Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Unthinkable

I always tell people I could never NOT root for the Mets. I could be in Antarctica and find a way to follow them . I even told a manager at a previous job that I couldn't travel for work during the months of April through October. Cause I didn't want to miss a thing.

Well, we see how well THAT philosophy worked for me this season.

Although I did spice things up, as you all saw, in my West Coast Memoirs, and added some games to my originally planned Mets games.

And I subsequently did something I had not planned: I cheated on the Mets.


I fell in love with another team. But it's not entirely my fault, and I mean - the whole different area code thing applies here, right? Right? (Sorry, that's just me, trying to make it sound right anyway)

Yes, I cheated on the Mets, and I fell in love with not only another team but their stadium too.

And that was the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Yes, I hate their name -- but their stadium reminds me of home, and home to me is still Shea Stadium.

I have always had a thing for Vlad Guerrero.

I have a crush on Torii Hunter and Chone Figgins.

And who can't love a team where Scott Kazmir is on the starting pitching? Oh and Darren Oliver is still on the team. (Still love him too)

I may not like Mike Scioscia, for what he did to the Mets in 1988. But hey, I don't have to like the manager.

And who knew, but The Coop has turned into a frontrunner, since the California Angels won the AL West last night. As irony would have it, their own Santana (Ervin) pitched the winner.

I can root for a team that has a Santana on their pitching staff.

I am totally in denial. But I need something to keep me occupied and warm in the early fall months this year. I had wanted it to be the Mets, but they will just have to understand that a woman has her needs and they will be met, one way or another.

Plus, I'm not prepared for hockey season yet.

So call The Coop a frontrunner. Call me a cheater. I don't really care. I've been called a lot worse. But admission is the first step in the battle.

The Mets will just have to understand.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Last Fan Standing

I think we all have been there, or have felt like me at times - many, many times this season.
Like when I was attending the last game in San Diego in August. It was a Sunday afternoon game, and I had attended two really good and really interesting games more north in Anaheim and L.A. the day before. The Mets had lost their third game in a row to the Padres that same day.

But Johan Santana was pitching today. We had a fighting chance!! (Isn't that what we told ourselves during EACH and EVERY Johan start this season?)

This was a particularly beautiful day. Here are some of the beautiful embellishments at the entrance of the stadium - seen in the midday sun!!

If you've never been to San Diego, well, I wasn't so bowled over with the city (see Deadspin's Why Your Stadium Sucks: Petco Park -- their commentary on San Diego were pretty dead-on). But what I will say about San Diego is that the weather is like Groundhog Day -- it does not change. Seventies and never humid. The weather is right up my alley. Maybe CitiField would be nicer there. Certainly the Chop Shop charm has worn thin on me. Perhaps it would be prettier there. All things said, it was a very beautiful day.

Back to the weather, cause I wasn't really there to fully watch the game. There were three reasons I was there. One was, I bought tickets and even though I spent next to nothing there, I didn't want them to go fully to waste. The other was the weather -- I couldn't wait to be there at a day game and see if I liked the stadium better then (I didn't but that's beside the point - here's my wrap from Friday's game).

But the third and possibly most important reason was to introduce myself to some of my followers. See, the Coop has West Coast Coop Fans!! If you do not follow me on Twitter (@Coopz22) or on Facebook, well, what are you waiting for??

But these platforms have caused the Coop to become not just small-time-Flushing-gal but big-time-cross-country behemoth! My Summer Family has grown, literally, to include people that I feel are my family, but are not as close as I'd like them to be.

In any event, I'd like to introduce you to two new members the Summer Family and they are (drum roll, please)...Solly and J-Sol!!
(and the crowd goes wild!)

We kept in touch via these social media tools while I was in town. Solly texts the Coop Saturday night and says...You MUST sit with J-Sol and me! Mom cancelled, and we have Toyota Terrace seats.

Now, I didn't know Toyota Terrace from a hole in the wall. But, as Solly told me...they bring food right to your seats.

How did Solly know the way to the Coop's heart was through her tummy?

I ended up not ordering food at my seats, but here are some views from these seats.

