After I got the Red Sox tickets and saw James Gandolfini in the West Village, I headed out to Shea Stadium for my first regular season game of the year between the Mets and Chicago Cubs.
It was a good pitching matchup, John Maine vs. Carlos Zambrano, so I thought we'd see a low scoring game. When I got off the subway at Shea, I saw the progress they are making in the building of the new Mets ballpark, Citi Field. A number of big towers have gone up and much of the outer structure is beginning to appear. It should be a beautiful park. (During the game on the scoreboard they showed what it should look like upon completion. The inside reminds me of Camden Yards a bit.)
I attended the game with my aunt and two friends, and we had fabulous seats, in short right field, about a dozen rows off the field. There was a good crowd on hand, and I saw a good number of Cubs fans in attendance. (I guess they are also like Red Sox fans in that they will follow the team everywhere.)
From the start of the game it was clear that Maine just didn't have it. He was undefeated going into the game, but allowed two runs in the first and another in the second (and it could have been worse). Zambrano was clearly better, and allowed the Mets only two hits in the first three innings (although the Mets had a runner thrown out at home).
Maine left after five innings with the score 3-1 (the Mets run coming on a Shawn Green home run). Then the roof caved in. Scott Schoewenweis loaded the bases and Aramis Ramirez hit a bomb into the seats in the leftfield mezzanine section to make it 7-1. They added two more runs to make it 9-1, sending a few mets fans to the exits.
As all this was going on, I was watching the scoreboard at the Red Sox game. The first score I saw was 1-1, then it became 4-1 Detroit, and stayed that way for most of the night. Then as the Mets game was winding down, I saw a "7" go up for Detroit in the eighth. Oh well...
The Cubs added another run and my aunt and friends departed after the seventh. By then, the Mets fans were chanting, "Yankees Suck" to entertain themselves. After Julio Franco grounded into a DP to end the eighth, I decided to call it a night. Eight innings of rotten baseball, plus seeing the Red Sox losing in the ninth, was enough for me.
It was a pleasure being out at the old ballyard in Queens on a nice night with my aunt and friends. Unfortunately, the results weren't what I wanted, but I was reminded of a line that Ray Liotta said in Goodfellas: "Everyone takes a beating sometimes."
But let's hope it doesn't happen too often.