Monday, April 13, 2009

Drifting All The Way Home

People have asked me over the offseason if I thought the Mets could win with Daniel Murphy's defense in left field. My response was that if the Phillies could win with Pat Burrell playing left field, then the Mets could win with Murphy.

Murphy's drop which led to the two unearned Marlin runs had nothing to do with an infielder playing outfield. That had nothing to do with range, ability, nothing lying alongside of the UZR road. That was, plainly and simply, dopey. And we'll just have to accept that along with all of the good things Murphy is going to bring to the table, every once in a while he's going to do that. Hopefully, not all of his blunders are going to be the kind of mistakes that turn Johan Santana gems into Josh Johnson gems.

Now, here's the thing about this 2-1 loss which drops the Mets to 3-3: There's no reason for panic because they dropped two of three to Florida. Sure, you don't want to waste Johan Santana starts, and they haven't wasted many since that June day in '08 when women went crazy and Yankee fans were ... well, Yankee fans. You can, however, start panicking if the Mets lose two out of three to the Padres at home. And before you tell me I'm crazy for even suggesting that scenario against a team that Gary Cohen said would have trouble merely competing during a spring broadcast back on March 19th, remember this: Oliver Perez starts on Wednesday. Jake Peavy starts on Thursday. If the Mets somehow lose Monday's opener, then all those pigeons ready to push that panic button could be let loose by Thursday. Remember, this Padre team is 5-2.

(What it probably all means is that the Mets will lose Monday and win the next two. Logic? What's that?)

Hopefully, logic will hold for at least one game, and the Mets will pull out a win for the first real game ever in the new digs. Even with the two games against the Red Sox, even with me having been to one of them, I still don't know how I'm going to react to seeing a Mets home game that counts played somewhere other than Shea. Every opening day I was ever at was played at Shea. I was there for Craig Swan's two run single in 1980, after skipping school. (There were really only 12,000+ at that one?) I was there for Seaver's return in '83 ... again, after skipping school. Strawberry's dinger off of Pascual Perez in 1988? Yup, skipped school again. The Rockies' debut at Shea? I probably skipped some nutty college class for that too. In fact, I was at every home opener between '87-'93. If I hadn't skipped so much school I probably would have made more of my life.

And I have to admit that I was a little emotional after being at Citi Field for the first time, and having it really hit me that Shea is really gone, reduced to a pile of rubble that shrinks every day as if it was a division lead in September of '07. But the past is the past, and the future is upon us. If you're like me, you'll have to remind yourself every once in a while that progress is good.

My only hope is that the vibe from the stands, the atmosphere that made Shea so unique, the one that Mets fans created will make its way across the parking lot. There was always a certain roar that came from Shea that was so recognizable to me that I could close my eyes, have a random game on, and I knew that the game was being played at Shea. Something was always different from the roar after a strikeout at Shea than the roar after a strikeout anywhere else. That was more fans than building, but the building had a little something to do with it.

Who knows if that roar will return ... we're all still feeling our way through this new park, and you know that at least in the beginning, there will be a lot of people visiting more for new architecture and better food than to watch Luis Castillo butcher a ground ball. So that unique atmosphere might not be all there to start. That's to be expected. Hopefully familiarity and a pennant race will bring that atmosphere, along with some home field advantage, to the new digs. Here's hoping.

Happy housewarming.


Unser said...

Felt bad for Murph. But he should be using TWO HANDS!

Gonna be there tonight. We're going to freeze - were you there for Carter's walk-off in '85? That's how cold it's going to be. Don't understant why this is not a day game . . . or I guess I do understand, but I really don't. Still, this should be a great night.

Where are your seats?

Coop said...

Right on 'Damus - It hit me during the exhibition games that Shea was no more, and I could no longer say "Let's go to Shea today." It's up to us to make new memories at CitiField, which is why I have no emotional attachment to it yet. Just the way it is.

Metstradamus said...

Unser I'm not going to be there unfortunately. I haven't had regular seats in a long time.