I decided to check out the grub on the Toyota Terrace Level -- here are the views from there. I have to admit, the Terrace is a nice place to view the game at Petco Park.
You can apparently exit to Tony Gwynn Blvd from the Toyota Terrace.
Oh and another thing, it operates like the Excelsior Level at CitiField where you need tickets to gain entry to the level. I wanted to get some pictures of it when I was there at Friday night's game, and tried sweet-talking the usher to take some pics. See, Mr. Usher Dude, I'm just a yokel (from New York City...) who is following my favorite team, my dream from my inner school girl. He thought I was amusing...but I was not getting up there without a ticket. Dang.

In any case, we have the Catch of the Day at CitiField which is pretty decent. But this seafood place took the prize at Petco Park.

I had the coconut shrimp which was DIVINE (and yes, that is a beer with the Petco Park label on it. That's the Coop's too).

There wasn't much to say about the game. Even for an event like a road Johan Santana start, and a WIN, I was more jazzed by the company than anything else. So thank you to the Solly-Sollies for inviting me to sit with them.

Padres fans are kind of pathetic though. The best heckle I could possibly get from them is, "West Coast is the best coast!" Oh, come onnnnnnnnn. That's the best you could do, sweetie? Here is a pic with the offender. But he didn't offend so much that I didn't want a picture with him...

But leave the offendin' to the Coop. See, for those of you who know me, I can spin a yarn like no other, and well, my speech is often R-rated (who'da thought, from the gal who herself coined the Big Pussy Posse?). The Mets fans in front of us simply could not handle the Coop, and gave me a dirty look when I just mentioned that Derek Jeter was so butt ugly, I wiped him. (Guess he was a Jeter fan). They were sitting in front of us at first...then moved over. If you think CitiField is empty, try Petco Park. NO ONE was here that day, except for the military,

So yay! The Mets won and I was able to end the West Coast Baseball Trip on a high note...well, until I checked into my hotel room but that's another story for another time.

Of course, I started singing "Takin' Care of Business!" when the team came on the field.
So this season has been interesting thus far. I became a blogger basically because I followed so many other sites and had many thoughts on the team myself. I found blogs in 2004, right around the time Scott Kazmir was traded. And I needed somewhere to congregate with other miserable Mets fans. I had so many tangential thoughts that I started one after 2006, which I have coined in my head "The Year of the Blogger," since many of the blogs I used to religiously follow no longer exist or have tapered off dramatically. Mine included.

But this season, even some of the most dyed-in-the-wool Mets fans have ridiculed me (all in good-nature, of course) for even caring. But this is my life, this is my hobby. And if going to San Diego to prove that I would be the last one on the island, even if it meant they would break my heart on the road, well, that's what I would have to do.

But hark! Look at what I've found...
More Mets fans...looking to what seems to be east. It was time to go home.

I knew after this trip the Mets would not be playing well into October (because you know, technically, they WILL be playing games in October). I knew on this trip that the team that had started on Opening Day would never play together again this season. Or potentially ever. I also knew my life as a baseball fan would not be the same, as I had another team to follow on the west coast and root for.

I also knew that I was not the Last Mets Fan Standing. I may have felt like a One Woman Army, storming into San Diego. But I left with forging Mets relationships that would last me years and years and years.

That was comforting and refreshing.

Time for an In N' Out milkshake.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Carlos Delgado: Succubus

I haven't been a good Mets fan recently.

I mean - how many of us have been? As I've mentioned, I've been hitting the gym more, eating better, going to bed earlier and in general not caring whether the Mets win or lose. I know, at this point in this Lost Season (which I have taken to calling 2009), we should just be enjoying baseball for what it is. But then, I have been paying more attention to preseason hockey and football. What the hell is that about?

Then again, I followed the Mets out west in August. That should tell you how I spend my summers. Somehow, I think going up to the mountains or trips to Europe should be on my agenda next year.

Anyhow, I wanted to address an issue that I feel is, well, not being fully addressed by anyone at all. And that is...Carlos Delgado.

Let me make my position fully clear on this: when we have that flatbed truck backing up in the Bullpen Gate at CitiField, let it be known that I want Carlos Delgado to get on that truck first.

Why is that? Yes, I know it's clear that we really missed his bat this year. I mean, really really REALLY missed it. I was against exercising his option last offseason (I wanted Teixeira - not that he would have signed, but still...), and the Mets currently have zero obligation to him, much like Pedro this year.

