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Saturday, June 30, 2007

The City of Brotherly Love

We arrived in Philly around noon, stopped at my friend's condo, had some lunch, and then took the transit system, SEPTA, to the ballpark. We arrived in the top of the first, and it was weird that we were actually missing the Mets at bat. This was my first time seeing the Mets away from home, and they made me proud. The first game featured probably 30% Mets fans, so we weren't alone. The night game was sold out for fireworks, so there were less Mets fans, but we still managed to get a “Jose, Jose” chant going for a bit before we were booed. Oddly, I only heard one “Let's go Phillies” chant the entire day. I wasn't hassled much either. Some girls teased us a little on the train, and we got cursed at a couple of times throughout the day, but nothing major. We were in our seats in time to see the Phillies complaining about El Duque, and could tell that he was getting angry at them. Six innings later, with the Mets out to a nice lead, he had his revenge.

The Mets bats surely woke up, in both games. The second game especially, where the Mets stranded tons of runners on base, some from some nice plays by Michael Bourn in right field. They got some hits, they got some home runs, they stole some bases, and they got some hits with runners in scoring position and two outs. The Mets have won seven of eight, put the Phillies six losses back, and are again on a roll.

The bullpen make it a little difficult in the first game, and then we hurried over to Chickie's and Petes, which is a local sports bar. They have yummy crab fries, which I, and apparently MetsGrrl and now Metsradamus, highly recommend. We also had a tower of beer, which is just like it sounds. It's two and a half pitcher's of beer in a tall tower with a tap on the bottom to serve yourself that sits on the table. We also had some wings, paid, and headed back to Citizen's Bank Ballpark.

Back at the stadium I made sure to get a cheesesteak, and I had a Phillies hat full of chocolate ice cream, that I didn't smash like the Fanatic smashed a Mets cap on the field during the game. The Mets loaded the bases in the first inning, but didn't score. That was only the start though, Beltran blasted two runs, and the Mets chased Cole Hamels early. Not before he threw behind Reyes, leading to a wild pitch and a run. Reyes had an interesting day, he was angered by Hamels, and in the first game he was called out stealing second on what was clearly a bad call. He even stood around the base, still reluctant to actually leave the base that was rightfully his. Willie came out to argue briefly, but to no avail. Wagner was summoned after Maine gave up a double to start the 9th, even though it wasn't a save. Wagner sadly allowed that run to score, but in a measure of revenge for his only blown save of the year, he struck out Pat Burrell to end the game.

David Wright says he will be upset of John Maine is not on the All-Star team. Only Brad Penny has more wins than him at 10, and he's fourth in the league in ERA at 2.74. At what basically is his halfway point, he has 84 strikeouts in 102 innings. To compare, Cole Hamels has the same 9-4 record as Maine, with an ERA approaching four. To think that Maine was considered one of the Mets question marks before the season, is laughable.

I do enjoy the stadium down there, but I think it's nothing that special. It's a nice modern park, but nothing superb. The ball travels nicely there, and all the sight-lines are good. The Mets always hit well there, and they have much better food than at Shea. Still, when I go back to Shea later this month, I'm sure I'll have that 'It is good to be home' feeling.

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