A change-up this week. Since I will be in midair internet isolation during tomorrow’s game, I am recapping (and attending) Tuesday’s game at Citi Field.
Preliminaries out of the way first: the 1966 Braves used their 28th game to allow the Reds to complete a doubleheader sweep at Atlanta Stadium. (Never forget that the “Fulton County” was a later addition.) Some guy named Pete Rose was 3-5 for the Reds. He seemed to have a pretty good career but missed out on the Hall of Fame for some reason. Less-impressive-but-actual HOFer Tony Perez knocked in two runs. Milt Pappas pitched a complete game for the Reds and I just found out that his nickname was “Gimpy.” Vada Pinson was another Hall-of-the Very-Good guys in that game. – 54.3 Career WAR (higher than Perez in 5 fewer seasons) and over 2700 hits.
For two tickets down the third base line at Citi Field, once you account for parking and various “service charges” and “convenience fees,” I am set back $176.50. In 1966 a Field Level ticket at Atlanta Stadium cost $3.50 and parking was around a dollar, so real ticket prices have roughly tripled over the last 52 years. ($8 in 1966 is about $63 today.) Or it may just be that prices are higher in NYC. But I don’t have to stand in line for tickets, although I do have to stand in a pretty long line for security screening.
The Rotunda on the entrance to Citi Field is a shrine to Jackie Robinson, a slightly idiosyncratic choice for a guy who retired six years before the Mets came into existence, but then again it’s way too grand a space to celebrate the legacy of Ed Kranepool or Benny Agbayani, though a Tom Glavine Rotunda would have been pretty cool.
I hated Shea Stadium with its urine aromas (and that was just from the Mets fans, all of whom seemed to be on day passes from nearby Riker’s Island) its harsh and uncomfortable winds and the stupid Home Run Apple. The Apple is still there, but I have to admit it’s a great ballpark, much better than the crosstown New Yankee Mausoleum. And you can actually buy Mets tickets on Sunday for a Tuesday game down pretty low and still send your grandchildren to college, unlike the Yankees. (And why would I want to send any Yankees to college, anyway?)
At 1 PM on game day I discovered that Sean Newcomb was going to be replaced at pitcher by The Knack’s M-M-M-Mike Soroka. (Hat tip to Braves14… Genius. Any bets that Chip will say, maybe tonight if he reads Braves Journal: “Let’s see if Mike has The Knack for pitching.”) So now the Braves will have the three youngest players in baseball. I don’t know why everyone is so excited about this. I mean, I’m no spring chicken, but Albies, Acuña and Soroka are older than me… by 116 days. By the end of the season, they’ll be over a year older than me.
Mr. Soroka hails from Calgary, which allows me a moment to reminisce about other Braves Canadians: Pete Orr, Claude Raymond and Scott Thorman. All in, Soroka is clearly the best Canadian the Braves have ever had, and he hasn’t even played a game yet. In six seasons, Claude managed a -0.5 WAR for the Braves, Peterson Thomas Gordon Orr managed a +0.3 in 3 years, and the can’t-miss Thorman was -1.0 in 2 seasons. Altogether, Canada owes us 1.2 WAR before Soroka dons a uniform, unless I missed somebody.
Anyway, I’m about to leave for the park. I’m not going to live-blog this, because I want to enjoy my $176.50. But I’ll add to it sometime late tonight…