Friday, September 09, 2011

One More Time For the Promenade Seats!

This aint no mistake! This aint not typo! This aint no party, nor is it a disco!

This is The Coop, all Coop, and nothing but The Coop who is making a very special announcement!!

First off, thank you to EVERYONE who came out to send their well-wishes and warm intentions about the next chapter in my life regarding being a blogging fan. Or a fan blogger. However you'd want to call it. Everyone came out to wish me good luck, in any endeavor.

Of course, I didn't stay idle for too long. After all, I retired "the blog" My Summer Family, and not from blogging. Just wanted to make that clear. In a year's time, I am writing now for three Mets websites: Metsmerized Online, Daily Stache and Kiner's Korner. Kiner's Korner also launched the Kult of Mets Personalities podcast that has a nice following with some really great guests in our panel, including former Mets executives, players and coaches, even beat writers and other bloggers. There are also rumors of an all-women's baseball site where I will not only be a contributor, but be a voice of their podcast as well. That will remain to be seen.

In the meantime, what else? Oh, yeah...I took some time off from having my own site to focus on what I wanted to do next. I started this site back in 2007 as a way to keep in touch with fellow fans, meet new people and write about my love affair with the New York Mets. Then I started to get involved with other parts of the blogging world and it got to be too much. I lost my focus. I stopped having fun with it. I wasn't myself.

So I have a soft-launch of my new site...(drum roll, please....)

The name actually came to me when I was describing myself to someone. I am not only a baseball chick, but I am a hockey fan and a football fan. I like talking about those sports and go to and watch enough of those games that I want to speak to that experience. I am a season ticket holder with the Mets, but I also attend several other sporting events that I want to cover that I didn't feel comfortable doing at just a Mets-focused site. This was just the beginning. Now I am evolving not only as a fan but as a writer too. I hope so, for the latter part.

Plus, like I said, I wasn't having fun with it anymore. It became a chore, updating this site. I wanted to make my writing tasks more fun again by including things and stories of my experiences and what I thought of things surrounding them. I feel like I became too censored because I was tired of pissing people off. Well, to hell with that! I was happier when I didn't give a shit. (Yes, I use bad words still)

Being a sports fan has shaped a lot of my personality. Some people don't get it, but those of you who do, I salute you here and at the new site!!

One last time for the Promenade...One last time for the Upper Deck...One last time for the cheap seats. You all ROCK!!!

So gracias, grazie, merci beaucoup, in any language...Thank you to everyone for your support over the last year, I really appreciate it!

Onward and upward!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Roll Call 2010: A Very Special Post

So family, it is time. It is time for the final post of the year, the one you've been waiting for...the roll call! In case this is your first year, I started this in 2007, as a way of giving a shout out to those who make my existence of being a Mets fan special. Sure, the team and the laundry has a way of doing it...but the people around me make it all better to root for the home team.

This year is also unique for a reason. I am making a very special announcement that this particular Roll Call is my final one. Yes, I have decided that after four seasons of blogging, that I am officially hanging up my cleats and this will be my last post on My Summer Family.

When I started this site back in 2007, I had a unique voice. I talked like a truck driver, but could provide a "softer" (if you can believe it) view of baseball and of my team. In some respects, though I am a grown woman, I still view the sport through the eyes of a child. Though my cynicism with being an adult does cloud my vision for some, it has occurred to me recently that my "potty mouth" as some have taken to call it bothers some people. To them I give them a big middle finger.

This in no means reflects my status as a Mets fan. I've been around for a long time, I'm not leaving any time soon. In some respects, though, I feel like blogging as an art form is dying off. Not that they still can't be relevant. But in the vein that any schmoe like you and me can just open a account and start writing and consider themselves a "blogger." I mean, you are, but I had no idea that I would become "credible" when I started something for fun a few years ago (as an example, being one of the featured blogs in the Maple Street Press in 2010 - how'd the heck did that happen??? Or being asked to participate in an Amazin' Tuesday, an accomplishment I will always be proud of).

Once I believed that I wasn't doing much that was compelling, I refused to go out with a whimper and not with a bang instead.

In the meantime, enjoy my final post of the year.

In no particular order I would like to thank the following folks for a good year and great friendship, all stemming from the fact that we root for the same team!

Baseball chicks were in the forefront this year, and we certainly rocked the house.

Thank you to Chap for a memorable drive-by of Port St. Lucie. I hope that not only we won't have the timing constraints next year, but that it won't be blizzard conditions when we take off. "Everybody ON THE PLANE!!!"

To the PAC Lady, who brings baseball (as a Mets fan) and rocking (as a music fan) to a new level. We should all be as devoted as you.

To Julie at Chicago Met Fan, I really wished we could have had that game this year! Here's to hockey...and football...and everything in between.

To Miss Dee Wrighter, for making a baseball chick into a baseball sister.

To Rainiedazze, Carlos Beltran fans pale in comparison to you. (PS I usually reserve these posts to people I've physically met, but we already know our trip is to Arlington next year!)