And I really no longer want him on this team. And why is that, Coop, you may ask. The answer is very simple.

Carlos Delgado is a succubus.

Before I get into my reasons why, I wanted to bring up another topic. People have also asked me if I'd rather have Daniel Murphy starting at 1B next year. And I guess my answer would be not really. I don't think he's that much of a defensive liability but let my feelings be known that while I think Daniel Murphy is a solid player, I'd rather see Omar try to trade him to an AL team where he could work on his bat and not have to worry about his bungling of plays.

The other night, and admittedly I did not see this play, the Mets were up by a run in the 9th against the Braves and K-Rod comes in. Okay, how many people knew it would only be a matter of time before we saw K-Rod fucking implode? Of course, I am a little cheesed off, of course, because I went all the way to San Diego to see K-Rod not be able to record one freaking out when he's basically paid to get three outs. Of course, K-Rod not only allowed that game to be tied but he gave up a walk-off grand slam to a guy who'd never done it before.

My point? Well, Frankie thought it was good enough to throw Daniel Murphy under the bus when apparently he misjudged a liner down the first base line, th0ught it was foul, but ended up being a lead-off double. "He should have gotten that," says K-Rod. How about YOU get three outs and worry about that, Frankie.

I agree - Daniel Murphy should not be our starting first baseman this year and MAYBE he should be given a chance after he's learned to play the position. On the flip side, I ask this - would Carlos Delgado have dove? I doubt it. He may have been a little more schooled to stop it than Murphy, but the reality is, we would have seen another Dorn'd play there by Delgado.

Others think Daniel Murphy has gotten it easy, that people give him the benefit of the doubt, etc etc. I couldn't disagree more. Santana threw him under the bus for muffing a play that ultimately meant the game in April (when the Mets couldn't buy a fucking hit that day), and no one says jack about the fact that Murphy has not been playing his given position (3B - which will be occupied for some time, I understand). I find it ironic that some Mets fans want him gone, when if we look back we always root for the underdog on the field and at the position -- look at Ty Wigginton and Xavier Nady (super-duper-subs who play hard and always give you a good at-bat) or even Joe McEwing (who sucked ass, but Mets fans still loved him). I think it's a little self-serving to throw him under the bus when he's essentially the last Met standing. And don't get me started on giving David Wright a free pass. If there is ANYONE we should be worried about in 2010...it's Davey himself.

My whole diatribe about Murphy in a column devoted to Delgado is this -- I wonder if Carlos Delgado would have gotten that ball either. Would anyone have said anything to him about that?

Which brings me back to Delgado and why he is enemy #1, as far as I'm concerned.

Carlos Delgado, if you want to wax intellectual about it, has been a succubus since 2005. How so? He was on the Marlins in 2005. Yeah, exactly. Remember that -- he was being courted by the Mets and the Fish that offseason as a free agent, and well, Tony Bernazard basically screwed that whole thing up. But remember Delgado's reason (besides the fact that Tony B insulted him or something) for signing with the Fish? "I have a better chance of reaching the postseason." Well, 20/20 hindsight, I am pretty sure with his bat protecting young David Wright in the lineup and Carlos Beltran who had a lackluster first year with the team, along with a solid Pedro Martinez in 2005, perhaps the Mets could have reached the postseason. Because we all know that the Marlins did not.

Then he comes via trade that offseason. That automatically changed the face of the organization. We went from maybe a Wild Card contender to a freaking powerhouse in 2006. I will admit, Delgado's bat helped a LOT. On the flip side, I often wonder if the Mets kept Mike Jacobs and had made a legit run for the Wild Card, things might have been different. We might be looking at a really good team each year that gives us a surprise.

All 2006 did was set us up for disappointment, as we see now.

However, you'd think 2007 -- one hit away from getting into the World Series, would have been enough incentive for this sorry-ass team to win a few games here and there. No, that was not the case as we see now. In fact, Carlos Delgado was quoted as saying (I'm paraphrasing here) something along the lines that -- sometimes, we are just so good, that we get bored and complacent sometimes. (Granted, it wasn't just him -- Tom Glavine said something similar as well).

