You know, I hadn’t been to a game besides Opening Day, but I went to see Toronto, something I have done their other three times to New York. Since the Mets haven’t lost to them in Flushing, I hadn’t seen them lose in 1997, 1999, and 2001. (So much for a regulated interleague schedule, MLB.)
Because there was rain on the way down and rain in the forecast, my friends decided not to go when I was halfway down, so I met them for dinner on the Connecticut border, figuring I’d go by myself once the rain delay ended. Only there was no rain delay. It went off as scheduled and then after watching rapid-fire marksman Mark Buehrle be perfect game through three innings on TV, I took off for Flushing. Noah Syndergaard wasn’t perfect, but he was close. I feel sorry for ump Marty Foster, who got clocked by a foul ball, but the extended delay helped me get to my seat by the time Lucas Duda doubled for the first hit of the game in the fifth inning. It would not be his last double.
One thing I enjoy about being there is seeing the positioning, which you don’t get when watching on TV with all the closeups and fan shots. My friends could not make it, but they bought good seats, in the same area where the announcers are stationed, so you could really see how everything set up on the field. The way positioning is done in the game today, being able to see the field is more important than ever. I am older and do not go to the 20-plus games I went to with these same buddies in the 1980s and 1990s, but I still feel like I miss something watching at home instead of being in the park. It ain’t football. Thank God.
Monday’s game had everything, including my usual fit about the over-managing of Terry Collins. Another four-out save? Really? The only day the guy hasn’t pitched in the last four was his first day as a father. No surprise that ex-Mets farmhand Jose Bautista (remember how the Mets just had to get Kris Benson in 2004?) went deep twice. Or that Toronto was poised to set a franchise record with its 12th straight win, but Duda beat the shift with a ball that would have been an easy pop up if the outfield was aligned normally and then Wilmer Flores banged the winning single up the middle. The untold story, though, is Ruben Tejada. Yes, he broke the tie in the sixth with a double, but with the Mets trailing in the 11th he drew a walk. On a(nother) lousy at bat by Michael Cuddyer, Tejada stopped between first and second—the first savvy baseball play I’ve seen him make in two years—which slowed down Toronto just enough so they couldn’t turn a game-ending double play. His play was forgotten—as was the bad managing—and the praises sung were for Mrs. Flintstone.