By Joyce Mandelkern
I don't get it. I can no longer say that we are in a slump. At this point, I'm beginning to think that we are no longer a good baseball team playing poorly. I'm honestly beginning to think that maybe we're just not that good. In any case, I'm here to tell you what it has been like to be at Shea during our 6th consecutive series loss.
Monday night Shea seemed almost empty. Don't listen to the numbers they give you, that is for paid attendance. It felt so empty in fact, that we remarked to each other that it felt like the early 80's when we used to be able to take the boys in their strollers and park them in the aisle because no one minded. Of course that was because no one was there. Prior to the game starting, the loudspeaker blared, "I'm Still Standing" which I found rather amusing. I love a team with a sense of humor. And boy, does this team need one now. There was also a video with an upbeat song called "Mister Delgado." We had never heard that before and found it odd given his recent struggles. Then we noticed Carlos changed the way he wore his socks. He had a terrific game and then I realized that all along it had been his socks!!! So simple - of course--the socks!!! It was nice having the stadium somewhat empty. I had a clear line of vision to the batter's box and the pitcher's mound. If you've never been to Shea, it is often difficult to see in front of you when people are sitting there because of the way the rows are aligned. I'm on field level behind first base and I still have a difficult time unless I'm leaning forward in my seat. There was no one for a few rows in front of me so it was clear viewing. We could stretch out to all sides and given how tight the seats are at Shea this was a real bonus. Other than the fact that we were assaulted with the "vote for Paul LoDuca" or else threat literally every two minutes it was a great night. By the way, I voted 25 times online in case the voting police are reading this post. My Mets were back! We were hitting, we were pitching. Problems over! We left happily to "Taking Care of Business" and the PA announcer saying, "here is your happy recap". I really miss Murph. Our June Swoon reminds me so much of him.
I don't want to talk about Tuesday night.
I had penciled us in for a sure win last night based on the pitching matchup. Shows you what I know. Still not many people there. Perez did not pitch badly. Obviously the walks killed him, but he kept us in the game. We were getting hits, but not runs. Shea was subdued. Normally, when a pitcher has 2 strikes on a pitcher, everyone at Shea stands and applauds to motivate the pitcher for the strikeout. For the most part, that has not been happening, and if it has, it has been fairly quiet. Things were going along fairly well until Torii Hunter's homerun. Honestly, I think everyone in the stadium knew at that point that the game was over. I know how ridiculous it sounds to say that a one run lead is insurmountable, but that was the feeling that this Met team was giving us. Joe Smith didn't help and when Willie brought in Schoeneweis, all hell broke loose. I do believe that was the first time I ever heard a crowd boo a relief pitcher BEFORE he threw a pitch. As soon as he stepped on the mound and was introduced, the crowd was all over him. You know what happened next so there is no point in going over it. I got a text from my son in California when they brought Schoeneweis in, saying "oh no" (ok, I'm cleaning it up for print) and Pete and I were not happy either. For me, it is like waving the white flag and saying ok, game over - we give up. I decided to spend the rest of the game scoreboard watching and rooting for Boston and Cleveland and wondering if we could back into the playoffs if neither the Mets, the Braves, or the Phillies win another game all season long. I will tell you that when we are losing I do not feeling like singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" or "Sweet Caroline" and I cannot understand why there are people around me who are still so happy that they can sing and dance. We though for a moment in the 8th that maybe we could have a come from behind victory and then we remembered that that was last year when we used to do that, not this year. And therein the problem lies.
Well, at least we can't lose today. Pete and I will be back out there tomorrow night and hopefully there will be a happy recap. I don't know about you guys, but this is not fun anymore.