(retrieve Jeff Wilpon’s dry cleaning?)
I witnessed a couple of knuckleheads trying to unsuccessfully start a wave at Citi Field last Monday afternoon, a curious bit of distraction given the home team was clinging to a narrow lead at the time, prior to the visiting Marlins klutzing it up big time. Disillusionment amongst a large percent of Mets fans is to be expected given the successive collapses of 2007 and 2008, along with a thoroughly brutal inaugural campaign in the new ballpark. But it felt awfully early for the paying customers to look so thoroughly bored, and it’s the nature of said apathy that Greg Prince of Faith & Fear In Flushing questioned yesterday, suggesting “the oldest tradition in the Met books, that of proactively urging the players on, seems to be dangerously close to extinct.”
Don™t mistake this for Mets fans being polite. We™re not polite, as Ollie Perez could tell you every time he went to ball two, but we™re not properly engaged either. We™re not being the Mets fans we™ve always been. We™re not generating Let™s Go Mets! without a video nudge; we™re not seeking soft spots in the other team™s psyche; we™re not exuding anxiousness over the outcome like nothing else matters for those few minutes when the final score is definitively in doubt. The acoustics at Citi Field are such that I pick up on far more conversations than I care to, and I hear everything being talked about except baseball. It™s a free country, but it™s not a free ticket, so why would you come to a baseball game to be immersed in anything but?
Citi Field has never been a better place to visit, yet those who visit it aren™t living up to the ballpark™s early-season standard-setting. Get up and walk around and chat and do whatever the hell you want, but if you™re in your seats in the ninth inning and your team (as indicated by your garb) is loading the bases and attempting to tie, then how can you not be heart and soul into what™s going on?
Sadly, it was noise of a different sort heard loud and clear over SNY earlier today, when Johan Santana’s first inning meatball recipe to grand-slammer Josh Willingham resulted in the Mets lefty being roundly jeered upon leaving the field. Keep in mind, this was Santana’s second start since returning from surgery, and the talismanic ace has routinely delivered, usually with little run support to show for it. Is the sense of entitlement so high, the level of sophistication amongst The Amazingly Impatient so very low, the likes of Santana are allowed no margin for error? We’re not talking about Gary Matthews Jr. or Mike Jacobs being booed, for fuck’s sake, nor can the abuse of Santana be passed off as dissatisfaction with ownership. If you’re pissed at the Wilpons, stay home. Don’t frequent the faux Hooters they’ve built on the premises. But booing a pitcher who has at times put this team on his back on the basis of one bad inning is nothing short of moronic.