To Jessica_Teresa, whom I had the opportunity to meet at Telecom-Conglomerate-Name-Here Park back in July, I hope to see you on the Shea Bridge next June!

To kBoTTi, she who laughs last laughs hardest. So I hope you are having a good guffaw over that Biscuits-and-gravy type on that team in Arlington right now. (PS Hockey chicks rock too)

To LadyMets, for making a minor league game fun as all anything and for being the baseball chick (emphasis chick) you are.

I went on many road trips this year. Five road stadiums and I had been to four of them already. I had a partner in crime this year for all of them, but I had the opportunity to meet with Team Doster at CitiField and at PNC Park. Hopefully, I can return the favor at your home next year (Great American Ballpark!).

My counterparts on the west coast: the Sollies! I do love them so. Y'all gotta come out here next here though, ya dig? RAWHIDE!!

The guys from Metszilla, namely Vinny whom I had the opportunity to meet with on the bridge. Love these new sites that keep making the Mets community a rich one.

To Rich S, thanks for the beer you would have bought me, but I'm sure the one we will meet up for in 2011 will be just as tasty!

To John Delcos, whom I always admired from a journalistic standpoint. Keep fighting the good fight and I'm very happy to know ya!

I know I'm forgetting someone. Oh right.

This guy.

If someone had told me that if I started blogging, I would get a husband out of it, I would have told them to get lost.

We met on Facebook in 2009, and became friends. We met face-to-face at CitiField on Build-A-Bear Night in 2009, and our the spring of our relationship's seeds were planted in the winter. I managed to get married without telling many people until a month afterwards. Folks, I am living proof that your dreams can come true. And every day, I have a man who wakes up in the morning just to cherish me. And he's a Mets fan to boot!!

I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank my blog-spirations. I often say if not for my haters, I wouldn't have a site but that's not entirely true. If not for finding some of these folks in as early as 2004, I'd have never had a "forum" voice (meaning: I was once a blog groupie) and therefore, would have not opened my own account four seasons ago.

To Metsgrrl and Faith and Fear in Flushing, I aspire to be like these writers every day. And every day, I fail so miserably at it.

To Mets Today and the brains behind it, Joe Janish. I thank him for always being at the ready when I need a quick stat or need to defend the ghost of Aaron Heilman.

To the Kranepool Society, this is the yin to my yang. Look no further than this site for the Godfather of shooting from the hip. I'd like to think that My Summer Family was the long lost two-headed love child of this site, as we both never gave a flying fuck what others thought of us.

THE Metstradamus, who can always make us laugh, even when there really isn't much to laugh about. Metstradamus makes hate the backup National Pastime.

To Metsblog and Metsmerized Online (where I will still be contributing) for linking to me and taking me seriously when no one else would! Thank you for all the support in the past.

My family over at Brooklyn Met Fan. There's "My Summer Family" and there's the true value of a baseball community that is a family in and of itself. From BMF himself, to Blondie's Jake, Matt the Met Fan, Irish Mike, Joey Brooklyn, Fort Greene Met Fan, El Duderino and countless others, these guys make me so happy to be alive and that I am proud to call them my friends. Hope to see you at the next Jake-a-Palooza!

Some of them have gone...Toasty Joe, Ed in Westchester and You Can't Script Baseball. We really had a great bunch of writers back in the day.

And lastly...has anyone kept in touch with the motley crew over at the old The Metropolitans? This was authored by a fellow named Mike Oliver, and had such loudmouths in there such as Benny Blanco from da Bronx and the old Chuck Norris League. This was really the reason I started blogging and was the first community I found myself involved in. I really modeled my blogging style after this site.

Well, folks, there you have it. This is in no means "Goodbye." The Coop is taking some time off to reinvent herself. In the meantime, please follow My Summer Family's fan page on Facebook where I will still have a presence and be posting some random tidbits and wise-ass remarks intermittently. I will post updates on where to find me and my writing, and on Twitter, where you can certainly see me screaming about the Jets and the Rangers in the offseason. I have a small presence on Tumblr as well, that I am hoping to build up over the course of next months.


Saturday, October 09, 2010

Hot in the Citi

I've been attending live Mets games since 1984, and most importantly, at Shea till we brought the Grande Dame down in 2008. For most Mets fans, myself included, the transition to CitiField wasn't an easy one. It seemed there was a lot missing in the new state-of-the-art stadium we had built for us, but most of all including the Mets' soul (and subsequently, the Mets' fans soul).

Some people couldn't see Shea Stadium go fast enough. In some respects, I agreed because it was old, outdated, the toilets were abominable, the food was ok, and it was saddening to me that I could have a better experience at another team's stadium than at my own. On the other hand, what made Shea "home" was the feelings associated with it. And that to me was the biggest "con" on the CitiField Pros and Cons list, that we tried very hard to get that "noise" back, bring the old feelings we had associated with Shea back home.

