The booing began before Friday night's game, when "Ugly Betty" was taping a scene for their season finale. An actor from the show was filmed throwing out the first pitch as a blonde woman looked on. He had trouble reaching the plate, so the scene was filmed several times, each time to louder boos.
I was not sure if people were getting sick of hearing the PA system announce "It's fashion on the field!" at the start of each take or if they were hoping the guy could get it over the plate so he could be added to the rotation.
My second visit to Citi Field began an hour earlier, when my friend David and I arrived in hopes of beating the food lines at Taste of the City. Shake Shack was crowded, but not as insane as it would get before too long. Blue Smoke, though, had almost no line, so we picked up some of those great ribs and finished them off before going over to El Verano Taqueria, where there was also no line.
We tried to get all of our eating out of the way before the game to beat the lines and to avoid having to make the trip back and forth from our seats in the upper level behind third base. But the trip to our seats turned out to be a lot shorter than anticipated.
We were sitting in the front row of the 400 section. Last year, I had equivalent seats in the front row of the upper deck at Shea, but these seats were a lot closer to the field. Foul balls did not quite reach us, but they did come a lot closer. And Mr. Met shot a T-shirt over the section next to us.
During my trip to the new Yankee Stadium earlier in the week, walking the ramp from level to level seemed to take forever. But at Citi, a couple of staircases got you from the 300 level to the 400 level much more quickly.
If the phrase were not taken, I would suggest calling Citi Field the "Friendly Confines," especially compared to the new Yankee Stadium. Citi is big where it counts, in the wide concourses, but otherwise does offer fans a cozy place to watch a ballgame.
But not all fans harbored such warm feelings. The person sitting next to me was a season-ticket holder who asked me to call him "Joe Fan." Joe was unhappy with his seats because he said they had an obstructed view and had to lean forward for a clear view of the field.
I had heard that the front row of the promenade had obstructed views after I got the tickets. But my friend and I did not have to lean forward, though we probably sat a little straighter than usual. For me at least, these tickets were fine, especially since my seven-pack seats in the front row of the upper deck last year required you to lean forward so that the railings would not block the pitcher or catcher. And the front row of the Promenade level at Citi is a lot closer to the field than the front row of the upper deck was at Shea.
Based on my experience tonight with this particular seat, I would not avoid sitting in the front row of the 400 level for an individual game. But different people may have different experiences in this row.
I felt like I had to turn a lot more than usual to see the big scoreboard in right field, and then I realized it was because the seats were angled toward home plate. This might just be something one needs to get used to. I do like the idea of angling the seats that way. But people who want a better view of the scoreboard might want to sit on the third-base side.
Joe Fan's unhappiness with his seats was exacerbated by his unhappiness with the Mets, in particular their inability to hit with runners in scoring position. His mood did not improve when the Mets proceeded to go 2 for 18 with runners in scoring position.
Coincidentally, Gary Sheffield was 2 for 18 coming into the game. Sheffield went 1 for 3 to hike his average to .143. Fernando Tatis went 2 for 3 and both players had walks. I thought it was a bad idea to play both Sheffield and Tatis in the outfield at the same time, but it worked out tonight. I would like to point out, though, that Daniel Murphy and Ryan Church both got hits as pinch hitters and both have hit well enough to deserve to stay in the lineup with no more than one other player playing against lefty pitchers.
Joe Fan was not alone in his aggravation over the Mets' inability to hit in the clutch. When David Wright struck out with a man on third and one out in the third inning, the ballpark was filled with boos.
Wright's performance lately deserves some criticism, but boos? Loud boos? In April? I generally don't like to boo anyone on the home team. I couldn't even bring myself to boo Sheffield. The only thing I booed all night was "Sweet Caroline."
Good times may never seem so good, but the Mets did end their losing streak and Santana pitched a great game. Now if it could just rain for the next four days until he can pitch again.