Saturday, September 27, 2014


On Closing Out the Year

Citi Field
Not Shea Stadium, 2014
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Houston Astros vs. New York Metropolitans
Not Shea Stadium
Major League Baseball, Interleague
Queens, NY
7:10 PM

Outside of the Game:
It was the day before the end of the season, and I had just worked 60 hours the last week to get a couple of work proposals out the door before an 8 PM Friday deadline. I don't even recall coming home Friday night and going to sleep, but I do remember waking on Saturday and thinking that I might as well go to a ballgame while I could.

I had spent all but a handful of days this summer traveling to games, so I figured I might as well put a period at the end of the season by seeing a game on the next-to-last day of the season. Sunday was the Fall Arts Festival in Hoboken, as well as Jeter's last game ever, so it seemed like a no-brainer to go. I went online and found that StubHub prices were pretty much the same as the face value, so I grabbed a ticket in the Caesar's bronze level by third base and went about my morning. After running some chores, I felt completely run-down--I don't know if it was just the previous week's workload, or if I was fighting off the cold that was going around the office, so I spent most of the afternoon in bed watching TV and napping before heading out to the park at about 3:45 PM.

I got the PATH station just in time to see the 33rd Street train doors close, a veritable sign from heaven on the omen for the trip. I sat sullenly for the fifteen minutes for the next train to come, and then had an uneventful trip to the NYC subway, where I caught an orange as the doors were closing, and then waiting ten more minutes for a 7 going out to Queens.

The 7 was packed when it came, but the good news was that it was running express due to construction, perhaps the first time in history that subway construction has worked for me. Eventually, all and sundry were disgorged at Willet's Point and, after retrieving my ticket from a kiosk, I got on line to get in.

The way home was less crowded than normal, as a good deal of the crowd was staying for the post-game concert by the auto-tuned teeny-bopper person. I got on a diamond 7 in the front car, secured a seat, and finished proving out my scorecard for most of the trip.

About halfway home, I finished up, and some college-aged guys across the train asked if I kept score at all my games, and this, of course, led to the whole discussion about things. We talked for most the trip back about my ramblings and whatnot, while their bored girlfriends sat by and listened.

I got back to Hoboken without much incident and quickly retreated out of the Saturday mayhem to my apartment.

The Stadium & Fans:
Home to center, Citi Field
Home plate to center field, Not Shea Stadium

Nothing much had changed in the park from earlier in the year. In fact, if something did change, I didn't notice it. Usually the major stuff happen in the off-season, so it is no real surprise that nothing had changed since April.

Twilight Professor
Twilight Professor

It was Cheer Night, so there was a positively huge amount of people in sparkly spandex all over the place, and there was a big to-do on the field before the game. Mostly, the big news of the night was the post-game concert by some teeny-bopper I had never heard of. I've got to imagine that most of the sparse crowd was either there for or related to Cheer Day, or for the concert afterwards. But Metropolitans fans being what they are, those that weren't there for either of those two reasons helped cheer the team on to victory, for what little it was worth at this stage in the season.

At the Game with Oogie:
Advances in scoring

As I got to the game just as the gates were opening, I came to remember why I always get there super-early for games if I want to go to Shake Shack. I got into the stadium maybe ten minutes after the gates opened, and, rushing back to center field, the line was already out of the roped area. I mean, seriously. So I went next door and got a Blue Smoke Pulled Pork sandwich, and I realize I'm knee-deep in first-world problems at this point. But still.

Second choice

This game was to be part of the Mets' Post-Game Concert Series, and the artist in question was something called an "Austin Mahone." I had never heard of the individual in question, but it was quite obvious that all in the tweener girls in the crowd that night had, and if it was at all in question, all the signs they had proclaiming that they were--and I swear I'm not making this up--"Mahonies" would dispel any lingering notions you might have had. The family behind me was filled with such individuals, who alternately spent the entire game talking about how boring it was and screeching in such a way that ended in a register only heard by dogs and the baying demons of Hell whenever Mr. Mahone was mentioned, or, god help us all, put on one of the scoreboards.