It was evident that CitiField was merely a "house," it wasn't yet our home. My friend, Greg Prince, over at Faith and Fear in Flushing did a marvelous job (redundant, as far as the FAFIF guys go) of commemorating the two-year last game at Shea anniversary coinciding with the Last Play at Shea move. Definitely a must-read for those of us who had a particularly hard time to transition to the new digs.

I will say this though. In two seasons played there, CitiField has become my "summer home" for better or for worse. Some of it might be resignation, knowing full well that Shea Stadium will never return (despite what my buddies at The Apple say). In the last two seasons, I have visited eight road stadiums (For those of you keeping track at home: Nationals Park, Petco Park, Angel Stadium, Dodger Stadium, Camden Yards, AT&T Park, Citizens Bank Park, and PNC Park). Some of them where I had a rooting interest in the Mets, some of them not. To a baseball fan second (Mets fan first), there is nothing better than to watch a baseball game for art of it,where you didn't have a care in the outcome, just being able to take in the surroundings. So I tried something different, and perhaps CitiField is a bad example since I do visit there at least 20 times per season, but I wanted to look at it from the superficial view, where I didn't care about the outcome of the game, and truly enjoy myself at being a baseball fan.

CitiField, I have concluded, aint half-bad. I won't go so far as to say it is "home" to me, though I have felt "at home" several times in the season. However, as Greg said a few weeks back, it's no longer not Shea, but someplace in between where we could be comfortable again and find our heart.

Since I have given my readers a view of what it's like at the road stadiums, I realized I was doing a great disservice not reviewing CitiField from an unbiased perspective. While CitiField isn't my favored "modern throwback" stadium (that would be PNC Park to me), I certainly enjoy going there and appreciate some of the "quirks" we have at our new house while compared to other stadiums.

As an example, prior to this season, Camden Yards had been a favored destination of mine, yet I had never seen the Mets play there till 2010. I really like, an example, the 360 degree views that CitiField offers on the field level, and Camden Yards does not offer that. I hadn't realized it yet, but I had taken that aspect for granted at CitiField until I visited Camden this summer.

Another thing is that I LOVE the Shea Bridge area. It's a great place to meet up once people are in the stadium, as opposed to meeting at an offsite place such as McFadden's or by the HR Apple in front of the park. As Dee Wrighter exclaimed on this picture below:

Coop, you OWN that Bridge!

Well, I wish I did, heck I'm not even Mayor of it on Foursquare. But I do appreciate having that luxury of chilling out there during the games. That is not found at say, AT&T Park in San Francisco, where the ushers wouldn't even ALLOW people to walk on their version of the "bridge" (which is just a fancy bridgeway to the food courts in the back of the stadium and a nicer view of the Bay which is it situated). Yet another nicer modern stadium that does not offer unobstructed 360 views.

Lastly, CitiField has nicer fans (if you can believe it, given how many Mets fans dislike each other). I mean, of course I am comparing them to the fanbase that drinks from the douchewater as those inhabitants at Citizens Bank Park. I feel like other fans might have a better experience, especially if they are rooting for a team not named the Yankees nor the Phillies at CitiField.

So this year, CitiField has been in some aspects home but a place that I can now sit back and enjoy the very art of baseball. Since My Summer Family's inception year, I have taken it upon myself to discuss the road stadiums I've visited but I have never given a critique of where the Mets play. If you've ever heard the saying "hitting close to home," well, yeah, that would be why. I feel like I have seen CitiField enough as an observer to be able to speak freely about it.

The Coop for the first season had seats in the Promenade level. I'll be honest. When I bought my first year at CitiField for the full season the seats were less than what I paid at Shea Stadium's last year. Judging from what you guys know about The Coop, though, it was hard to build a community in the Promenade, because of the lack of boxes and I guess the lack of structure that went along with the mini and weekend "plus" plans. However, the sales reps and the Mets did NOT do us right in the first season by offering us "exclusive excelsior" level seats for like 2x's as much as my Mezzanine seats were at Shea. What the heck? Meanwhile, the best they could offer were seats in the Pepsi Porch (I wasn't willing to commit to those for a full season) or the Promenade. I thought it was shitty to do that the season ticket holder and mini plan holders, simply because they were strong-arming us. It was like -- if you don't buy these seats, someone else will. Well, I couldn't justify five-figure seats unfortunately. It was a good thing I didn't.

When the Mets faltered in 2009 and were dropping like flies, all of a sudden, a new stadium's novelty wore off quickly. Whey buy Promenade seats for $10 (which is what I was selling some of them for) when you could buy Delta Sky Club marked down considerably. I thought momentarily of not renewing my plan, when I talked to my sales rep after the Mets announced they would lower prices. The Promenade holders really did not see a difference or one that was enough to justify it.

However, I believe I have found the "value" seats in the stadium, seats you can get the most bang for your buck. They aren't the most expensive seats in the place, but they are not the cheapest nor the worst.

They are in the "outfield reserved," which I guess would be equivalent to bleacher seating in other stadiums. You also get the added bonus of being on the field level, and close to all the cool concessions. One other cool thing they did this year was add Caesar's Club access along with Promenade club access to these seats. I have to say, that for the plan holder who is into resale value, you can't beat these. Plus, we had the best of both worlds: if it was threatening rain, you could bail. If it was sunny, bring your sunscreen but you were able to enjoy your Boys of Summer in the summer sun.