Bored and complacent. In a year where his power numbers declined incredibly and if he had come through when the team needed him most. After all, Delgado was heralded for his clubhouse leadership qualities, yet, we saw him ducking out of the clubhouse after games and not being available to the press. Nothing like leading by example there, 'Los.

There were also rumors that Delgado and Willie Randolph did not get along. I'm not sure if I buy that, but could Delgado have tanked on purpose? I doubt it, but it was interesting that around the same time Delgado started putting up his power numbers again in 2008, it was shortly after Randolph was let go.

2007 did not have to happen. There were several games (besides the very last one that stands out in most Mets fans minds) that they could have won throughout the season and did not. My philosophy is that no one would DARE call Delgado out in that clubhouse, simply because veterans were favored and it was assumed he'll snap out of it. Eventually. Still waiting...

As for 2008, there was a push at the middle towards the end of the season. Injuries did get the best of the team -- not to mention the bullpen -- but again, Delgado was still on somewhat of a decline at the beginning of that season. If he was tanking to get Randolph fired because they did not get along, well, shame on him. Again, I don't buy this was the case, but it's a team sport. And from my perspective, Carlos Delgado was simply into padding his numbers for the Hall of Fame and not caring about how the team did. See-- either way, he gets paid. I call bullshit.

The reason I am calling him and Delgado is getting my venom is that the SECOND he came on this team, the dynamic shifted dramatically. Simply, if he had come to the team in 2005, we'd probably be looking at an incredibly different dynamic, a better one. The trade of Carlos Delgado set the trend of Omar Minaya thinking he can catch lightning in a bottle by trading some prospects for a Proven Veteran and plugging in holes that way while the Reinforce-Mets coming up in the minors mature.

And yes, I am simply mad that Delgado got injured, we missed his bat and it changed the dynamic of the 2009 team to a team that had something to prove to a team getting decimated slowly, one-by-one, step-by-step. Therefore, I submit that Carlos Delgado, since talking to the Mets, has sucked the life out of the team. Do we really need someone like that back in 2010?

I am ready to move on from that and start afresh in 2010 with Beltran, Reyes, Wright and Santana. Notice I did not include Daniel Murphy. I'd like to see him succeed, but perhaps on my adopted AL team, the California Angels.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Could It Be Hockey Season Has Started Already?

Or that baseball season is already over for me, and this is just window dressing till Pitchers and Catchers?

In any case, I am transitioning into my early-fall and late-winter family mode, and going to preseason hockey tonight. Rangers versus Bruins. Go me.

I think the Mets are playing tonight too...I guess I'll follow at the game tonight. Maybe.

OOOPS! I Did It (or "Didn't") Again

I meant to plug these last night but like the Mets have done for my physical nature, my mental nature is just completely at a wash.

Anyway! Get thee to Two Boots Tavern tonight for the last Amazin' Tuesday, hosted by Faith and Fear's Greg. You will get to see the normally reclusive Metstradamus, Jeff Pearlman (who not only wrote The Bad Guys Won...but also the John Rocker Sports Illustrated article back in the day) and Jon Springer from Mets by the Numbers will be reading tonight. Plus pizza and beer. What could be better?

I keep forgetting to promote these events, but my two readers should definitely have enough time to get their acts together and get to this. I went last month, it's very cool.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Judgment Night

Well, the rumors you've heard are certainly correct.

The 2009 New York Mets are done. Finito. Kaput. Fin.

With Pedro Martinez's gem for the PHILLIES Sunday night, the 2009 Mets have officially started to mentally check out and queuing their tee times for October, while New York playoff baseball will presumably be played by another team.

We've been eliminated. Although I kept hope a lot longer than most fans, as I said in a trip to Brooklyn with CrazyMetGirl (to see the homecoming for one Carlos Beltran almost two weeks ago), the Wild Card was still a distinct possibility...if the Reinforce-Mets were to return as scheduled.

A Jose Reyes debacle later, Carlos Delgado's big bat nowhere to be found, Carlos Beltran still sitting out games, Johan and Oh Pea going down for surgery, it became clear that the only thing this team would be doing in October is drinking beers at Octoberfest.

So what does this mean? Well I can tell you what it's meant for me.

I've had so much free time.

I've been going to the gym. I've been eating better, not drinking as much, I'm taking care of myself.

