My first visit to Shea Stadium in over a decade turned out to be a roller-coaster night...even before the game started. Here's a summary of the evening's ups and downs:
Up: Free Snacks! Upon approaching the stadium grounds, I was greeted by youngsters handing out free bags of Cheez Doodles and Honey BBQ Chips. When such landmark events occur, history has shown that the world will divide into two groups: those offering free snacks, and those accepting free snacks. Tonight was no exception. By pocketing a bag of Cheez Doodles, I align myself with the latter.
Down: Very oddly, at least three people seemed to think either I and/or my friends were celebrities or something. Before the game a young couple appeared to be taking pictures of us from two different angles. Then a bit later I caught this strange old guy snapping a shot of us from straight ahead. WTF?? Has SoSG really gotten that big? I am sort of weirded out.
Up: Juan Pierre opens the game by walking on four pitches and promptly stealing second. Later in that inning, amazingly, Loney, Martin, and Ethier get three consecutive 2-out RISP RBI hits. Huh!?! This cannot be happening. Maybe I am a celebrity. I look around for Ashton Kutcher. Nothing. Dodgers 3, Mets 0.
Down: I came to the stadium thinking Clayton Kershaw was pitching. Turns out it was Nik Kershaw. Since I'd never seen either Nik nor Clayton live, I figure six in one, half a dozen in the other. In anycase, Kershaw gives back 2 of the runs in the bottom of the 1st. In the 3rd, he allows the tying run to score on a Beltran sac fly. Disgusted, I take a quick bathroom break. End of 3rd: Dodgers 3, Mets 3.
Up: Just as I'm emerging from my restroom break, I see Russell Martin deposit a 3-1 John Maine offering into the left field bleachers! Not that I'm overly superstitious, but just in case, I try to spend the remainder of the game emerging from the restroom. Not easy. Middle of 4th: Dodgers 4, Mets 3
Down: Kershaw is pulled in the bottom of the 4th after allowing an RBI fielder's choice to Reyes. In keeping with the evening's Chips theme, the Dodgers bring in CHP. End of 3rd: Dodgers 4, Mets 4.
Up: Turns out CHP = Can't Hit Park. He retires 8 of the first 9 guys he faces. Unfortunately, over that span, Mets pitchers retire 8 of the 9 Dodgers they face. Top of 7th: Dodgers 4, Mets 4.
Down: CHP finally falters. To me, a 1-out 2-on single constitutes a big inning, so I can and will now say I was there in attendance the day Fernando Tatis had his big inning against Chan Ho Park. If anyone interprets that another way, that's their issue. End of 7th: Dodgers 4, Mets 5.
Up: We all know what happened in the bottom of the 8th. With Mets pitcher Pedro Feliciano pitching, Juan Pierre hits one of his signature dribbler to short off Mets reliever Pedro Feliciano. Well, with Pedro's brother Jose apparently umping 1st, Pierre is called safe even though, even from my not-particularly-good seats, I could see he was out. Now I know: New Yorkers know how to boo. This opened the floodgates to a Dodger barrage that included six consecutive hits. Middle of 8th: Dodgers 9, Mets 5.
And that's how it ended, with the Dodgers winning 9-5. So, in spite of a sophmore slump (outing-wise) from Kershaw, there was plenty to feel good about: Solid long relief from CHP, nice rebound performances from Broxton and Saito; clutch hitting from all over the lineup; a 4-for-4 day from Martin; and a bad call going our way. We even closed to within 2.5 games of Arizona after their loss. So, all in all it was a good day at the ballpark and a nice farewell-to-Shea experience (the new Citi Field is looking pretty sweet). All that and a bag of chips!