Of course, I am giving you pictures at night, but I'm too lazy to go through my day game pictures right now. You get the idea -- you see a lot of player's hineys, but I can get away with that shit, because I'm a chick. On the flip side, you see a LOT of home run balls -- you are not in foul territory here, babe. Many home run balls were hit in this area this year. I was thinking of trying out a new section, but I think I shall keep these for next year.

Going back to the idea of the Mets' soul, it was hard to find one especially in a ballpark that was determined to be as plain-vanilla-corporate-devoid-of-personality as this one. The Jackie Robinson Rotunda in 2009, great in theory, failed miserably in my eyes because it just seemed like an insincere addition for an otherwise great ballplayer and humanitarian who transcended the sport. CitiField felt too "Dodgery" and nothing felt Mets-like. To me, it also felt incredibly incomplete as a front entrance. You walked in, and were overwhelmed with the crowds, that I truly felt like you couldn't enjoy the history behind it.

Mets fans, many of us including myself anyway, THRIVE on the history of the team. I loved the idea of the JRR, but again, felt like more could have been done with it. Like the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, with the New York National League Baseball history infused in it. Senor Solly even said that it was downright criminal that the San Diego Padres, a team that has only been in existence for 41 years, has a better sense of its own history at Petco Park. I had to agree with that, especially visiting that stadium in 2009.

Now, I have to say that the Mets finally got it right with the Rotunda. Now it feels complete with the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum.

With the Davey, Darryl, Doc and Cashen induction over the summer, I hope the Mets continue the progress with making CitiField FEEL like the Mets, instead of just being "that place where the Mets play." The HOF and Museum made me proud to be a Mets fan. Not that I'm ever not proud, but I was walking around like Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor in Stir Crazy after my first visit.

Now to the good fluffy part of the review...

The food. OOOHHHHHH the food at CitiField is much better than Shea ever dreamed it could be (many thanks to Joey for posting with the various foodstuffs at CitiField).

I would say the best bang for your buck at CitiField is the Taqueria. The picture in the top right hand corner are the taco trio platter, which is one chicken, one steak and one pork. I believe it's only $10.50. Compared to other items that are so-so at best, and the lines at other more popular stands such as Shake Shack, it doesn't get much better. And it's quality food. They have a damn good elote corn on the cob, which is basically just corn on the cob dusted with this magnificent mayonnaise, cayenne and other lovely spices. I don't know whoever thought that would be a combination on corn, but it works.

This year, the Box Frites stand (fancy term for Belgian fries) offered garlic parmesan frites and disco frites, which is their equivalent of cheese-and-gravy fries or the French Canadian poutine. This is pictured in the lower left corner. For $10+ you can easily split these between two people. Unfortunately, The Other Half and I could never agree so I usually ate that damn disco frites by myself. Now, it's good...but I feel like if you have a hankering for cheese fries, Shake Shack's are better.

However, that's not to be said that I think Shake Shack is overrated at CitiField. Don't get me wrong: since I gave up soy and being a vegetarian in recent months, the Shack burgers and fries have been a welcome source of beefy goodness in my life (picture in the lower right hand, with Joey posing with the goods). However, for the prices at CitiField and the lines that go along with it, I prefer getting mine six blocks away from where I live. However, I have that luxury: many do not. That said, I think if you are dying for a Shack, and don't care about the lines, it's certainly well worth it. I guess it really just is not a "treat" for me and I'm a bad judge when asked about it.

My old standby recently has been the chicken nachos grande -- there are only two stands in the entire stadium. But they are DAMN FINE (top left hand corner). I am kind of a nachos snob. I love real cheese nachos and think that fake nacho or cheez whiz is just the most disgusting and vile thing ever...that said, that combo seems to work on CitiField's nachos. Please note though: when we go to other stadiums and I see that orange goo they put on corn chips, I pass.

I used to go to the Shea Stadium at night and after work on weeknights, and I could never be truly satisfied with dinner. In fact, I used to either eat dinner before hand or wait until after the games. At CitiField, a BIG draw to the atmosphere and baseball experience is the good food. You would not believe how many people buy tickets from me and are not even Mets fans (and not seeing their team play) who want to go to enjoy the culinary delights. No, I don't kid.

When I get sick of beer (I know what you're thinking...The Coop gets sick of beer?????), one of the distractions were the premium mixed drinks that we are able to get. Unfortunately, these are in limited editions on open levels, and are mostly found in clubs and on the Excelsior level. My go-to drink was normally the DomQ Rum Punch which is uncannily like a hurricane (one of my favorite drinks ever). I'm not even a "rummy" as some may call it -- fortunately for all fans to enjoy, the rum stand is by the World's Fare Market, however, I think their choices are kinda sorta lame (pina coladas - which I am not a fair judge because I don't like them - and rum and cokes I's a travesty the rum punch is not offered at those stands). The Taqueria offers their Patron margarita, which is pretty good, but could be a little heavier on the tequila for the price ($12!! I get a yard frozen one at Nats Park for that much). They also offer an Absolut lemonade at the Box Frites stand...again, could be heavier on the absolut for the $12 surcharge. Your best bet if you are not a beer fan and want to imbibe and do not have club access, try the Bacardi malt drinks (mojito, I believe) at the Beers of the World stand.

