Thursday, August 31, 2017

Keeping Score

I went to see the Mets and Dodgers on a "Free Shirt Friday" that I assume will be my one trip to Citi Field this year.

I kept score, as I generally do when I go to the ballpark by myself.

If you prefer a verbal description, I can provide that as well.

It was the first start by Yu Darvish since his trade from the Rangers. He fanned 10 in seven innings, striking out the side before leaving the game. Darvish allowed just three singles, by Michael Conforto, starting pitcher Jacob deGrom and Mets' prospect Amed Rosario.

It was the first game at home for Rosario, who signed with the team as an international free agent at 16 and five years later is in the show. He had 19 stolen bases in 94 games with Las Vegas, where he posted a .328/.367/.466 line before being called up on August 1. In his Citi Field debut, he went one-for-three and swiped his first major league stolen base.

DeGrom got his first career stolen base as well but that wasn't his story that night. The only Mets pitcher with double-digit wins (then 12, now 14) threw 31 pitches in the first inning and 81 through three. He struck out eight, including the side in the fourth, but he would only last five innings.

The first pitch of the game from Jacob deGrom to Chris Taylor,
who would go yard eight pitches later.

By then deGrom had given up three runs, two on the long ball, including one by the Dodgers' lead-off batter. The solo shot by Yasiel Puig cleared the original left field wall, "The Great Wall of Flushing." The free shirt that Friday was a deGrom replica jersey, a bit of unintentional irony.

Chase Utley provided more irony. Booed when announced and every time he came to bat, Utley jacked one as fans chanted the name of former Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada. Utley broke Tejada's leg in Game 2 of the 2015 NLDS with a dirty slide that has all but ended the shortstop's career.

Utley's two-run bomb into the right field upper deck named for a carbonated soft drink came off of Josh Smoker, who lasted just a third of an inning. Chasen Bradford allowed the Dodgers' sixth run; a lead-off walk, a double, and a sac' fly got it done.

Not reflected in the scorecard is my early arrival at Citi Field, which gave me a chance to survey what has changed since last year. Gone are the kegerators serving Goose Island Sofie and Matilda. (The ubiquitous Goose IPA remains exactly that for no good reason.)

There is a new carved pastrami sandwich stand and since pastrami is a New York thing—don't tell Montreal—locally brewed beer is poured there. There are now over 30 New York City breweries but the three beers on tap here aren't going to challenge anybody's taste buds.

I bought something from Coney Island Brewery, spending the last five bucks on a gift card given to me by David Bragdon in gratitude for my having given him a standing room ticket to Game 5 of the 2015 World Series. This perhaps closes the book on my regrettable purchase of a partial ticket plan to the 2016 Mets.

In the name of closure, I won't say more about that nightmare except to add one last bit of irony: In the bottom of the third, my former account executive, Antonio Crincoli (not Crinolli as I wrote on my scorecard), stopped by to chat with whomever it was that sold me his seat on StubHub. It was almost like Antonio came to say goodbye.

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