Observations From Opening Day at Citi Field

Observations from opening day at Citi Field:

I’ve been going to Mets games for 48 years, I was 6 years old in 1964 when I went to see Bob Gibson beat the Mets  on May 9 th, and as excited as I was back then I was just as excited yesterday to be at Citi Field for opening day.

Outside the ball park before the game there was a great positive energy that non-Mets fans just do not understand. I stood near the SNY broadcast area where Bobby Ojeda, Chris Carlin and the iconic Ralph Kiner conducted the pre-game show. There is a segment of younger generation Mets fans who really don’t appreciate Kiner and what he means to charter member Mets fans like me. Ralph, Bob Murphy and Lindsey Nelson were a constant summer time companion on TV and radio. Nelson left in 1978 and that was shocking, but we still had Ralph and Murph. Murph left in 2003 and that was sad but through it all Ralph Kiner remained, albeit on a limited basis but Ralph always knew when to show up when you needed that boost of Mets elixir because when you’re a middle aged Mets fan the sight and sound of Ralph Kiner brings back memories of a simpler and great time of your life.

Lots and lots of CARTER 8 jersey’s and t-shirts on display yesterday along with signs and banners praising Carter and mourning the loss of Gary Carter. The Mets held a wonderful pre-game ceremony starting with the players, coaches and manager all wearing their warm up jerseys with CARTER 8 on the back and having Carter’ jersey hanging  up in the dugout.  It was also touching to see Darryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, Bobby Ojeda and Mookie Wilson catch the first pitch from Carter’s wife and children along with the unveiling of the KID 8 patch on the outfield wall and video of Carters Mets career that would make even the most cynical Mets fan dab their eyes.

Seems the only people who are obsessed by the Mets attendance are the Mets Media Haters and Highlander fans.  The Mets Media Haters harp on this due to their lack of talent and originality, I mean how much talent does it take to answer a telephone for five hours a day while reading a newspaper and sucking down soda after soda or sit at a laptop staring lovingly at your Derek Jeter gift baskets while writing what a great GM Pee Wee Cashman is because he is so brilliant in having a $200 mil payroll to cover up his fuck ups. The Highlander fan knows that the first time the Mets show any success the Highlander reign of attention in this city will be over.

Citi Field was jammed packed yesterday, the line at the Shake Shack was a couple a hundred deep, the fans lined the Shea Bridge soaking up the sunshine which could explain for some of the empty seats you’ve seen. The crowd responded well to the player introductions, sure some folks felt it was a good time to boo Mike Pelfrey and Jason Bay but for most part the Mets faithful was happy to see their beloved team back in action.

I didn’t see any of the usual Highlander fan jerk offs who come to Citi Field wearing their Jeter jerseys and caps which is encouraging.

The Mets have made an upgrade on the main scoreboard to where it’s  setup like Gameday on MLB.com a virtual scorecard showing not only what the player has done in previous at bats but also showing you the location of balls put in play in those AB’s. The pitchers line as well as pitch count, pitch selection and pitch count are there as well as both lineups, the player at bat’s season stats and career numbers as well.

I have never bitched and moaned about the prices at the concession stands but $6.80 for a Nathans Hot Dog is ridiculous. Compare that to $11.50 for a turkey with mozzarella and gravy on a semolina hero at Mama’s of Corona, why would you go for the hot dog?

Nothing better than watching Johan Santana work. Frist two innings he had a bit of a command issue, which is to be expected as I’m sure his adrenaline was flowing like Niagara Falls but it was the 5th inning that really sent the message as to what a competitor he is and why Santana is one the best starting pitchers in baseball. He wanted badly to get 5 innings in today as his pitch count was limited to 80-85 so he knew this was his last frame of the day. Getting Freddy Freeman out on strikes to start the inning was big because Santana killer Matt Diaz doubled to left and you could see the finish line of this start was near.

After getting Jason Heyward to fly out to Bay, all Santana needed was one more out but he struggled against Tyler Pastornicky and Tommy Hanson walking both of them to load the bases for leadoff hitter Michael Bourn.  This was the at bat of the game. Santana fell behind Bourn 2-0 giving the crowd of Mets fans an uneasy feeling since it was September of 2010 when we last witnessed Santana pitch we forgot how much heart this man has on the mound. He got Bourn to hit a comebacker to him and with what adrenaline was left nearly threw the ball over Ike Davis head but Ike caught it stepped on first inning over with no Braves crossing home plate. Welcome back Johan.