The Mets did right by the season ticket holders this year, including on the last weekend of the season giving us unlimited club access, 30% team merchandise in the stores and the opportunity to run the bases "Mr. Mets Dash" style after the last Saturday home game. Okay, that was pretty cool.

To the area's credit, they are trying to revitalize the area. I mean, I have to say that the Chop Shops are ugly, but they are OUR chop shops and I guess add to the local charm, and by "charm" I mean "absolutely none at all."

With the advent of McFadden's at CitiField that is supposed to be open year-round (complete with Sunday football), I suppose that if they raze the junk yards, the area could be a happenin' place. I do have to say this about McFadden's. It is not an attractive place. I would not hang out there if not for the fact that it was at CitiField. However, their game day specials and packages (such as the $45 VIP package that gives you one-hour pre-game open bar with chicken wing appetizer, one free drink post game plus a game ticket with "VIP" access in the Excelsior level) are hard to beat. I hope they keep this tradition next season. Also on a side note, if all goes well, some of us December babies might have a joint bday party. I've always felt slighted that I could never celebrate my birthday at a Mets game. Well, I could celebrate it at their stadium now. Noodge.

So this baseball chick has rocked-and-rolled around the country this year following the Mets. Yet, I found myself longing for a place to call home, and while I'm not quite ready to call CitiField that yet, I find myself wanting to go back there sooner rather than later. That is a good thing.

I know how much the Mets have broken our hearts these past two years at CitiField, I know how much the Wilpons and Sterling Enterprises have pissed us off so much in the time that CitiField was being built to the time it was standing. I hope, I pray, they are trying to make it right this time around. For everyone's sake.

But hey. CitiField has a lot of alcohol to drink. So I can still get hammered and at least believe it's five o'clock somewhere. Or that Jose Lima is still pitching (that's another story).

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Never Can Say Goodbye

"Every poseur wants to be at Opening Day. Closing Day is a rite for the secret society of baseball fanatics." - Greg Prince, Faith and Fear in Flushing

I don't know why it was so hard this year. To say goodbye, that is. By all accounts, I should have been miserable, been willing to take 2010, slap it on it's ass and send it on the way through the door, leading to the offseason, 2011 New Year's and ultimately, Port St. Lucie, where all sins of previous teams are collectively washed away.

Lose a World Series Game 7? Who cares? It's pitchers and catchers! Trade away a young phenom for a questionable guy? Let's see what you've got there, old sport! Star centerfielder gets surgery in a clandestine fashion? We've got another guy who can take his place, we'll be fine!!

Lose on "Closing Day," as some in the "society" call it? Eh, that was last year. What's important is that this year is starting.

But what is it that makes Closing Day so very hard? I have to admit, it's never a been a favorite of mine to attend.

Because it's not so much of a "see ya later" kind of game. It doesn't matter who wins or loses (well, unless you are the Mets, circa 2007 and 2008). All that matters is that we, the fans, lose something, a collective loss.

The sun sets differently in October. It sets earlier and differently and there's a feeling in the air that change is on the horizon, for better or worse but it's coming so you better prepare.

Perhaps fellow English literature major Angelo Bartlett Giamatti said it best when he claimed that the game of baseball is designed to break your heart. It has nothing to do with who wins or loses on the last day of the season. It has everything to do with once the Closing Day game is over, you don't have it any more. There is no, "hey, I'll see you guys at the next homestand" or "when is your next game" to the guys next to you. Because their answers are the same as yours: in April.

April isn't around the corner right now. There is no "We'll get 'em tomorrow" because "tomorrow" is next year.

So "get 'em tomorrow" turns into the phrase most Mets fans are familiar with and it's "Wait till next year." Someone asked me if I'm optimistic about next year. And I'm not, but probably for reasons you don't think.

I already know that 2011 is a rebuild year. I know that it won't matter whoever the new General Manager will be (because clearly Omar Minaya will not be in the long-term plans), he will have his work cut out for him. And as long as there are blogs, there will be loudmouths who think they know better than anyone else and start fights with everyone else as to why THIS guy should go, and what THIS lineup would like with THAT guy, etc. The infighting and finger pointing coupled with worrying whether this new dude will indeed have "full autonomy" is enough to give me odge till pitchers and catchers report.

Today was interesting though. Actually the weekend was. Although we were celebrating Chap's early birthday, the conversations were wake-like. Saturday was the wake, where people share memories of the departed with heavy hearts but optimism. Then Sunday comes the funeral. Except in the comedy of errors that is the Mets, they can't even get THAT much right.

