Monday, August 11, 2008

Mr. Trend Meets the Mets

Saturday, I had a chance to catch the Mets/Marlins game at Shea Stadium, with the Mets winning 8-6 (and Carlos Delgado hitting what must have been the hardest-hit homer I've ever seen). The game was absolutely great for a number of reasons.

First, I was completely surprised with the Mets fans. They were the best fans I've ever seen anywhere, including my beloved Jacobs Field. Granted, I haven't been all over all the stadiums, but I've seen games in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, Colorado, and now Shea, and the Mets fans just blew all other fans away. In the bottom of the first inning they were already going nuts, cheering for the third (strike)out as though it were the 9th inning. The intensity and joy remained throughout much of the game, yet remaining classy throughout. When the starter, a young guy just brought up from Triple-A for his first major league start, left after 4 and 2/3 an inning with a 4-4 tie (despite being handed a 4-0 lead in the first inning), he still got a standing ovation for his effort (and his 6 strikeouts were impressive, while the four runs were just yielded on 2 bad pitches that turned into 2-run home runs). And when Daniel Murphy, who was 9-18 since he was called up to the majors, hit a homer to make it a 7-4 game, he got a curtain call. I was just impressed - I've never seen such a fevered pitch of cheering while remaining 100% classy. I don't know if it was just the crowd that night, or the fact that it's a pennant race (though I doubt it - the Mets were 1 game out of first, yes, but it was only August 9th, and it really didn't feel like a playoff-race atmosphere), but it was just great.

Shea was also far better than I expected for a cookie-cutter stadium. You had a great view of the Manhattan skyline from the concession deck of the stadium. The nosebleed seats still had a great view. And the "Home Run" Big Apple that rises with every Mets homer is 100% cheesy but 100% fun. I also loved that they still play "Meet the Mets" 46 years after the Mets were formed, and it's great to see Mr. Met, one of the few non-amorphous, non-offensive mascots out there.

The food was maybe the one disappointment. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't anything amazing either. In this regard, though, I'd expected to be disappointed - Jacobs Field consistently ranks among the best ballparks in terms of food, so I had very low expectations. In fact, my expectations were so low that I actually found the food to be better than I'd hoped, but still far from anything remotely resembling "really good".

Anyhow, the night was a blast. I'd already preferred the Mets over the Yankees on principle, but given how great the crowd, the stadium, and even the game were, I'm a full-fledged Mets fan in this city (though the Cleveland Indians are and always will be my #1 passion/curse).