Posts Tagged ‘Mike Piazza’

Mets Give Fans a Night to Remember

April 15, 2009

It began to settle in late Saturday night, the anticipation and the realization that the first ever Opening Day game at Citi Field would be scheduled as a night game. In all my years as a Mets’ fan, I have never been able to actually watch all the glitz and glamour that goes into a Mets’ home opener. I have never known how it is to cheer on the ceremonial first pitch or take in the formal introductions of all of the Mets current players. Because the game is usually on during the day, I end up missing it because of work. Luckily, the past few seasons I have been able to hover beside a radio with the hope of catching the last two innings of the game. Fortunately for me and countless others who have found themselves in that very same situation, a mundane Monday night was transformed into the ultimate Monday night.

Prior to picking up some last minute items from the grocery store, the festivities had already began to take shape at Citi Field as former Mets Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza graciously emerged from the back of the new stadium’s bullpen. A familiar scene for Seaver who was wearing his iconic #41 jersey and Piazza who was sporting his more recently famous #31. As you recall, last September, the two of them waltzed or more like, swaddled to the tune of My Life by The Beatles until they reached Shea Stadium’s centerfield wall where they both administered their last goodbyes to Flushing’s old ballpark. On Monday night, Seaver was again asked to throw out the historic first pitch and unlike last time, he reared back and threw a strike which he himself declared was “straight down Broadway.” Okay, maybe it was a tad bit off-Broadway but heck, it was a strike.

However, the feeling was short-lived as San Diego’s Joey Gerut quickly put the Padres on the scoreboard by recorded the first ever regular season homerun at the Mets new ballpark on only the third pitch of the game. My only option was to crack a smile when Mets starter Mike Pelfrey not only fell off the mound but fell behind the Padres, 4-0. Typical, I said to myself. Apart from the dismal score, it looked to me like all who were in attendance were enjoying themselves and having a great time. SNY’s Gary, Keith, and Ron went about their business as usual. Occasionally, you could sense that perhaps one if not all of them at once had to nudge each other so as to avoid becoming too awestruck from the spectacle which was unfolding before their eyes. “I would love to play at this ballpark,” Hernandez said.

The Mets managed a run in the bottom half of the second inning only to see the Padres get it right back in the top of the fifth allowing the score to continue in San Diego’s favor, 5-1. As a fan, you hope to yourself that a game of this magnitude does not end up this way. Not tonight. It was at this hour of the night that I felt it was time for a break in the action. Plus, I had just realized that I had to move my car to the other side of the street so as not to get a ticket the next day. While inside, I was able to revert back to a familiar place as I listened intently to WFAN’s Howie Rose and pumped my fist as Brian Schneider rumbled around third to score the Mets second run.

Making my way back to my apartment and now in front of the television, David Wright began to make his way towards the plate. With two man on and two out, the count went full. A homerun would tie the score at five. For Wright, he would become the first Met to hit a homerun at Citi Field which would undoubtedly place his feat among other magical Mets moments. At this point, anyone who is reading this knows exactly what happens next; I don’t think I have to go into any great detail. Let’s just say that unfortunately for the Mets, games cannot end in a tie. In this particular case, this one ended with a score of 6-5. Padres win on a balk.

Come to think of it, even though the Mets lost, I will never forget where I was when it all went down.

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Reyes Has His Foot on the Pedal, Santana Opts on the Side of Caution, and Piazza Goes Global

February 27, 2009

“I believe he’s ready to take off,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “He’s ready to take it to the next level.” Manuel was speaking about Jose Reyes who helped the Mets cruise to another power-packed win yesterday, 9-0, against the Florida Marlins. Reyes hit two homeruns, including a grand slam, and finished with six RBI.

“I told you he could be a third place hitter,” Manuel said. “You got mad at me.”

Manuel has taken some heat lately for proposing the idea of moving Reyes from the leadoff spot down to third place in the batting order. With that in mind, Manuel had nothing but compliments for one of the most coveted of his everyday players. “We feel good about where he is in his career,” Manuel said, “We feel very confident that there are a lot of things he still can do.” Gushing to the point of excess, Manuel felt compelled to mention that he likes the energy his talented shortstop brings but does not necessarily enjoy the anxiety that comes along with it.

Sticking with the topic of anxiety, Johan Santana was scratched from his first preseason start with tightness in his elbow. “It takes a little time to get loose,” Santana said. “I don’t think my elbow has anything to do with my knee.” Santana has repeatedly assured the media that his knee is fine since coming back from off-season surgery. “There’s no reason to rush,” the ace of the Mets pitching staff said, “I really have to prepare myself for April 6th.” Santana is hopeful that he will be the opening day starter when the Mets play the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark.

Former Mets catcher Mike Piazza has been designated as the hitting coach for the Italian team as they compete in the World Baseball Classic which is scheduled to start March 5th. Piazza, who has spent most of his career behind the plate, will also be instructing the team’s catchers.

“There aren’t a lot of egos over there,” Piazza said. “It’s a good thing. I’m really pumped.”