A game that goes for 14 innings. A game where Oliver F. Perez not only comes in, but ultimately is the losing pitcher. It was fitting, however. In a funeral gone awry, I would say that one of the pallbearers would have tripped, the body would have fallen out of the casket and the hearse would have run over one of the guests.

And the saddest part was, I couldn't even leave if I wanted to.

Not that I would have. I swear, my husband would have made us stay 20 innings if the game went that long. Any other day of the year, I'd have done it. Closing day is supposed to be the bare minimum, nine innings, especially for two teams who realistically had nothing to play for after July. This was maximum capacity right here for the nostalgic who wanted to wish the 2010 team well, but wanted to get home for the afternoon football games.

I had a complimentary post-game drink at McFadden's to capitalize on, which meant theoretically I had to wait till post-game to redeem said drink. But something else happened.

I had the opportunity to win a game-worn player's jersey, just by dumb luck.

You will probably never see me get rid of my Twitter account. I happened to catch a random tweet to "re-tweet" the Mets, and get a game-worn jersey. So for shits and giggles I responded to it. To which someone came to my seat in the 6th or 7th inning asking me if I was who I claimed I was.

My first thought was...uh, what'd I do? Then he said, that I had the opportunity to join the Mets (not the players, just the "Mets" organization) after the game (operative term) to get a jersey.

I don't know if I could have handled the endings of '07 or '08 better if I had that opportunity. I maybe could have stomached the 20o9 season too. However, it meant I also had to acknowledge that by the game ending, the season ended and well, denial isn't just a river in Egypt.

Then the 10th inning came. And the 11th. Wash, rinse, repeat three more times. Till the 14th when the Mets waved their own version of the white flag in surrendering Oliver Perez to the Nationals, saying, okay guys...we're not finishing in 3rd place anyway, you can totally have this game.

When we went downstairs to claim our prize after Ruben Tejada made the last out of this miserable often painful-to-watch season, I was kind of like, nothing to see here, please disperse. Yet, I realized at one point that any moment I could be in the stadium after the game meant that baseball season was not over for me. I got a second chance, a do-over, much like the Mets could have had several times over this year.

Then I started to wax poetic about whose jersey I wanted. For example, it would have just been cruel and unusual punishment to not only subject Mets fans to Oliver Perez on the last home game of the season, it would have been C&UP for the fans who won this raffle to get a used Ollie P jersey. Had that fan been me, I would have done my best imitation of a Phillies fan, with the jersey doing its best impression of a 12 year old child.

I told my partner in crime, I hope that I get Reyes. Or Wright. Or Pelfrey. Not necessarily in that order. And for no other reason but the fact that I figured these guys would still be around in some capacity in 2011. Not that they had spectacular games or anything (well, except for Big Pelf but as we've found out, he too cannot give up one measly run to the other team if he ever wants to win another game).

We are shuttled into the Mets press conference room where the marketing and communications people made an announcement, thanking us for our support and their hopes that we all come out to the ballpark in 2011. Nice gesture, but since they only had about 20+ "winners" to this exclusive club, and some of them had about 3 or 4 people with them (mostly kids, and husbands and wives), there were easily 60 people in there, out of what appeared to be about 75 total fans left behind after the initial people came and bid their farewell to CitiField and the Mets this year.

I was Number Nine. I had a feeling I was going to get someone good after Reyes, Pagan and Perpetual Pedro were chosen.

I got David Wright.

Now most of you would never characterize me as a "David Wright chick," and I admit that I'm the furthest thing from it. But I was so thrilled that finally, I won something as a Mets fan, and it wasn't a sack of sadness. It was a game-used jersey, and it was by our "superstar" (I won't call him "Captain" or "Face of the Franchise" simply because I don't agree with either label). But I do have to admit I squealed like a little school girl at a Jonas Brothers concert when I picked out his name from the Mets helmet. I won something dammit. And it was a guy I love having on my team.

This was the second day in a row that I willingly stayed at Willets Point after the game. I had spent Saturday running the bases as part of a kids and big kids (like me) Mr. Met Dash, and for a big kids' drink with some friends.

Then Sunday came, I had to stay mostly against my will but the payoff was there.

It's a parable really, for why I am a baseball fan but most importantly, a Mets fan. We have to go through the down times to really appreciate the good and great times. The bad years puts things in perspective. It makes you think about what's really important, not just in terms of baseball but in terms of life.

The end of baseball season means that summer is indeed over, and as wise man said, it leaves you to face the fall (and winter) alone.

Yet, I'm not alone. It took me a while to get back home tonight, and walking back a few blocks, I still wasn't looking forward to getting home. TBH asked why. I said, because then it's truly over. We won't be doing this walk anymore till next year, at the very least. It means we won't be going to another baseball game for six months. Sure, I might be having a birthday party at McFadden's CitiField, but it's not the same. I might take the 7 train out to's not the same. Being a football and hockey fan, I like both but I don't LOVE them. My buddy Whit once said it best when he said there's baseball season...and there's the offseason. Whatever I do in the offseason is just filler till when it can start up again.