Andres Torres pulled up lame in the 7th on Pastornick’s triple and while I hate to see anyone get hurt, I hope Torres takes all the time he needs to get that calf 100 % so we can get a good look at Kirk Nieuwenhuis as the everyday center fielder. Hopefully when Torres comes back it will be as the 4th outfielder,

Daniel Murphy 2 for 4 yup #ImWith28

 

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OH WHAT A NIGHT…………….

Boy, did we ever need that? In what has become one of the worst season’s on and off the field in the history of the NY Mets, last night had to prove to the Skill Sets that, yes we have a history and an outstanding one at that.

I was 11 years old (same as Gary Cohen) when the Mets became World Champions. You see all the negativism and anger from this current Mets fans base? Well now picture the complete opposite of that and you have the feel for what it was like around here in 1969.

Think of this for the first time in the history of newspapers the NY Daily News ran a COLOR front page just for the Mets. The news also sold buttons with GO METS on them and every Sunday had portraits of Mets players as inserts in the paper. Channel 9 the TV home of the Mets showed just about every game and all the games were on radio (WJRZ 970 AM) and Lindsey Nelson, Bob Murphy and Ralph Kiner were the guys we brought into our homes for every game.

The Mets were not just the talk of NY but of the whole country they were truly America’s team. This was an organization that was looked at as loveable losers until the Quiet Man took over and put an end to that kind of thinking. It was Gil Hodges who set the tone for the club. As Mets fans we all know of the love and devotion that Tom Seaver had for Hodges, not an appearance goes by when The Franchise doesn’t invoke the name of Hodges his stories. But the most told story about Hodges and his team always is about him taking out Cleon Jones during a game against the Astros on July 30 1969 for lack of hustle.

During his time on the SNY broadcast, Jones told that the only Hodges and he knew what really happened that day. Jones went on to say how Hodges didn’t yell or scream or get in his face he just told Jones that we can’t play like this if were going to win  and Jones realized right there that is wasn’t business as usual for the Mets. Hodges meant what he said in spring training that the loser mentality stops here and now and Jones knew after getting lifted from that game that the team was destined to win.

Some observation from last night’s ceremony:

I love how Eddie Yost came out and was still giving signs, and leave it to Howie Rose to remember that Lindsey Nelson would always say “and Eddie Yost, the sign man is coaching at third base…….”

Wayne Garret and Gary Gentry must have found the fountain of youth, both guys look like they could still play.

You know you’re an old time Mets fan, when you not only can recognize Duffy Dyer but your happy as hell to see him.

Here is the legacy of Yogi Berra, he is the only man other than the Pope who could get a standing ovation in both Highlander Stadium and $iti Field.

I loved how the music of 1969 was intertwined with the introduction of the players but I wish SNY would have left the cameras on the players instead of showing videos of them in their playing day. It’s called capture the moment fellas’

The biggest ovations of the night were for Bob Murphy’s widow and for Ralph Kiner and rightfully so.

I don’t I have ever seen Jerry Grote look so happy as he did last night. I wish he was with the Mets in some capacity as that is what the organization misses an Grote like mentality. I still can see him throwing back a ball to the pitcher at about 95 mph when he was pissed off at him for either crossing him up or not hitting his spot and non of the pitchers ever challenging him.

I’m glad Gary Cohen mentioned Ken Boswell not being there and not being acknowledged on the field. It seems Boswell had a falling out with the organization an declined the invitation to come. This is where the Skill Sets are absolutely clue less. With their track history, the Skill Sets are probably at fault here and should have made amends with Boswell to get him last nights ceremony. Boswell too should not be so cranky as to snub this reunion as I’m sure he feels hurt that the Mets treated him wrong (join the club Kenny) but he may regret it for a long time not being at $iti Field last night.

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, Tom Seaver is THE FRANCHISE!!!!

There may be no more underrated sports performer in this town than Jerry Koosman. The chant back then was “We can’t loose with Seaver and Kooz”

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