Some jackass
What's an Austin Mahone?

This entirety did little to improve my experience during the game, though the concert set-up did give me the time to finish off my scorecard before retreating to the subway before the auto-tuned little bastard could start "singing."

The Game:
First pitch, Astros vs. Metropolitans
First pitch, Astros vs. Metropolitans

On the face of it, this penultimate game of the season had nothing on the line, especially with Metropolitans' rookie phenom pitcher Jacob deGrom scratched from the start due to a season-ending injury. Houston's one bright spot, outside of escaping the cellar thanks to the unprecedented collapse of the Texas Rangers, was their second baseman was the leader in the AL batting race. The Metropolitans, despite another guaranteed losing season, were only two games under .500 and in an actual race for second place in the pitiful NL East with the similarly sad Atlanta Braves. So there's that.

The seemingly blah game started in decidedly blah fashion. Both sides went in order in the first. The Astros scratched out a two-out double in the second, but nothing else. The Mets also got on with two outs, thanks to an error by the third baseman. A walk made it second and third with two outs, and a single to deep short with the runners in motion gave the third base coach the crazy idea to send the runner from second home, where he was gunned down by a mile to end the threat and the inning. Good ole Mets.

In the third, Houston got a one-out double this time before stranding him, and the Mets went in order. In the fourth, the Astros got a one-out single, and the runner stole second. A two-out walk made it second and third, a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, and a walk loaded the bases. But the pitcher bore down for a strikeout to end the half. The Mets went in order.

The Astros started the top of the fifth with a strikeout and then a one-out single, but a hard grounder to third resulted in an around-the-horn double-play to the end the half. The Mets went in order. Something of note finally went on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth. A one-out Houston single was followed by a deep single to left that brought the run in and chased the Mets' starter. Another single made it first and third with one out, but two quick outs ended the half-inning at 1-0, Astros. Perhaps feeling their oats, the Mets managed a one-out double that was stranded at third after a fielder's choice moved him over. Exhausted by this offensive outburst, both sides went in order in the seventh and eighth.

The Astros kept the streak going by going in order in the ninth. Facing the Astros closer, the Metropolitans continued the streak to ten straight outs thanks to a fly to center. But then a feast of miracles began. Eric Young, Jr. hit a triple to deep left, requiring only a pop to get him in to tie. However, Daniel Murphy hit a tepid fly to left that was not enough to do the job, and left the Mets down to their final out. But Lucas "Camptown Ladies Sing This Song" Duda strode to the plate and hit a screaming liner off the foul pole in right for a two-run walkoff home run, ending the game with another Mets victory, 2-1.

Mets win
Man of the hour

Next season. Just you wait. You gotta believe.

The Scorecard:
Astros vs. Metropolitans, 09-27-14. Metropolitans win,2-1.Astros vs. Metropolitans, 09-27-14. Metropolitans win,2-1.
Astros vs. Metropolitans, 09/27/14. Metropolitans win,2-1.

I went with the BBWAA Official Scorebook again with quad-colored scoring. I couldn't muster the enthusiasm to do balls and strikes, however. It was also my first official run with the fielding cards that I printed out on notecards. For tallying game-long stats on put-outs, assists, and errors, I always just did hand-drawn charts with innings on one side and positions on the others, on both sides, one for each team. I put an "X" for a putout, and "O" for an assist, and an "E" for errors. Taking it to the next level, I made a similar grid in Excel and then printed them out double-sided onto regular index cards.

Since I was using the BBWAA, I had to record fielding stats, so I used the cards for the first time this night, and I was able to keep up each inning with the stats pretty easily. So I'll call than a success.

Otherwise, outside of large number of dropped third strikes and a 6-2 caught stealing put-out in the bottom of the second, there was nothing of note scoring-wise in this game at all.

The Accommodations:
I got home to find my jackass neighbors had another yard party. They had left, but they managed to leave on all the lights right outside my bedroom window. Huzzah.

2014 Stand-Alone Trip