Friday, October 20, 2006

Meet the Mets

I have always had a soft spot for the Mets, despite the fact this may clash a little with my Red Sox Nation membership (yes, I am a Red Sox fan, commence abuse now). The reasons for enjoying the Mets are clouded in mystery, though one driver might be my hatred of the Yankees (itself a primary cause of my allegiance to Boston). This year I had the pleasure of having both Carlos Beltran and David Wright on my inaugural fantasy baseball team, and they did me proud all season.

Last Sunday night I dragged my hungover carcass to my favourite bar in DC for a couple of drinks with my mate All-Star, se we could catch the late football games. As is my wont when I am under the weather I got myself warmed up with a few Bloody Marys. All-Star bailed before the end of the games,but I stuck it out, smoothly changing up to Yuengling and enjoying the finishes to the 4 o'clock games.

As the fourth quarters were coming to a close I realised there was an extremely high chance that I would be sticking around to catch at least the start of game 4 of the NLCS. The bar which I frequent is nominally a New Yorker bar (and no, I don't make any secret of my Red Soxness), so I figured at least a few Mets fans would show up to keep me company.

As game time rolled-around, so did a few law student Mets Fans, and together we cheered on the mediocre Oliver Perez as he managed to take the win despite being hit for 5 earned runs off his 5 2/3 innings. I rolled out of the bar well after midnight having had a great time, though I was not looking forward to the next day at work. I watched the next two games of the series at home, but when game 7 rolled around, and Ollie Perez was taking the mound again, my course was clear. To the bar!

I made sure I got there a little early, as the place would no doubt be packed cheek-to-jowl and I wanted a seat at the bar. I managed to snaffle a good position, though I had to wait out the highly annoying (and loud) IT nerds braying on my left. As game time fast approached people started streaming in, Mets fans predominating.

The game itself was extremely intense. At regular intervals people started slow-clapping or leading "Let's Go Mets" chants. Perez pitched much better than any Mets fan would have dared to hope, though Suppan started to knuckle down from the third inning on.

Endy Chavez's insane catch in the 6th inning is one of the reasons that I love to watch big games in bars. At the crack of the bat we all collectively groaned, as the ball looked for all the world like it was going to safely clear the wall. But Endy Chavez would not be denied, and as he went up the wall you could hear a pin drop... until he came down with the ball. The place almost literally exploded, high fives exchanged, man hugs abounding. Those moments just aren't the same when you're watching at home.

But unfortunately for the Mets they couldn't take it home. Yadier Molina, of all people, doing the damage against Heilman, despite the fact that the collective opinion was that Heilman should have stayed in (no one wanted to see Billy Wagner at that point). It was a sad ending to a great night's baseball.

And now? I guess I'll be pulling for Detroit. I have a few friends there (my old company used to be headquarterd there, which means I went to the Motor City a little too often for my liking). And I just really dislike the Cardinals.

But to all you Mets fans out there (Alan included), take heart. The moment that forever crystallized my love of the Red Sox was when Aaron fucking Boone smashed a home run off Wakefield over the left field fence in the 2003 ALCS... and you might remember what happened the next year.

There is always hope.

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