I'm not rushing home at night to turn on the game at the absolute first second I could because...I could be missing something special.

I'm spending time with my Mets friends (and non-Mets friends) in atmospheres where we are not forced to watch games.

I go to a minor league game to see a current Mets rehab instead of watching the big team's game on television.

I eat the cost of my season tickets because I'd rather go home or go to the gym.

But judgment night for the 2009 Mets also means that we have a known expiration date to this season, Sunday, October 4.

I would venture to say, and I've been a fan for a long ass time, this has been possibly the most difficult season I've had to endure as a fan. Sure, in the past, I've had hope and it's been dashed within weeks of Opening Day and the seasons have been all but done with by All-Star Break.

This year was worse than the last two seasons, since at the very least we did have high expectations and hope for a post-season, to be dashed by the last game of the season.

This year was worse because we had such high expectations. And there was not a damned thing we could do about the events of this season. Besides maybe better conditioning.

I know I have to get my game face on and enjoy the game while I still have it. As another fan told me, baseball is the only sport that we have a countdown for pre-season.

And I have no desire to watch any games. Not even my adopted team, the California Angels.

I have to enjoy it now, or I'm not going to have it again for awhile.

The Mets are making it so hard for me to even muster up the enthusiasm to see them finish the season. I think I'm not the only one. Judging by the amount of fans who are going out to the stadium these days, I would say that's the case.

So what's next? Do we sit idly by and hope for the best as John Maine makes his case for the 2010 starting rotation, Jose Reyes plays his last game in 2009, and we have a semblance of a team with Beltran, Reyes and Wright together once again?

I don't know folks. This has been tough. But I know that the end to this season will be easier to take because we have each other.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Think Blue

I almost forget there is actually a Mets season going on. I keep going to games, but I keep getting sidetracked by different things. For one, Carlos Beltran came to Brooklyn last Wednesday. I attended that game with CrazyMetGirl and will get that up soon.

I also sat in the Excelsior area on Sunday versus the Cubs, where it was Daniel Murphy Day. I will get that up as well.

But come on guys, who doesn't want to follow Coop's NEXT stop on her West Coast Baseball Jaunt? And that would be Chavez Ravine, where the Brooklyn Dodgers of Los Angeles play their games at a little park called Dodger Stadium. At this point in the season, I find my West Coast trip way more intriguing than the Mets play this season.

Anyway, I had never been to Los Angeles before, let alone a game at Dodger Stadium. It was something I had always wanted to do, I mean for obvious reasons such as the history behind it. I am not a Brooklyn Dodger denier, I am intrigued with their history. But I have been told to tone down my anti-Dodger rhetoric regarding CitiField's use of their history. I mean, sure, I love Jackie Robinson as much as the next person, but if you are going to honor New York Baseball History, do it right. Honor the other teams. But it goes without saying that Walter O'Malley, though purely profit driven, was a genius way ahead of his time for tapping into the West Coast market. Honestly, if there were never baseball on the west coast, I'd be less intrigued with visiting those cities. And that's the damn truth.

Okay, Brooklyn Dodger rant over, I had heard many different versions of what Dodger Stadium would be like for me, a first-timer. Some people who had been there before, years ago and more recently, had told me (in no particular order), I would be blown away by the beauty of it, not just the stadium, but the area. (I was). A few people tried to explain to me the actual logistics of the stadium -- you go in through the "mezzanine" which I think is actually called the "loge" at Dodger Stadium -- and it's built into a mountain. And the only thing I can tell you on that is...you cannot even imagine it till you actually go. Here's a pic of what I first saw as I came up from the ramps.

When I parked the car, I had to walk up a hill to get to the park --

Then throughout the concourse, you will see escalators and different ramps. Since I had gotten there so early (and I will get to that in a minute), I had time to walk around to the different entrances and how it looked to park on lower levels and higher levels of the stadium.

Imagine entering our old Shea through the Upper Deck. That was where I entered.

Other things people told me was the old saying that Dodger fans get to the stadium in the 3rd inning, and leave in the 7th. Others were that their fans were obnoxious, kind of know-nothing, and well, the type of fans to enter in the 3rd and leave in the 7th. Some told it was incredibly easy to get to by car (which is why O'Malley picked the area he did, with its proximity to the major highways).

