Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Let’s Go Mets!

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It was the bottom of the ninth.  The Mets were losing 3-1.  The young player from the Dominican Republic stepped up to the plate, a former star in his own country, now playing in the major leagues in America’s largest city.  He gripped his bat and whispered a little prayer to Jesus.  His team was 25 games out, so there was little external pressure on our young star.  All of the demands came from within.  It was Hispanic Night at Citifield.  Mariachi players strolled through the food court, playing their heartfelt tunes.  Young dancers performed traditional Puerto Rican dances on the field moments before the singing of the Star Spangled Banner, the anthem of his adopted country.  The singer was a Latina herself, a rising star in the Metropolitan Opera.  The sign behind home plate read Los Mets.  The crowd was larger than usual for a last place team, as the Spanish speaking baseball fans of the NY Mets came to pay homage to their team, and to pay respect to all of the baseball greats of Hispanic heritage from Roberto Clemente to Keith Hernandez.

The crowd was on their feet as our Latino baseball star swung his mighty bat in preparation for his showdown with the ace pitcher of the Atlanta Braves.  There was a fire in the pitcher’s eyes.  He was a real southern boy, a redneck, who would sometimes make fun of the “greenbacks” and “burrito boys” who had taken over the major league, wishing a return to a time in baseball when it was dominated by the good ol’ boys.

The count was 3-2.  The tying run was on second, as the player had just stolen second base.  The momentum was with the Mets.  The crowd chanted the player’s name.  It didn’t matter it the Mets fan was from Colombia or Cuba or Mexico.  Tonight was a night for miracles!

And then he struck out.  The Mets lost.  The crowd shrugged it off, as it was pretty much expected by the loyal fans, and everyone left for the subway.

Which proves a point about about people.  We ARE all the same, despite our cultural differences.   Whether a player is English speaking, Spanish speaking, Japanese speaking, white, black, mixed-race, or whoever — whenever he plays with the New York Mets, he sucks.

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Yesterday was my first visit to CitiField, the brand new stadium for the Mets.  It is the last week of regular season play.  I went with my friend Rob.  I had some ribs and two beers.  The Mets were awful.    The park is much more comfortable and sophisticated than Shea Stadium, with many places to hang out and eat.  It just seemed a bit corporate for my taste, and this ballpark could have been anywhere.  It didn’t read New York or the Mets.   Shea Stadium was definitely old and clunky, but it had the cool 1960’s vibe going for it, still there from when the Mets were young.  When the Mets sucked at Shea Stadium, it was endearing.   When they suck at Citifield, it is depressing.

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Rob and I had planned to go to Citifield before the season was over, and this week was our last chance.  He told me he was going to buy the tickets.  A few hours before the game, Rob called me and said that he bought the tickets online at a site called Stubhub, where ticket holders can sell their unused tickets.

“So how much do I owe you for the ticket?” I asked.

“96 cents.”

“What?”

“96 cents.  Each ticket was 96 cents.  The Mets paid millions of dollars on a new stadium and fancy new players, and you can now get a ticket for the game for 96 cents.”

Next year!

21 Comments

  1. This post just proves to me what an absolutely amazing writer you are.

    Like, who else could have written this type of review of a baseball game? You need to publish a book.

    My review would have been like this:
    I went to a baseball game last night, and it was so much fun! My team lost, but it was still so much fun! I drank two beers and had a hot dog and I had so much fun!
    Or something like that.

    LOVE your writing, Neil!

  2. I’ve been a Mets fan since I was 9 — in 1969. I was at Citifield for the McCartney concert. the place did scream “local” at me…as in “Brooklyn Dodgers”. Honestly, with the Jackie Robinson Rotunda and the Ebbets Field facade…though I did like the Kosciusko Bridge replica linking the food court to the rest of the stadium — linking Brooklyn to Queens? I MISS SHEA!!!

  3. I’ve never been to a major league baseball game before. We’re planning on going to see the Cubs next Summer, and they’ll suck and since it’s the Cubs, we’ll still probably have to pay full price to see them.

  4. An excellent read. I agree with Neil, my post would have sounded much like his. Love your daughter singing at the end. What an absolute sweetheart.

  5. Saw you tweet, this is for Rob. Hey Rob, how about a little nudity? At least take off your shirt and/or turn around and show us your @ssets. I prefer butts to baseball *wink *wink.

  6. Gosh Neil the kids are getting so big & boy do they look just like you! 😉

  7. I’m not a ball fan but this was great! My cousin played for a few years (Twins and Blue Jays, mainly) and I regret that I never got out to see him in a game.

  8. I am entirely uninterested in baseball. Were you shitting us about Hispanic night?

  9. Less than a dollar. Stunning.

    And I’ll have you know that I explicitly came to comment on THIS post not the FEET post, because I love the Mets.

  10. Are you sure this post was about baseball?

  11. It’s been bad enough being a Mets fan this season. If we can beat the Washington Nats, we can beat your feet.

  12. You didn’t see the Mets, you saw a ragtag collection of discards and Not Ready For Prime Time players I like to call The ReplaceMets. Opening Day at Citifield hopes rested on six key players: Reyes, Wright, Beltran, Delgado, Santana and Putz. All were injured for long stretches of the season. It may be the best team ever to fill a Disabled List

  13. Cannot reward those feet with a comment so will find something to say here…..

    uummm, so, did they continue the ethnic theme in the concessions? $8 burritos and $10 Coronas? You might find a cheap ticket, but they’ll get you when you’re hungry.

  14. I’m leaving a comment here because (1) I feel sorry for Rob (2) I feel sorry for the Mets and (3) I feel sorry for you. Becuase I, too, know the pain of writing a post that you really like only to see it get about half the comments you wanted or expected.

    So, hi. (Actually really did like this post, by the way.)

  15. Witchypoo — It was Hispanic night!

    Noel — excuses, excuses.

    Always Uncool – Did they win when you saw them?

    BeJewell – thank you for your kindness towards Rob and me.

  16. I’m afraid most people just don’t get excited about baseball anymore. This was a good post though, Neil.

  17. Hey, I love the Mets, even though they have really sucked this year.

  18. AND I’m posting multiple comments just so you know that this post is awesome! The Husband is the world’s biggest Mets fan. He’s rabid about the Mets. We had the “Meet the Mets” song played at our wedding reception when we came out to greet our guests!

  19. Also, I have been to Citi Field. And we hate it. We miss Shea. Yes, the food options may be better, but the seats are more cramped, and they’re long. So if you’re in the middle of a row, you have to step over a couple of dozen people to get to the aisle. Boo!

  20. And Citigroup just pisses me off to no end these days. But I’m glad you saw the Mets play. We split season tickets with 2 other families. Our next game is in October.

  21. By the way, I know I haven’t gotten around to putting that RSS feed on my blog, but I will one of these days…

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