When we walked in the door, the feeling in the air was different. The sun set earlier than it did yesterday. It was chillier than it had been all week.

The calendar told me it was autumn for a few weeks now, but we all know that for baseball fans, it's when your team is done playing for the season. And I was sad about it. Again, not about 2010 ending, but that it has to ever end. But I guess that's what makes it special, so there IS an Opening Day.

Kind of like my special someone. Most of you know that I tied the knot a few months ago, but I never really publicized it here because I wanted to keep it special and between us. Yet we knew we were meant to be together after spending a weekend together just completing each others sentences back in the spring. And we still do that.

When we got home, I said, "I'm sad." And then we both completed my thought.

I said, "And I have no reason to be." And he said, "And you have no reason to be."

But I did have a slight reason to be. It was over. Baseball season is over. It will be born again come spring. Till then, I have to face the winter. Not alone in the biblical sense, like I had been all those years before I got married.

It will mean though that I have to wait till everything is new again.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reality Check

I had to laugh a few times today. See, my friend (and yours) Senor Solly out on the west coast posted something today that said something to the effect that the Marlins have once again eliminated the Mets. Then, Metsblog posted a t-shirt that the site The Apple made in honor of it, on the Elimination Day yesterday.

And I had to laugh. I know, it's funny that it's always the Marlins, isn't it? They are that pesky bug that won't die, the annoying little brother who will hold his finger a few inches away from you while saying "I'm not TOUCHING you," the let-me-at-'em-I'll-splat-'em annoying fucking Scrappy Doo.

But here's where I have to disagree. Trust me, I have plenty of sports teams that can make me cry with getting my hopes up only to dash them at the very end. Like last year, with my hockey team, the Bleeding Blueshirts (Rangers). They lost on the last day of the season BUT what they really lost was opportunity.

Lost opportunities. That's the theme here. The Mets didn't get eliminated by the Marlins. They did a fine job of doing that themselves.

Some fans think the Phillies are the Mets' worst enemy. Some still hate the Braves. I have an irrational anger towards the Marlins. I know the record against these teams, especially this season, is not a good one. But it would all be misguided.

The Mets' worst enemy has to be themselves. They are always getting in their own way. It's counterproductive and akin to shooting themselves in the foot. What saddens me is how much potential and promise there was at the beginning of the season. Then all fire just fizzled out.

This is a common theme that keeps repeating itself. And it won't get any better.

I think the only thing that can change them is a change from the top. I don't think a potential new General Manager should worry about trading Carlos Beltran or breaking up the "core" but rather seeing a better way to BUILDING around the team. Using the surplus of prospects for trades...after all, there is NO way they can all play. And a manager who can tell it like it is. I'm not even talking fiery, Bobby Cox-like or Bobby Valentine-type of big personality. We need a guy who can help cultivate this talent and bring it to the next level since it's obvious the "player's manager" types are not working.

So when we get upset at the Marlins, at the Phils, whoever, just remember...if you spot it, you got it. And what we "got" is a case of pointing the finger at the wrong dudes. The Mets have no one to blame but themselves. That's okay. There's a lot of lessons to be learned here. But let's not blame the Marlins for this.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Leonard Bernstein

The Mets have been mathematically eliminated. This should be no surprise, and it's not, but it doesn't make it less sad. I had thought the team was so promising at one point in the beginning of the season, and then everything just fell apart.

I finally realized why I've been so edgy the last few years, especially in the last few homes games, though. As my friend Chap once said, the team has seen fit to ripping our collective hearts out and eating it right in front of us. Although she was pegged as being "melodramatic" at the time, I could not help but understand where she was coming from. See, it's bad enough that the season has to end eventually. The way the Mets had ended previous seasons just made a bad situation much much worse.

When we lost Shea Stadium though and got CitiField in return, it was hard for me to identify what was truly a "home." CitiField has become my home this year, and I have gotten over my nostalgia for Shea. It doesn't mean I don't miss the grande dame. There are some nights I feel like a toddler going through her Terrible Twos, stomping on the ground, holding my breath, saying "IwannagotoSHEA!" 2009 was just sad to me. I didn't have a home AND the Mets were just going through the motions. I think my attitude was shitty but then again, it seemed to be a result of my post-traumatic Mets disorder.

See, they are officially eliminated from any postseason contention after tonight. And that's okay. Being a lifelong Mets fan, or however long you've been one, we should be used to it.

I'm not upset about being mathematically eliminated. No, it's not that. It's that baseball season is ending. After October 3, there will be no more baseball for me. Rather, I will turn to Jets football and Rangers hockey to keep me warm in those winter months.

But now that I feel as though I can identify with CitiField, I can make a house into a home. And I welcome you all into it. In a few days, I plan on doing something I have not done since 2007. And that's go to every game in the final home stand at CitiField.

It's gonna be tough, frankly because I am old and can barely go to one game a week without it screwing me up. But seven games in a row? I must have a death wish.

