I attended Game 2 of the National league Division Series last night. A friend picked up some last minute tickets in the picnic area. All my years of going to Shea and I’ve never watched a game from our there before. We could only score single seating, which meant our seats weren’t located anywhere near each other. The security in the picnic area was out of control. Tickets are checked at every step of the way from section to section; from returning from the bathroom. We had e-mail printable tickets, which printed without the section number, which set some of the staff into a tizzy. We had called to verify the section and was told that it wouldn’t be a problem. But this one guy had to call in a “supervisor” even though I had an e-mail with the section number on it in addition to the printed out ticket. I understand it’s the playoff, the ushers and security have a lot going on but, Shea’s security is notoriously boneheaded. The picnic area situation just added to the general perception.
Barring that, the picnic area is a pretty neat place to watch a game from. It’s loud and raucous in its own way and the way the crowd noise from the stands echoes out, it feels eerily removed from the action. Eric and I started the game in our own seats. I was in the last seat in the top row closest to center field. It was a chilly night and the wind was whipping around centerfield, but I had my playoff orange and blue ski cap with me, so I was prepared.
And what a game! Glavine pitched masterfully for six innings. Another friend, Frank, in attendance somewhere in the mezzanine, texted me that “tonight's the night,” which is Frank-speak for a Mets no-hitter. Of course, just a few batters later, the Dodgers secured their first hit.
Endy Chavez was a great catalyst for the offense. He bunted his way on and scored. He singled. He later squandered a bases-loaded opportunity, hitting into a fielder’s choice, but Julio Franco legged out a potential double-play grounder to allow another Mets run. Small ball was the order of the day. Once again Willie’s handling of the bullpen and bench was superb.
Eric made quick friends with other fans in his section and they made room for me on their bleacher so I joined him after a few innings (the requirements I had to meet to secure a spot on the bleacher were 1. I was a Mets fan and 2. I wasn't fat. Two for two). There were some characters out for the game. We had Kowalski, a young man wearing camouflage thermals under his Mets jersey. The back was emblazoned with the name “Kowalski” and sported the number “69.” I couldn’t believe it. But, later, we saw an old guy wearing a “69” jersey. This must be in homage to 1969, right, and not something else (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)? I hope so. But back to Kowalski: he paraded up and down the bleachers waving a towel with a scowl on his face. If the crowd wasn’t standing, he implored us to stand. If we were standing, he was imploring us to do something more. I’m not sure what he expected. He also danced to anything that played. But he saved that special something for when Wagner came out. The scowl went perfectly with “Enter Sandman.”
There was also “Peanuts.” This very gregarious – and drunk – fan was the de facto mayor of our section. He clutched a bag of peanuts in one hand and a beer in the other. He also had a peanut skin on his tooth for the entire game. By the 8th inning a loving chant of “peanuts, peanuts” went out in his honor.
Fun fact of the day (from espn.com):
Glavine, who has 290 regular-season wins, defeated Hong-Chih Kuo, who has one victory. Here's a surprise: Not only was that not the largest differential in postseason history, but it wasn't even close. The "record" was set during the 1925 World Series, when Walter Johnson of the Senators (397-257 at that time) defeated Emil Yde of the Pirates (33-12).
Great time, great win, great seats for $30 at the last minute.
Only one more win until the LCS. Let's go Mets!