Squawker Lisa invited me to the Met game tonight. Even offered to pay for the tickets.
"What inspired this generosity?" I wondered.
"The tickets are under a dollar," she told me, a little too smugly.
So it has come to this. In the first year of a brand-new ballpark, I got to see a game for 97 cents (plus StubHub fees). And we even got free hot dogs!
My first-ever game at Citi Field was the second exhibition game with the Red Sox. I thought I was getting a deal by paying only $23 a ticket for seats that would go for at least $45 in the regular season.
When tickets went on sale for April and May, I quickly snapped up $45 seats for a game against the lowly Nationals, figuring that lower-priced tickets would soon be hard to come by.
There is a new series coming to ABC called "FlashForward," in which everyone on Earth gets a glimpse of what things will be like about six months in the future. I can only imagine how I would have felt at that exhibition game, when I was so excited to be in the new ballpark and so looking forward to the new season, if I had gotten a glimpse of a September featuring a team out of contention and tickets under a dollar.
The 97-cent seats were not even the cheapest ones available. There was a pair going for 45 cents each, but the sellers' comment on the Stubhub offer was "Mets suck." Though I can understand the frustration of what was probably a diehard Met fan stuck with a bunch of extra tickets from a fifteen-game plan, I did not want to see Lisa the Yankee fan buying "Mets suck" tickets.
Besides, the 97-centers were actually where I wanted to sit, behind third base and not more than halfway up the 500 level. They were in section 525, row 7, seats 13 and 14.
Ordinarily, seats 13 and 14 are not ideal, because you are stuck in the middle of a long row.
That was not a problem tonight.
There were three other people sitting in our row.
It was a clear night with the temperature around 70. Yet Citi Field did not look more than a quarter full, if that.
Yes, there was a lot of competition for the local sports dollar tonight, with the Yankees also in town and Derek Jeter going for the all-time Yankee hit record. The 7 train was packed on the way out to Willets Point, but most of the people getting off went in the other direction, toward the U.S. Open.
But if a 97-cent ticket made me think I had flashed backward to 1979, well, so did the empty stands and a listless team. David Wright and Carlos Beltran were back in the lineup and it did not seem to make a difference.
Part of the problem for us is that we got stuck on the Shake Shack line and did not get to our seats until the bottom of the first, when the Mets were already losing, 4-0. In other words, the game was over.
It was a fitting bookend to the exhibition game, when we were also indulging in the Citi Field food options and did not get to our seats until the bottom of the first, when the game was already out of hand. In that game, the Red Sox scored six runs off Oliver Perez in the top of the first. But it didn't matter because it was only an exhibition, and surely Ollie would get it together in time for the regular season.
Speaking of food, one of the highlights of the evening came right at the beginning, when we received our hot dog coupons. I was handed five of them. Lisa only got one. That's what you get for wearing a gaudy tie-dyed Yankee shirt to Citi Field!
We also got a chance to meet fellow blogger Ed Leyro, who was sitting a few sections away. Ordinarily, it might be a challenge to find someone in a different section, much less stop by and sit next to them. But it was no problem tonight.
The announced attendance for the game was 37,312. But if anyone from Mets management was at the game, they would have seen how even a much smaller ballpark could look as empty as Shea did in those seasons when the Mets were going nowhere. Free hot dogs are no substitute for a winning team.
On a completely different note, I heard Lance Broadway's entrance music for the first time - "Nights on Broadway" by the Bee Gees. Maybe he didn't pick the music out himself - it sounds more like another dubious Shea/Citi Field music choice. They also played "Let's Go" by the Cars late in the game, presumably to try to inspire the crowd, though there is nothing inspirational about that song beyond the title.
But what relief pitcher enters to a refrain that blames him for what is about to happen?
Blamin' it all
On the nights on Broadway.
Me, I'll stick to blaming Squawker Lisa for the fact that I have now been to six losing Met games in a row. Including that exhibition game, the Mets are 0-5 when Lisa is at Citi Field. And that does not include the other Met game Lisa and I went to, the one at Yankee Stadium that was the worst one of all - the Castillo dropped popup game.
Lisa also wrote about seeing the Mets for 97 cents on The Faster Times.