I don't know if it had to do with timing (7 pm start on a Saturday night), or that the Dodgers are a GREAT team this year or that I was sitting next to some peculiarly knowledgeable fans, but I experienced none of those problems, and I can enthusiastically say that although I had my trustee GPS, it was sooooo easy to get out of Chavez Ravine.

Coming from Anaheim, some people warned me (local or those who had learned from experience) was to leave no later than 4:30 to get to the 7 pm game. Now, I'm wondering if those who warned me knew I wanted to get there on the earlier side since I wanted to get pictures and walk around, but I'll tell ya...I got there within an hour, which I think is unheard of to get anywhere in LA from anywhere else outside of that county.

I will get to their fans in a minute. I spent about 40 minutes walking around the stadium, trying to get a good idea of their fan base. Some of you may know that Manny Ramirez is #99 on the Dodgers now (I say that facetiously -- my two readers know for sure that he plays there since he could have been signed by the Mets and was not...). I LOOOOOVED the residents of Manny Wood, who wear Manny-type dreads and his jersey. I took a picture of this guy here...
Since I wasn't wearing any Mets colors, or any team colors for that matter, I probably looked like some crazy tourist type who wanted to get random photos. Like this one of two friends I presume -- one was wearing a Dodger #99 jersey, the other a Mets #57 jersey. SHEESH. To each his own (I did identify myself to be on friendly territory). Well, I was a crazy tourist type, but that's beside the point. But of course, I couldn't help but think of the differences between what their fan base had to celebrate against ours. They can dress up in fun clothes, and yet, we have nothin'. Wait, I take that back. We have Oliver's Army who wear sombreros and Perez #46 jerseys. It's five guys. Hundreds of Dodger fans wear Manny gear.

Fred, Jeff, Omar. You missed the boat on that one.

So again, I have to go into honoring baseball history, most notably, your own team. Again, pointing to the history of Jackie Robinson, color barriers broken, Don Newcombe, and Roy Campanella, something as simple as this sign here by the team store really touched me.

Now, skeptics might say - sure, Dodgertown is open to anyone...as long as you spend money! But I think it is extremely telling that the same franchise that not only broke the color barrier, but built unsegregated quarters at spring training and honor that history every day still hold that principle close to heart. And the kicker, when you are walking in, Mr. Voice of the Dodgers Vin Scully is giving an announcement to the tune of, "Welcome to Dodgertown...where all are welcome."

That just says it all. Scully's voice = two big sticks of buttah lashed together in a roughhewn manner. Dodgertown still holding their principles intact for well over fifty years = priceless. Moving right along...

As I walked around, I saw there was an open area for fans to watch batting practice. To some of you, this may seem par for the course. Of course they would have batting practice open for fans to watch. BUT I hadn't even entered the stadium yet. The area you can watch from is sort of an open area by center field (where you see the big Dodger Vision scoreboards on television). You think about how inaccessible some stadiums are -- granted, I don't think you can get autographs and stuff like that from players but it's nice that in this day and age they do not feel the need to make parts of the park so inaccessible to fans.

I tried to find a main entrance to get my picture next to, alas, surprisingly so, there is no "Welcome to Dodger Stadium" main entrance (at least, one that was conspicuous), except for this one here-- that was one for either press or club ticket holders. I was mingling with the commoners tonight though. Although truth be told, I may need to do the All You Can Eat section over by Right Field next time , just to say I did it (on a side note, San Diego Mets-connections J-Sol and Solly told me they sat in those seats a few months ago and STILL had leftover bags of peanuts to eat to this day). But Blondies Jake DID warn me that the lines there are long. So I guess All You Can Eat At Your Own Risk of waiting entire innings for food.

So I entered the stadium through I guess what would be considered the upper deck. What surprised me was that even if I wanted to walk around on lower levels without a ticket, well, they had ushers and security personnel stationed at every door checking tickets. I thought that was kind of a beat deal, but I guess save trying to sneak into better sections, they have specialty food at every level, so why would you want to move down.

So nearly all who had been following my Tweets (@Coopz22) or Facebook status updates all told me -- get a Dodger Dog. Well...I don't like hot dogs!! I mean, I used to, but no longer do. Years ago, I would have. But after seeing THIS sign below...how could I pass up the opportunity to honor my OWN team back in Flushing...

