Thanks to a good friend, I had great seats for Wednesday's game against the Angels. Even though he's now an Angel fan, he DID grow up across the street from Shea Stadium many years ago, so Steve, you have to admit that whatever team won, so did you!
A great game, which has been recapped in various outlets; however, some of the highlights, from my point of view:
~David Wright, with 54 RBI's, hasn't been the clutch hitter we've expected him to be. In fact, a fellow resident of the San Fernando Valley, and Shea Nation reader, Howard Bender, sat right behind me (what a small world) and opined that "Wright has not only the quietest 54 RBI's ever, but is just not getting us clutch hits" and asked me what's happened to the guy on my shirt (I was wearing a Wright t-shirt)! Howard's right- and then David came up big in the 9th, with the game-tying single that knocked in a run off of a K-Rod curveball (only the second RBI off of one of his curves the entire season) and we had the chance to win it in the 10th. If Wright can start being the clutch hitter he normally is, maybe the days of leaving 2 or 3 runners stranded every other inning or so will come to an end!
~Nice to be on-hand for Jerry Manuel's first win as a Met. The team looked very loose in batting practice, which is important during the next 90+ games as they attempt to keep their focus. In fact, Pedro Martinez, at the top of the dugout stairs during most of the game, signed various balls and caps for fans during breaks in the game, and was laughing and pumping up team members all game long. One of the things that most media outlets didn't catch during the "Reyes incident" from the day before was Pedro's involvement in its resolution. Pedro could be seen talking to Manuel immediately after the incident, and then disappeared into the clubhouse. When he came out again, he walked over to Manuel, patted him on the chest, they exchanged words and smiles, and then Reyes could be seen moments later, talking with Manuel as the two seemed to mend fences much quicker then would have happened in the past. A good sign, for sure...
~Apparently Johan Santana noticed that Billy Wagner was dropping his arm lower then he used to, pointed it out to Wagner, and then he gained 3 miles on his heater. Nice job, Johan! Glad that you and Pedro can help as "junior pitching coaches"...
~The fans in Anaheim are classy, and it's fun to see them get so excited by the "rally monkey," especially the kids. They also have a promotion wherein a youngster is chosen to steal third base- literally! The contestant has 30 seconds to run from left field, pull up the base, then run back with it, and if they do, they get to keep the base. A lot of fun for the contestant, great to see and a very novel promotion.
~Prior to Easley's homer to win the game, a chant of "let's go mets" could be heard reverberating through the stadium, and it was great to hear!
~I sat one section over from the TV booth, and got a shout out to Gary Cohen and Ron Darling - they were happy to see a large group of Mets fans in the stands next to them.
~There were a LOT of Mets fans in Anaheim Wednesday night!
~The thought of seeing Oliver Perez lose 2 games in a little over a week would have been too much for me to bare (I saw him in SD, too) - and thankfully, Manuel left him in long enough to get his act together, something Willie rarely did, and he gave the bullpen a lift by lasting 6 innings for a change. If he becomes the pitcher he was last season, we could have the best rotation in the game! Watching him, however, reminds you of how frustrating it must be for a pitching coach to work with him, as he has multiple arm slots, lines up on the mound on different spots, and throws multiple pitches- you need to be a mathemitician to keep up with him!
~Enjoy the photos (thanks, Frank) - nice to be able to take some during a victory, for a change!