Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Heart Versus Head

Lately I've been noticing in what's known as "#MetsTwitter" a lot of unhappy Mets fans. Some people even going to the point of saying that they're going to go watch something else and try to sell of their upcoming tickets so they don't have to go to games in person. Now, that's not the Mets fan community as a whole. It's probably only a very small (but sometimes very vocal) sample. But night after night, it seems like most of the same people are back for more, saying the same things when the Mets lose. I started thinking about this from a different perspective.

The heart versus the head. That's actually paraphrased from a line I remember from the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory ("Where is fancy bred, in the heart or in the head?"; which out that's a line from William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice). It's an internal struggle that a lot of people are facing right now (I think I'm there too).

In our collective heads, we know that this Mets season is going nowhere, this team sucks, the Wilpons need to sell, and many other bad things (I've even been surprised at some of the people who sound fed up with the Mets these days). Logic should dictate that we all just walk away from the Mets and either give up being baseball fans or go find another team to fall hard for. I'm sure a few have.

But I think deep down in our hearts, I don't think many of us can really walk away. I liken being in love with this team to the way a man falls in love with a woman or vice versa (or however it works for you). In a sense, we all are in love with the New York Mets. We each fell in love at different points in our lives and at different times in the team's history. But we've all fallen hard and we can't get up. So we keep coming back game after game and year after year only to have our hearts ripped out and stomped on. It's kind of toxic.

Should we abandon ship, like logic (head) would seem to dictate, or are we all just that much in love (heart) with this ball club that we just can't give it up? It's like that girl/guy that you're just so head-over-heels in love with even though it makes no sense that you should be together or even though there are obstacles in the way, but you just can't help yourself but be in love.

Even if ratings are down and attendance is down, it still seems like the diehards like myself and a lot of the people I know in "#MetsTwitter" are still there. We keep watching and we keep coming back for more. Maybe we need to take a timeout from this relationship, but we always seem to come back.

Why? Are we all crazy Mets fans in love with the club?

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Concert Worth 50 Cents

The Mets, as part of their 2nd year summer post-game concert series, recently had rapper 50 Cent perform after a Saturday late afternoon game. I was in attendance for the game and the show, with a friend who wanted to see the show (she's a hardcore Mets fan, so she was an ideal customer for the day). Let me preface this all by saying that I have absolutely zero interest in rap. Never had, and never will. I've also led a life, by choice, that hasn't involved any drugs or large quantities of alcohol. I never had an interest in it or a taste for it. I never associated with those crowds when I was in school. Let's say that I was there to observe what was going on since I had no interest in the concert and was really only there for my friend. I should also note that neither my friend nor I took part in any of the activities that I mention below (aside from her enjoying the show, which I think she did).

The game on Saturday might have been a low point for the 2014 Mets, nearly getting no-hit (and they probably deserved it). Even if the Mets had thrown a no hitter on Saturday, the day would have marked a clear low point at Citi Field (a ballpark which I despise, but we'll leave that out). Now don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking the rap-loving crowd. That's your choice in music, but not mine. We're all entitled to those choices. But the type of crowd that Citi Field attracted on Saturday night isn't what the Mets should be aiming least not for an event that's basically part of a Mets game.

If the Mets want to have a concert at the ballpark as a way to generate additional revenue, well, more power to them. They have a few more this season. All different varieties of performers throughout the season. Saturday night, it seemed to work. About 39,000 fans instead of what might have been between 22,000 and 30,000 (based on recent weekday attendance and a large Father's Day crowd). But the mixing of the two crowds and the general behavior of this concert crowd wasn' I'm trying to think of another way to put it.

The baseball-only crowd probably started heading out in the 8th when the Mets were still getting 1-hit by the Padres (who have never had a no-hitter), and the concert-only crowd was starting to arrive around that same time. I'm not suggesting that the two crowds physically clashed in the Rotunda. I could definitely see the concert crowd moving into my area (section 516) as the game was ending. I am really going to try to stay away from making generalizations about the fans who came to the concert. I'm only going to comment on what I saw (and what I smelled).

