It’s A Rebuilding Decade, but I Don’t Care!
Last week the Mets made their West Coast road trip. I know all the Easterners hate staying up late to watching the games, but this is the one time each season I can watch the games at home, without sneaking glimpses while at the office.
It’s great to attend any baseball game, but it’s much more fun when it’s a team you’ve followed for years. For the first time this season, I watched the Mets play in person. Finally, I was able to watch Matt Harvey pitch.
Dodger Stadium is a great place to take in a game, but not very welcoming to fans of the opposing team. Even against the non-threatening Mets.
I met a trio of Mets fans who put it ever so bluntly – “it’s a rebuilding DECADE!”
I sat next to a father/son duo who had gone to 5 consecutive games (in consecutive days!) – true diehards. The father told me he hadn’t seen Dodger Stadium that full and rowdy since the 70s. He felt like he was finally seeing another championship team. (He and I were keeping score and comparing techniques.)
Both father and son were eager for John Buck’s (Mets catcher) wife to go into labor so that he would take paternity leave and Mets AAA star Travis d’Arnaud would come up. d’Arnaud is an LA native and a debut in your hometown seems perfect. Unfortunately, Buck’s wife was 2+ weeks past her due date and d’Arnaud didn’t make it to LA.
Baby Buck arrived early Saturday morning in NYC and d’Arnaud made his major league debut Saturday evening in San Diego against the Padres – which I was in attendance for.
I was seated just behind home plate and had a spectacular view of the field. Two seats to my right was an older gentleman named Jim — Travis d’Arnaud’s grandfather. Jim and his sister drove to SD from Las Vegas (where they live and also where the Mets AAA team plays) on Friday night to watch Travis play on Saturday. It was a true pleasure to listen to Jim tell stories about Travis growing up, and it was evident just how proud he was of his grandson. Jim’s sister, like me, was keeping score — we bonded over it when I saw them again on Sunday.
In addition to seeing d’Arnaud’s long awaited debut, I unfortunately witnessed Jenrry Mejia’s season ending injury.
I returned to the park on Sunday quite early and was lucky enough to snag an autograph from pitcher Dillon Gee, and a autograph and picture with catcher Anthony Recker (back in AAA as of Tuesday with d’Arnaud staying). Both men were wonderfully nice and spent time chatting and signing autographs with everyone who asked. Pitcher Pedro Feliciano joked with the young children, jogging away from each one who asked for an autograph before circling back to sign with a big smile on his face.
Even coaches Tim Teufel and Tom Goodwin hung out in the stands before the game!
It is easy to forget that these players and coaches are people too. People with friends to catch up with and families to raise. I’ve always been intimidated by baseball players (more on that story in a future post), but watching their heartfelt interactions with fans reminds me that they are more than just the game.
If you’ve never been to PETCO Park, I highly suggest you go. It’s extremely affordable, modern, and welcoming to fans of all teams! I met many Padres fans, all who welcomed me to town and recommended different restaurants and activities. There were tons of Mets fans there too – some who even came in from NY and NJ.
After the game on Sunday I stood with some other Mets fans by the team buses and waited for autographs. Gary Cohen, Howie Rose, and Keith Hernandez walked out of the stadium together in a very “Charlie’s Angels”-esque way. Keith signed autographs – a bit of a dream come true. Kevin Burkhardt (SNY field reporter) waved to me after I classily yelled “KEVIN! You are my homeboy!” whilst wearing the shirt in the photo above with Recker. He waved to me — I think I got a bit lightheaded. Best of all? Jay Horwitz (PR) and Sandy Alderson waving to all the fans.
I might not get to see the Mets as often as I’d like, but 3 times in one week isn’t terrible, right?
Posted on August 22, 2013, in 2013, Mets, MLB and tagged Anthony Recker, Dodger Stadium, Gary Cohen, Howie Rose, Jay Horwitz, Jenrry Mejia, John Buck, Keith Hernandez, Kevin Burkhardt, Matt Harvey, Pedro Feliciano, PETCO Park, Sandy Alderson, Tim Teufel, Tom Goodwin, Travis d'Arnaud. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.