For Brooklyn rip-off stadium pizza, it wasn't half-bad. But just that. Can't tell a Jersey girl where to get good pizza. I would say, even though I did not indulge, go for the dog.

So back to the fans. I sat in a very cool section and the seats were very good.
I wouldn't be able to tell you if there are any sections I would definitely say to stay away from, but I don't think there is a bad seat in the house here.

Anyway, truth be told, I had my own prejudgments on Dodger fans. But the fans I sat next to were knowledgeable, bled Dodger blue and gave me some commentary on why they did not like the whole Angels name change to Los Angeles. "It's not even in Los Angeles County!" the female fan next to me said -- who apparently had a baby daughter she left with her mom that night...wearing her Dodger onesie. I loved this woman.

And surprisingly so, she and her husband both told me that Angels fans were the biggest frontrunners in sports -- their words, not mine -- since before they won anything in 2002, no one EVER went to their games. Funny, seeing those rivalries come into play from an East Coast point of view where everyone is a front runner.

The Dodgers played the hated Braves this night, and it was funny seeing Ryan Church in a Braves uniform when I was seeing him play against a team that was NOT the Mets. But here's something else. I spent most of the night paying attention not to what was on the field but getting the perfect picture of the Dodger Vision screen out in Left Field.

I had been telling someone that I remember not only watching Mets play the Dodgers in the 80s and what not, but during the old Game of the Week on NBC with Bob Costas and Tony Kubek, and just being fascinated with that board. My fascination with visiting other baseball parks might have even started by watching Dodger games on GotW back in the day, transfixed on that television. I still don't think I was able to get a good shot, or the perfect shot of it, but I hope you can see what I mean here.

Okay, and the hokey cheesy fan in me who not only LOVED the Rally Monkeys at Angel Stadium (where some fans wore in backpack-fashion) and I LOVED the MannyWood 99 area out in LF. So charming. But I mean, what are we going to put in LF at CitiField...a "Who IS This Guy?" sign, since I don't even think Jerry Manuel knows who is playing LF on a daily basis?

Now, MSF buddy DyhrdMet asked me what I thought of Dodger Stadium, being an old stadium, that if the Mets organization had kept up with repairs of Shea, maybe we could have kept Shea around longer and all it needed was some TLC.

Well here is my philosophy on what Shea could have used to make it a bit more fan-friendly over the years. I think Angel Stadium reminded me more of what the team could do to make the stadium more fan-friendly. Dodger Stadium, not so much. See, we need to understand something from a business standpoint. Walter O'Malley was given something like 300 acres in Los Angeles back in the late 50s and it was basically pure profit to move to the team out there in 1958. They could keep up with repairs and respond to fan needs because, well, they COULD. For the Angels, they had a media company that had a vested interest in keeping the team where they were, with its proximity to Disneyland (if you have ever been, it seems like there is just ONE road that one end is Disney, the other end is Angel Stadium).

I think after awhile, Shea was in such disrepair, it was almost better to build a new stadium. I still miss Shea and maybe when the DeRoulets owned the team they might have been able to sink some money into it, but then...they weren't sinking money into much those days.

I digress.

Now I said most fans I saw did not leave by the 7th inning. Unfortunately, I made out like a cliche and bolted after the 7th inning stretch. I was tired. And I can guarantee most fans in that park weren't on their second game of the day. I had a bit of a drive anyway.

But it also left me with a dilemma. When I entered the stadium, I wasn't able to get a good shot of myself near anything quite Dodgery enough. The interior of the stadium, by the way, honored of lot of their Dodger greats from the past with photos on columns around the stadium. I could have gotten a pic next to Sandy Koofoo, but it didn't feel right. He was MY pitching man crush, kind of like Nolan Ryan -- non-Mets who I would have loved to be Mets.

But it was almost as if Bart Giamatti himself pointed me in this particular direction to get the perfect shot before I left.
My first though was....Whatttt?????? How DARE the Dodgers honor one of our own...Oh wait, he was a Dodger. Well, at least Mike Piazza was, Jackie Robinson was not.

Sorry, I will always be on my soapbox about that.