I saw many people entering with cans of beer. I saw many puffs of smoke. And I could smell them more than I could see them. Beer aside (I heard that alcohol sales continued later than normal or restarted after the game...not entirely sure, but I don't think that many cans of beer were illegal in the ballpark), there were various levels of illegal smoking going on. And nothing being done to crack down on it (I wasn't going to be "that guy" to call people out). I'm not saying the smoking bothered me. It may have bothered some people. I don't know. It wasn't like being in a bar years ago when you couldn't breathe without being in a cloud of cigarette smoke. But it did bother me that there was no stadium security visible to keep an eye on things.

It did bother me that someone a few rows back, either drunk, high, and/or clumsy, fell down over a couple rows of seats only to have his fall broken by a guy in the row behind us and a few seats over. There was no reason why that guy, or someone else, couldn't have fallen onto me and/or my friend. I think everyone was okay. Maybe the influence which they were all under kept them out of pain (a luxury my friend and I didn't have if it had been us breaking that guy's fall). And nothing from security.

Even when we left (at least 30 minutes later) to move closer to the ballpark exit, I don't remember seeing any security in the Promenade concourse in that area behind home plate. Downstairs on the field level concourse, people seemed to be more well behaved. At least in terms of breaking smoking laws. I honestly don't know if it was just a better group down there, or if there were security guards keeping an eye on things (and it was pretty crowded in there since the OF areas were basically closed off), but I really didn't notice any security.

What I didn't see, and judging by the daylight, it was early in the show, was this fight in the stands.

The camera's view was narrow, but I didn't see security in the video. They can tell you that you can't enter that field level section during a Mets game, but they're nowhere to be found during a fight that takes place during a post-game concert? #CitiFieldFail

Smoking, drugs, somewhat violent fighting. That can't be the image that Citi Field and the Mets want to project. Not all concerts will be like this. Draw your own conclusions.

Quite a few times during the concert, I was thinking that Fred Wilpon has to be out there somewhere thinking "get off my lawn".

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Best Citi Field Memory

It was an innocent Friday night. I was driving home from work, and I remember one of the intersections that I was at coming off the highway while listening to the pregame show. They were talking about Josh Thole coming back from his stint on the DL for that night's game. I can't tell you what I had for dinner, or how much of the game I watched before hitting the couch and working to clear space on my DVR. But at some point in the evening, I was done with reruns of Family Ties that I had recorded for the evening and switched back to the Mets back. It was the 7th inning, before Mike Baxter's suicidal catch in LF.

I could feel the energy coming through the television set. This was something different. I got onto twitter to try to understand things that had happened earlier in the game. At some point a bit later, I hit "record" on my DVR, recording whatever the DVR box had saved in memory of the program (a moving target over the course of a couple hours that the channel had been on SNY) to save whatever I could of this. I've done that once or twice with DVRs and VCRs in my years as a Mets fan (starting in 1987), but usually that proved to be a jinx. It must have been around the 8th inning that I started that because the recording starts during the commercial at the 7th inning stretch (the buffer holds about the last 15 minutes). And I kept recording, extending past the end of the scheduled program and recording the scheduled post game and extending it beyond. And somewhere in between was the final out. I have much much more than what the DVD has.

When the final out happened, I wanted to listen to both Howie and Gary (both voices of the Mets) call the final out at the same time. It has sound reasoning, even if there's no real way to execute it well. In some ways, I didn't need to hear them, and in others, mixed together, I couldn't.

I remember that I couldn't breathe normally after it happened (even to the point that I had to hang up the phone on my dad who called almost right away). I also remember coming on here and writing down some immediate thoughts. And I wrote a few posts here in the following days.

That was 2 years ago tonight.

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