06.24.08 10 years ago 26 Comments

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I recognize that I'm too much of an absentee fan, so last night I got my act together and actually went to go see my not-quite-beloved Mariners take on the Mets at Shea.  So I packed up a little early yesterday, picked up my girlfriend from work (please, no comments about her hourly rate), and headed out to Shea.  Yes, I had only one guest.  Not all of us have parents who care enough to fly East to visit their blogger son every summer, you know.  But to be fair, international jewel thieves have busy schedules.

Even though the Mariners are the worst team in the majors, and their best moments this summer were firing GM Bill Bavasi and manager John McLaren, I was still excited to see Felix Hernandez pitch for the first time — and against his countryman and fellow ace Johan Santana!  This was gonna be great! 

Little did I know, of course, that I would be treated to both the awesomest of awesome and suckiest of suck.

We get off the 7 train at about 7:02 p.m., and our gate is conveniently the farthest one away from the subway stop.  The game starts at 7:10, and apparently I'm walking too fast.

Her: Why are you walking so fast?
Me:  The game's about to start!
Her: Do you realize how long baseball games are? 

A fair point, but in my defense, Ichiro bats lead-off, and he's pretty much the only good position player on the team.  If we miss his at-bat, we may as well miss a full quarter of the game.  But we get there just in time for the first pitch, so all is right in the world. 

All is right-er in the world when the top of the second rolls around.  With two out and two on, David Wright boots Willie Bloomquist's lazy grounder, loading the bases.  Few things feel as good as clapping and saying "All right!" when everyone around you is booing.  Alas, King Felix, batting ninth, is up.  Blasted National League and your antiquated rules!  If only the Mariners had their designated hitter, Jose Vidro!  He's batting .216!  And slugging .321!  That would save the day!

Of course, as noted in this morning's recap, Hernandez connected on the first pitch he saw, a high fastball, and sent it sailing through the humid air, over the fence in right-center.  And if it feels good to clap and say, "All right!" while everyone around you boos, it's sheer ecstasy to stand up and scream while everyone sits stunned, mouth agape, because your favorite pitcher on the planet has hit a grand slam off one of the best pitchers in the game, in only his ninth career at-bat.  WOOOOO!  CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS, PEOPLE?!?!?  Holy shit!

I look to my girlfriend, who's smiling politely. WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM, WOMAN?  Get excited!  Grand slam!  A pitcher!  WOOOO!!!  More polite smiles.

Anywho, even though the M's won, it was kind of downhill from there.  When Beltran's slide at home forced Hernandez to leave the game, it was a crushing blow emotionally.  The goateed asshole to my left, along with others, cheered when Hernandez went down.  I was making mental notes to write all sorts of mean things on my blog when the guy in front of me — also sporting a goatee, coincidentally — chastised him, saying, "What are we, Philly fans?" and giving him the double thumbs-down with a dismissive shake of the head.  That earned you a classy point, fella.

A few more $8 beers later, we got on the crowded 7 train back to Times Square and transferred to the Q.  We were amazed by the amount of free seats in the car until we entered and saw the large puddle of vomit that people had edged away from and were eyeing warily, like something dangerous and asleep.  We got seats on the outskirts of the smell, and it really wasn't all that bad.  I found myself thinking: "That's not a vomit smell at all.  More like honey.  Really like honey.  Say, that's not honey, is it?  Nope: honey doesn't have chunks.  You know, vomiting wouldn't be so bad if it tasted like honey.  Sure, you're getting sick and all, but there's at least kind of a sweet result."

A fitting end, I thought, to watching King Felix's performance that night. 

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