclaiming Mike Bossy’ enjoyment of anal sex. (thanks to Blutto for that correction how could I forget “Bossy takes it up the ass doo dah doo dah”) Today if you yell too loud in MSG you’re looked at as someone strange.

Shea was the same way. Ask the Cubs of 1969, the Astros and Red Sox of 1986. How many games did the Mets play at Shea that were either rain delayed or into extra innings or they were down double digits runs and all you could hear were the die hards screaming LET’S GO METS, LET’S GO METS. How many LET’S GO METS chants have you heard at Citi Field? Not many, Have you ever been to a game at Citi where  Johan  Santana, Big Pelf or Frankie Rodriguez had a two strike count  and two outs and you got up from your seat the clap and encourage that third strike because as fans that’s what we do, and be told to please sit down? I know you’re nodding your head because if it happened to me I know it has happened to you.

The Skill Sets made a deal with the devil catering to those they thought were kind of folks with deep pockets who would pay any price to sit in a suite or club seat at Citi Field but all they got was a pitch fork stuck in their ass.

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IT’S OKAY YOU DIDN’T MISS MUCH

The big debate in our section today at Shea (Section 40 of the Upper Deck) was where was everyone ? It seems it wasn’t just our section asking the question? Don’t get me wrong there were a lot of fans at the game but not 54,000 plus as was reported maybe 45,000 or so which is a healthy number and a sell out at $iti Field but the lack of full house made me look like a idiot. I had my family up and out of the house by 10 AM “Hey, it’s Billy Wagner Bobble Head day  and the game is sold out (so said the Mets web site) and you want to stop to get lunch (SUBWAY on 108 St four sandwiches for the price of one at SUBWAY in the RF food court) and then <HORROR> WE HAVE TO FIND PARKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t know if it’s all those “Take Mass Transit to Shea” ads or just the fact that one day we got to the stadium late and had to park near the tennis center that has me soiling my boxers over parking.

 

Well even with the usual bullshit traffic jam on the Gowanus (my next car will have a fucking rocket launcher on the hood just to take out the assholes who drive allllllllllll the way down to the BQE/Brooklyn Bridge merge and cut in)  and the non-English speaking counterperson in SUBWAY (in the immortal words of the great Sheepshead Bay philosopher Andrew Dice Clay, “If you want to live here, LEARN THE FUCKIN’ LANGUAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!) and the unsyncnized traffic lights, we get to Shea, park the car in the MTA lot across from that Stadium and get our Billy Wagner Bobblehead dolls all by 11:45AM. WHOOP-DEE-DOO After that the afternoon went down hill.

 

Not only did most of ticket holders not show up but neither did the Mets. For a team that should have been primed to put the hammer down on a team they are neck and neck with, the Mets played like it was a late March afternoon in St. Lonesome. The only one who showed up for work was Daniel Murphy who is Dave Magadan with pop. So much for all the “experts” who said the Mets have a weak farm system and no depth as we have seen the last three weeks or so this team does have some players in the system and some are potential stars. So a tip of the Mets cap to Omar Minaya and the much maligned Tony Bernazard for that.

 

Big Pelf was rolling along until the fifth when he suddenly lost command of the strike zone. He got Hanley Ramirez to fly to Chavez in right but then walked “Roids Gonzalez to set up a big inning for the Fish. Cantu grounded out allowing Gonzo to advance to second with two out setting up a decision for Pelf and the Mets. Old School Dean, Dan Warthen came out and it looked like the question would be “pick your poison” Mike Jacobs the lefty or go after Dan Uggla?  Uggla has cooled off since the All Star break so it looked as if Pelf and the Mets decided to pitch around Jacobs and go after Uggla. Jacobs walked and Uggla made the Mets pay with a two run double to the gap in right/center. Big Pelf clearly was pissed off about the what just transpired and took it out on Cody Ross by hitting him square in the back (Ross is an annoying little prick in the Shane Victorino annoying little prick mold so seeing him take one in the back was the Mets Highlight of the Day. Give Big Pelf a Croton watch for that)   and with the pitcher spot to come to bat next inning for the Mets, they   needed Pelf to get out the inning but after walking Jeremy Hermidia that was it for Big Pelf and Eddie Kunz came in and gave up a walk before K’ing Josh Johnson to end the inning.  While most of the game the fans eyes were fixated on the sky as we all watched the weather reports this morning about the end of the world rain that was coming (it didn’t rain until the 9th inning by the way thank you local meteorologists YOU SUCK!!!) it seemed the Mets were wishing for a big gully washer to end their miserable day.

 

Two things that made me smile at Shea toady besides a great parking space:

 

While filling out my scorecard, the Shea PA system played “Everyday is like Sunday “ by Morrissey  and then Jane Jarvis took down Number 24 on the Shea Countdown off the outfield wall.

 

The saddest thing I experienced at Shea today:

 

I was the only person in my section who not only knew who Jane Jarvis was but actually stood and applauded her. My kids were embarrassed (not as much as my son was when we met Jerry Remy in Hyannis as my son called me a “fan-girl” not even a fan-boy but a girl as he said I went way over the top in talking the Rem-Dog ) then when I tried to explain to them how we would clap to the Mexican Hat Dance when Lady Jane played the Thomas Organ between innings they all wanted to crawl under their seats. Nasty little kids! 

 

Back to work for me tomorrow after two weeks off and I am dreading the amount of work that will be on my desk. If I post anything tomorrow it will be in the PM or I’ll be in Central Booking for shredding government documents to lessen my work load.  

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Tickets

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