It's not because I'll be watching baseball that doesn't matter. Because to me, baseball always matters. When it's still in season, of course. What matters is that I'll be with my friends and family and people I choose to call my family, which is the cornerstone to what makes My Summer Family what it is.

When the postseason goes on, I will watch simply because it's the closest thing I have to seeing the live real thing. Till it ends. Then I will have nothing except the Gang Green and Broadway Blueshirts. As my buddy Whit calls it, "Not-baseball season." The period leading up to Spring Training. But it's not the same. It's not my team. It's not my laundry.

It's not the end of the world as we know it, it's the end of the season of we know it. But I can enjoy the last few nights on this planet called CitiField for just a little while longer, if it can hold me over till April. It always seems to, though. So I'll just be sitting in blissful ignorance, counting down in my own selfish way what's left of my baseball season.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Dangerous Game

When I started blogging in 2007, I tried modeling myself after my blogspirations. Some of them still are around, others are not. One blog in particular I started following back in 2004, and the rigeur du jour of this particular site was to fire the then-Mets manager, Art Howe, coined correctly as "" I thought it was hilarious, and one of the items the owner of this site would encourage is feedback and comments from his or her readers. Needless to say, the Mets fired Art Howe by the end of 2004, so the owner of the site had to think of another route to promote.

The name of the site was changed to "" However, by the end of the offseason going into 2005, with the hiring of Omar Minaya snowballing into so-called "Full Autonomy" to the pursuing and wooing of Pedro Martinez to nabbing that offseason's free agent crown jewel Carlos Beltran, the owner of the site also shut down SellTheMets, because (s)he felt it was inappropriate.

Well, I too felt that the Mets were on the right track. On the right track that finally they came to their senses and attempted to have a semblance that "baseball people" and not the ownership were calling the shots on the team, and that they were rightfully in their place, and that was behind the checkbook.

It appears as though old habits die hard and it's evident that once again, the ownership has gotten in the way of the success of the team and most of all, themselves.

Back at Spring Training, a friend of mine was working on a school project down in Port St. Lucie, and I agreed to be interviewed for it. He asked me, "If you (meaning: Coop) were the Wilpons, what would you (meaning: me, the Coop) do to improve the Mets?" And I said without a moment of hesitation, "Sell the team." I think it took him a minute or two to recompose himself, as I'm certain he didn't think I was going to come up with something that quickly. And say it with such conviction.

Whether it's truly a monetary issue, or just a habit of thinking they know better than those who are supposed to take care of the baseball operations, or simply a vanity thing (which is ALL they are about) the fact is the Wilpons are determined to run this franchise into the ground.

What is disturbing to me recently, I guess not so much recently but the habit of the usage of the press to pit the public perception against "underperforming" or those players who are out of favor with the organization to send the proverbial message. I mean, what does this exactly do? It makes the players unhappy, it makes their agents air their dirty laundry back out there not to mention doesn't make it appealing for other stars to want to play. Players will have their ups and downs. But it seems like if the Wilpons are spending the money a few things are bound to occur. One is that if they pay you, they play you (hypothetically speaking of course. They managed to run a 25-man roster with only 23 players in the thick of what could have been an interesting wild card race had they taken it seriously). Two is, if you don't perform up to expectation, they won't cut you but they'll cut your manhood down to size to the point that they hope it is YOU who leaves.

The third is, they tend to take what the public perceives about THEM (note: the ownership and not the team or players themselves), that they'll cut their nose to spite their face. Like I said earlier, it's all about vanity. It's always been about vanity.
I think it's clear that they are planning to part ways with not only Jerry Manuel at the end of the season but also reassigning Omar Minaya to some other part of the team (he has time on his contract, so he won't be fired outright). There is a lot of speculation on what to do to improve the team in 2011. Certifiably insane talk about "improving" the team.

Of course, I mean the crazy talk with trading players like Jose Reyes for prospects. Having a new General Manager come from within (like John Ricco) than getting someone in with a vision and bringing a new level of organizational culture to the Mets, and promoting the status quo. Or at the very worst, will "act" like things are changing, then it will be more of the same.

Why on earth if we bring someone in from the outside to be the General Manager (which is what they SHOULD be doing) and have them make crazy moves? I think it goes both ways. For one, they bring in a new fall guy and the Wilpons want to get rid of someone, let the "new guy" do it so their hands are clean. Then we can blame the "new guy" when things go wrong.

If we've learned anything as Mets fans, it's that from darkness comes light. How many down periods we've had as fans, it all leads up to something special and memorable. I have to believe that only good can come out of the inevitable change that is about to occur in the offseason. That is, of course, if Jeff Wilpon & Co don't do the obligatory Francesa visit on WFAN and "promise" change and not deliver it, or deliver enough of a little bits and pieces of it to keep the fanbase appeased and look like they're doing something and then, by not doing anything.

So what do I think? I think the Mets are playing some dangerous games, leading into 2011. It's a slippery slope, for sure. There's a right way to do things, and a wrong way. I am hoping that for once they figure it out all out and not shoot themselves in the feet once again.