Oliver Perez pitched an excellent game agianst the Dodgers, Jose Reyes single-handedly manufactured the first two Mets runs, David Wright homered for the third, and Billy Wagner held onto the game for the save. (We weren't around for the ninth inning, but that's another story for another day.)
The story on Friday night was our seats, or, really, what weren't our seats. Here's what happened. This has been in the works for a while. Let me give you a slight bit of background - my parents' best friends are a couple they have known since they were kids. They both had sons the same year - 1978. So my best friend growing up was their son. We've grown apart - different high schools, different paths since high school, me leaving the neighborhood for Boston (although I do want to do this type of thing again - it was great to hang out again), but we always went to Mets games together as kids. Every great game I saw growing up, I saw with Steven - the day after the Mets clinched the NL East in 1986; the day SpiderMan got married before the game, then Lenny Dykstra and Mookie Wilson had their face-to-face collision; even football/hockey - we were together the day we saw the Jets lose to the Colts, 9-6 in the rain, then ate dinner at Rusty Staub's restaurant in Manhattan on the way to Rangers-Devils (the Rangers won, 2-1). We met Rusty Staub that day - another story for another day.
Anyway, we wanted to do a reunion-type game, so me and my dad and Steven and his dad went to this game together. It was great. Steven's dad was able to get us a window table in the Diamond Club - the Mets' restaurant at Shea. I had never eaten there before, so at least I had the chance to do that before the place gets torn down. The buffet was good - the only problem was that it really didn't feel like you were at a game, despite the fact that the game was going on right outside the window. Also right outside the window - Rusty Staub! He walked by on his way to his seats. He looked a heck of a lot better Friday night than he did when we met him and he signed autographs for us. And since I'm dropping names, I'll throw this one at you - Keith Hernandez took the elevator to the press level with us as we were heading to the Diamond Club.
Next, Steven's dad talked to an usher, and we were out sitting in the press box level in the Diamond Club seats. Not quite like sitting in a luxury box, but pretty good. Cushioned seats, waitress service, good sightlines. Much more like sitting at the game - since you're part of the crowd.
The one thing about the Diamond Club is that it's so secluded. If you're not looking for it, you'd never find it. And as a result, you'd never find the Mets Hall of Fame, where this is located:
I'm not sure I've ever told the story about my attendance at Gary Carter's induction into the Mets Hall of Fame. Another story for another day. Anyway, I hope the Mets Hall of Fame is more prominently located at CitiField.
The only other negative about the night was that I didn't get as good a look at the construction of CitiField as I would have liked. I did get this one shot below (note the upper deck garbage/people catcher at the top center of the picture), but I don't feel like it does justice to the tremendous progress being made. You can really make out the shell of the ballpark these days. The best thing for you to do would be drive up the Whitestone Expressway -that's always the best view I get, but I'm always driving, so I can't take the great picture.
SATURDAY AT SHEA: As I was in New York for the weekend, I was able to watch the Mets-Dodgers national telecast on Fox Saturday afternoon. Tim McCarver was doing the game, and during the third inning, Fox reunited McCarver and Ralph Kiner for the inning. Unfortunately, this happened during some high-stakes poker after the fantasy football draft, so I didn't hear much of it. Thanks to the Southern Bureau for making the effort to let me know about this event - I had read about it in the Daily News the day before. But if the Southern Bureau or anyone else who saw/heard it can write in and let me know how Kiner fared in front of the nation, I'd appreciate it. I hope he was as enjoyable as I've been telling you he is.