Truth be told, I don't consider myself a fan of the New York Mets. I haven't been to Shea Stadium since 2001, haven't seen them play since 2002. It's all a part of a growing disintrest in baseball, where I don't care day in and day out. There are lots of reasons: rising prices, a really stupid "tiers" ticketing system, inept play, management with heads up their butts, etc. Yet, I've never switched alligences. If I root for one team, it's the Mets. Okay...and whoever beats up the Yankees in October.
Today was the Mets' first game, in Cincinnati against the Reds. It was also the debut of Pedro Martinez, whom the Mets signed as a free agents for more money than you can dare dream of having. With a makeshift scorecard, I was determined to last the whole game. I was planning on doing a running diary, but that fell through. Maybe next week, for the home opener.
Martinez was rocked in the first inning, giving up a three-run shot from Adam Dunn. With the Reds up 3-1, I started to sigh. But a funny thing happened. Pedro bore down. He struck out Joe Randa to end the first. Struck out the side in the second. Gave up a walk before striking out the side in the third. Struck out two in the fourth. Not that I was aware of it...I just looked down and saw a lot of Ks. Three more strikeouts in the fifth. He left after six innings with three hits and twelve strikeouts.
While this is going on, the Mets got even in the third. Carlos Beltran, another gun the team hired, got a two-run homer in the third to tie the game. Kazuo Matsui singled in Jose Reyes to put the Mets on top, 4-3. I groaned when Matusi got picked off, but Mike Piazza singled and Cliff Floyd launched one in right field. The Reds got one run back off Manny Aybar in the seventh, but the Mets seemed to be cruising to a win.
Ninth inning. Here comes Braden Looper, the Mets' supposed closer. All he has to do is get the next three guys out, and then we can cele-
(Kearnes singles to right)
Not a problem. Sure, Dunn's an "all-or-nothing" guy...but I would think Looper would have this guy figur-
(Dunn homers to center, tied game)
Fuck. There goes Pedro's win. Okay...easy, now. Looper gets the next three out, and the Mets can send it into ex-
(Randa homers, Reds win)
You have GOT to be kidding me. Dammit, if we wanted this to happen, we would've held on to Armando Benetiz. I didn't even jot down the homer...I just sighed and throw the scorecard away.
I know it's just one game. But you'd want to get things started right away. Also, the Yankees opened their season last night, smacking the Red Sox and trying to make people forget about the colossal choke job in the ALCS last year. Worse, Filip Bondy did a Bleacher Creature column...that's where he slums it with some of the more unwashed Yankees fans. The kind of fans that make it really hard to be a Mets fan. I know there are nice Yankees fans out there...and those guys are the worst of the lot. Hell, they even forgot that the Mets took the season series in '04 (okay, they lost two of three in the Bronx, but still).
It's just one game. I shouldn't look that hard into it. Other than Looper's little performance, the Mets did good today. All they need is a deeper bullpen and a few other tweaks, and they can make September matter again.