Kara and I spent the afternoon with friends (Aaron and Jen, and their kids Arthur and Adara; Dave; and James) at the Mets-Phillies game at Citi Field. It was my first-ever time attending a Mets game. I had a ballpark hot dog, shared some french fries with Kara, and enjoyed a couple of cold beers. It was stadium-replica day, so Kara and I each got a miniature Citi Field — one for her office, one for home. She got an orange Mets cap, and I got a black one.
I rooted for the Mets and remained hopeful despite the tragicomic start of the game, in which Mets starting pitcher Oliver Perez gave up six runs and threw 47 pitches before getting pulled — in the top of the first inning. (And there was much rejoicing in the stands.) Hope was rekindled in the bottom of the first when Angel Pagan hit an inside-the-park home run and started a mini-rally.
For the rest of the game the Mets put up a valiant struggle, and they raised my hopes for a final rally in the bottom of the ninth. They began their last at-bat three runs down, 9-6. Then the leadoff batter hit a triple, and two more singles knocked in a run, making it 9-7, and put runners at first and second with nobody out. The crowd was roaring, energy was high, and for a moment I really believed the Mets could pull this one out of the fire and make the comeback I was hoping for.
Then Jeff Francoeur, who had helped kick things into gear for the Mets with a triple back in the first inning, hit a line drive up the middle — directly into the glove of Phillies second baseman Eric Bruntlett, who stepped on second base and tagged a runner to end the game with a stunning unassisted triple play.
I sat there in shock; one second I was cheering a Mets-rally-in-the-making, the next the game was over. As my wife explained to me, it was only in that moment that I truly understood what it meant to be a Mets fan.
Color me educated. … But we’ll get ’em next time!