A Winter Night at Citi Field, and a no-no.
TORRINGTON: Okay, so it’s never a bad thing going to a ball game early in October, even when the temperature drops to near freezing with the wind chill.
But did we have to sit through a no-hitter?
On Saturday night on Fleece Blanket (boy did they know something) giveaway night at Citi Field, Mrs. Gaffney and I took the trip to Queens with the hopes of seeing Matt Harvey pitch more than two innings, grab some over-priced post season gear and soak in what it feels like to not have your team done after the first few days of October.
With the temperature just 50 degrees when we left T-Town, with winds 20-30 miles an hour, we were in full out winter gear with gloves and winter coats.
We had good seats just off the third base side of home plate (just above press row) that allowed us access to the numerous clubs that we knew we could (along with everybody else) take refuse in order to thaw out.
After the Friday night game was rained out, a day-night, separate admission double header was on tap with the first game scheduled for 1:10, the nightcap at 7:10.
Day-night double headers have to be a nightmare for those who run the stadium. Dumping out the first game can sometimes run into filling up the second one and when we arrived, the gates were just re-opening at 5 p.m. or so.
Was a little strange, concert like almost, to wait in a seriously long wrap around line as we got in and got our hands on the all-important fleece blanket that would come in handy for certain later in the winds.
Once we got in, it was time to find some head gear. Cold ears will ruin your night, especially with the stiff wind that invades Citi on a good day.
There were two left in the team store I found and I didn’t care if they were the display model.
My hair feels okay today so I guess we are good.
When I had purchased the tickets, I was able to get the first row of section 417 and the all-important first two seats. In and out access was critical.
After we found our seats, we sent word to a guy who we have known for a good long time but only through social media, never in person.
Torrington High School graduate and current Mets beat writer, Jerry Beach, came out and saw what how the regular folks live during cold October games and was immediately glad he could go back to his press box.
Was a little weird for me as well. We are fortunate enough at LCS that most venues we go to we don’t pay, we don’t stand in line and we don’t pay for food.
Have to admit, I like all of those things better but for one night, I could suck it up and act like a fan for a change although I struggle because I am so used to working and being impartial to who wins at anything we cover that I have to remind myself that it was okay to cheer!
Was great meeting Beach and spending a few minutes with him.
A Torrington grad who has worked hard to get where he is and is one terrific writer and he gave me his game notes.
That’s just cool, thanks Jerry!
Going into the game Saturday, I did not have a good feeling about the Mets facing Washington Nationals ace, Matt Scherzer who had been dealing in his past few outings.
He already had a no-hitter under his belt from earlier this summer and seemed on a mission to give a team that had so much expected from it and failed so miserably at it a boost at the end of a long underachieving campaign.
The Nats had been projected to be the team to beat in April but had fallen on their collective faces most of August and September when the Mets surged.
What better way to stick it to the team that knocked you off then to pitch a memorable game against them on their home field.
From the first batter he faced, it just appeared that Scherzer was on. No-hitter on?
Far too early to tell that but you knew he was dealing.
Sure, I know, the Mets did not have all of their regulars in because it was the second game but these were still big league hitters who could all break up any type of perfection at any time.
But, as the innings dragged on, you felt less and less comfortable with that possibility.
On the other side of the card, Harvey was also dealing, throwing what normally would have been considered a remarkable performance itself with 11 strikeouts in just six innings while giving up only an unearned run in the top of the sixth.
As the innings moved through quickly, the temperature did the same in section 417 with that NY breeze kicking up a storm.
In the bottom of the sixth after the Nats had gone up 1-0, the Mets got a runner off an error from third basemen Yunel Escobar that allowed Kevin Plawecki to reach base but nothing came from it.
After that error, Scherzer went on a roll, striking out nine of 12 batters he faced.
The bottom of the eighth came and went fast and it was decision time for the Gaffney’s.
Do we stay and watch the Nats hurler and his team dance on our mound or take off and listen on the way out?
Not only does the Citi never sleep but if you’re anywhere near the stadium you can hear either the radio or TV broadcast so you don’t miss a thing.
I chose the latter and was near the Jackie Robinson Rotunda when I heard the call of the last out of the day when Curtis Granderson popped out.
A remarkable achievement indeed but I just didn’t want to see the last out. Could tell what was coming from the third inning on.
Plus, we were some of the first out of the lot and on our way home, which is never a bad thing!
So, even though we didn’t come away with a win, we did come away with blankets and hey, it’s going to be winter soon, right?
That and an over-priced 2015 Post Season tee-shirt and I was happy.
Hey, we will still be playing at least until the second full week of October. I however, will be watching those games from the comfort of the Gaffney household.