Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"When they start the game, they don't yell, 'Work ball.' They say, 'Play ball.'"~Willie Stargell

A Photo Essay of the Mets 2008 Home Opener
Part Two
Shea is packed up this afternoon. Our seats are on the aisle in the upper-deck, way down the third base line. The sun is shining on my face and the beers are in commemorative plastic bottles. So far, so good.

And, Citi Field is really right there in left. Taunting all of us at Shea. You've got to wonder how that structure is going to affect balls hit to left field. Is the wind effectively blocked by the team's new digs? Does this mean it will be easy to hit one over that wall? I feel like that used to be the hardest spot to get one out. Or will be there be some new, unnatural wind current pushing balls even farther back into the field of play? You've also go to wonder where I'll be watching the home opener this time next season. Citi Field doesn't rise nearly as tall as Shea does and you know that more seats are going to be downstairs rather than in the upper deck. I hope the last home opener at Shea doesn't turn out to be my last home opener too. 

After a few pitches by Oliver Perez we're right back into the thick of it. The season is on. The red, white and blue bunting already seems out of place. The subway hope is already replaced by upper-deck expectation. And Ryan Howard and the division rival Phillies are already in town. Howard is a big dude. Still, I'm not terrified while he is in the batter's box. He strikes out too much for me to be too scared of him.  

On the other hand, Pat "the Bat" Burrell does scare me. He rakes against the Mets. He just kills us. Ollie and Schneider seem to be aware of this too as they meet on the mound before taking on The Bat with two on and two out in the top of the first. It's totally awesome that we're having mound meetings during inning No. 1 of the home opener. Totally. Awesome.

Well, whatever those two talked about out there it worked because Perez struck Burrell out looking. "Oll-lly! Oll-lly!"

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