Two years ago, I moved to the cold northerly lands of Connecticut only to find myself in a baseball dilemma - should I also align myself with a team closer to my adoptive city? Local allegiance is pretty evenly split between the Yankees (never gonna happen – see John’s beauty of a post) and the Red Sox (when they’re playing the aforementioned evil empire…otherwise… hrm). Plus, I’ve never successfully cared about any AL team (sorry folks). People would then suggest the Mets. Problem A) The Mets play like girls. Yes, I can say that. I would probably throw a 20 mph fastball on a good day. It’s truly sad. Problem B) More importantly, the Mets are in my Braves’ division – so HELL NO!
After a half-hearted attempt to let the Red Sox grow on me, I came to a decision. Drumroll – screw you guys, I’ll wait till my own damn team comes to town and then piss you off! So there. J Until recently, some silly thing called grad school had gotten in the way of my plan of visiting team fan belligerence, but finally, the sweet sweet days came. My father even drove his (crazy?) self up Philadelphia on his Harley to participate. Oh father-daughter bonding.
Game 1: July 7th – Braves vs. Phillies
This was just beautiful. First at-bat. Martin –I love you – Prado. Homerun. The Phillies’ fans hadn’t even opened their beers. Bwahahaha. With Philadelphia-native cousins at the game, I kept that celebration to a smirk, a clap, a triumphant stomp, and a wink. I didn’t stay nice much longer. It’s fun to harass family, and after a better evaluation, the big loud guys behind me were all talk. J
And boy did they talk – they booed, they taunted, they tried to pick a fight my Dad in any way possible (even though they loved his –totally awesome- “Jesus Hates the Mets” shirt, borrowing my Braves hat gave it away). Since we were only a couple of rows back and little left of center field, Melky Cabrera and Matt Diaz got the brunt of it. “Melky – do you miss your pin stripes?” Mispronouncing names was apparently very amusing to the drunken Phillies’ fans. Melky, Milky, Mooky. Dah-az, Dee-az. As was calling players by their given names. Larry, Larry, Larry. That’s a sorry excuse for an insult, folks.
Still, what was perhaps more baffling was that they taunted, yes, their own players. And this was not just a few people. It was at least a few hundred people. Who boos and shit-talks their own players?!? For example, Shane Victorino was maybe two feet away from a homer in the Phillies’ first at-bat. A lot of respect for that man’s skill, by the way. Anyway, the next inning when he’s out in the outfield I hear, “Couldn’t make it, huh, Shane? Boo. Hiss. Etc.” Ridiculous. I wasn’t feeling the Brotherly Love, Philadelphia.
Without going into detail that you probably already know, and team-bias aside, it was a good game – never feeling like a sure thing, and both teams were playing with pretty few errors. That’s the way I like it. Sloppy baseball is like sloppy [preemptively edited] … even if it ultimately happens to stumble its way to a positive result, it still leaves something to be desired.
And boy did the Braves satisfy. *Raises eyebrows*
Ahem… sorry, I couldn't resist the opportunity to reverse baseball metaphors.
Game 2: July 10th – Braves vs. Mets
I never made it to Shea Stadium, but I have to give it to the Mets - CitiField is a nice ballpark (even if it is in Queens). ;) Although the escalator made me feel like I was entering a bizarre and grandiose shopping mall, the (oddly opulent) entrance has giant beautiful windows and is dedicated to Jackie Robinson. Respect.
Inside, it’s a nice, normal ballpark and all New York. Cosmopolitan, but somehow in being so, could not be more American. Reggaeton, Pizza, Bakalava, and Nathan’s Hot Dogs… anyway. Love New York. Dislike New York baseball teams – dislike, I say!!!
As another tangent, there is one particular member of the New York Mets who I can’t stand watching. He strikes out - I’m bummed. He hits - I’m annoyed. Jeff Francouer. Or as we, the Parkview High School grads of 2002, called him – Frenchie. See, I want the goofy hometown guy who stuck pencils in my hair in 8th grade math class to do well, BUT I refuse to let him get in the way of the Braves winning. That is just not allowed. He should understand. Recently that has not been an issue… strike-outs and pop-ups prevail. Sigh. I also dislike seeing him in a non-Braves jersey and Jose Reyes (grumble… grumble… grumble) wearing his old number 7.
Anyway, the game had me worried for the first few innings. When the Braves don’t score early in the game, it can be cause for concern. We also were making some annoying errors… Chipper… for example. The poor guy got booed everytime he did anything though. And then there was the “Larry, Larry, Larry” chant. Lame. Anyway, Los Bravos tightened it up and pulled it together, and we didn’t let the Mets score. Not once. Still, staying one grand slam away from tying kept things interesting.
Parting thoughts. First, let me say that I adore the cities of Philadelphia and New York. HOWEVER, I LOVE to watch their baseball teams lose, lose, and lose some more! I’m sorry, Phillies and Mets, it’s nothing personal, you just get in the way of my Braves, and that’s a bad place to be in my book. Also, now I feel even less bad for wishing losses upon them since both Philadelphia and Mets fans were not pleasing me in the respect-for-the-game department (especially the Phillies – come on!). You don’t boo people at games. You just don’t. I don’t care if it was even Alex (hijo de p*%$) Rodriguez. No booing! [edit: booing terrible calls and pitchers who repeatedly hit your players is acceptable]
I didn’t get to see Halladay pitch in person. A little sad, but I would have been much more worried about winning that game, so it’s okay. Heyward was injured and didn’t play at either game. Sadness. I love that kid. Guess I’ll have to see another game. Oh Darn. J I haven’t quite managed to adopt Melky to the Braves yet in my mind… he’s still a little tainted by Yankee-ness, but I’ll come around. Diaz seems to have his swing back, which is sweeeet. Prado is most obviously the shit. I will have a soft spot in my heart for McCann (you adorable, Gwinnett County, home-run-hitter, you) until the day he retires, regardless of who he’s playing for. And finally, yes, Infante. I had been cultivating a deep affection for Omar Infante for quite some time, but those last two games made it blossom into a full-blown baseball crush. He’s just so amazingly versatile and solid… and slim… and shy… and boyishly cute… and Venezuelan… and *swoon* *Snaps out of it.* If I hear one more goddamn uppity excuse for a baseball fan knocking his All-Star worthiness… well… I cannot ensure that person’s continued physical well-being! That is all.
Cross your fingers for the NL tomorrow guys! It’s been waaaaaay too long!
P.S. – Although I don’t really understand, Seattle, thanks be to all that is holy that Cliff Lee didn’t go to the Yankees.
P.P.S. – GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
edit by Alison: added link to John's post and labels/tags. :)