Citi Field had its first regular season game last night as the Mets took on San Diego Padres. The Mets christened their new ballyard in style, as they brought back Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza, who closed Shea Stadium last September. They both entered from center field and walked to the mound, where Seaver fired a perfect strike to Piazza waiting at home plate.
Mike Pelfrey threw the first pitch to Jody Gerut for a strike as the flashbulbs went off. But on third pitch, Gerut lined a fastball into the right field seats to give the Padres an early lead.
And I saw an interview in today's Daily News with the guy who got the home run ball, a guy from New Jersey named Wayne Westerfield. As he was clinging to the ball for dear life (as it's a piece of history and the gentleman realized that), he explained that there were actually people around him telling him to throw the ball back. Holy mackerel, are those fans actually that stupid? It was the first hit, the first run, the first home run, in Citi Field history, and these imbeciles actually wanted that man to toss it back. Why, so he could get about 5 seconds of applause? I have always hated that "tradition" that Cubs fans started in Wrigley Field years ago. (I have always said that if I ever get a ball at a ballpark I will guard it with my life. If it's an opposition homer at any ballpark, you'd have to kill me to get it away from me.)
Anyway, it was the start of a long night in the Citi Field opener for the Mets, as the Padres added more runs and eventually took a 5-2 lead by the fifth inning. A cat ran on the field during the game as well (a tabby, not a black one, as the Cubs weren't the opposition). David Wright hit a three-run shot to tie it at 5, but a Pedro Feliciano balk brought in the go-ahead run for the Padres in the next inning (the batter singled anyway so it didn't matter much), and they went on to a 6-5 win.
It was a night for the Mets and their fans, but now Jody Gerut will forever be linked with Citi Field, and a night he can tell his grandkids about someday.