I was there.
I WAS THERE!
But, through the immediacy of social media, there were others not at Citi Field tonight who were there with me nonetheless.
Yes, I was one of the lucky Mets fans to experience live tonight–from the front row of the Excelsior Level, right behind Home Plate–the first no-hitter in the history of the Mets franchise, pitched by Johan Santana.
But, as the number of zeroes on the scoreboard began to climb, so did the anxiety and the trepidation. The angst was palpable: I saw it in my daughter’s and my husband’s faces; I saw it six seats down from me in the intense concentration on the face of WFAN’s Evan Roberts as well as in the death grip he held on the railing in front of him.
But I also “heard” it loud and clear in the voices fairly shouting on Twitter and Facebook.
I try to put my phone away during game-time, for the most part. I find that I miss too much of what’s going on in front of me if I don’t.
But with collective jitters permeating the atmosphere tonight, the distraction of my smart phone proved to be just the bit of short-term electronically-produced Xanax needed –at least while the Mets were at bat from about the sixth inning forward. (Did anyone else think that the bottom of the eighth inning set yet another franchise record for the LONGEST half-inning EVER?!)
Checking Twitter and Facebook late in the game when Johann was not on the mound, I was surprised to see a thread of comments inspired by a single tweet by fellow Mets blogger Greg Prince, of Faith and Fear in Flushing fame, in which he compared the spectacle we were all witnessing–in the ballpark, home, and elsewhere–to the grand spectacle that is opera.
I couldn’t have agreed more with the analogy. Truly, this evening’s event–with the pitcher in question having taken well over an entire season off for possibly career-ending surgery–was a story writ large. A gran scena.
For stellar moments in sports history as well as those in the arena of musical performance, the crowd simply cannot contain itself. “Jo- han! Jo- han!” or “Bravi! Bravi!”: the intensity and the passion are one and the same. And the thrill of having shared that athlete’s/musician’s professional milestone is something to cherish and to be retold–in the dramatic and theatrical manner appropriate to the occasion.
Royalty stepped onto the pitching mound yesterday afternoon at Citi Field.
I’m sorry to say that I was not referring to our ace pitcher, Johan Santana. His start yesterday was not, um, imperial in the least.
I instead refer to the ceremonial first pitch before yesterday’s game which was thrown by Prince Harry of Wales. His Royal Highness is in town for several days and yesterday was the guest of the Wilpons. Besides having the honor of throwing out the first pitch, he also received coaching from R. A. Dickey as well as a special Mets jersey (number 22 ) with “Wales” on the back.
Hearing from friends seated near us what was going to take place prior to the game, my daughter wondered if he would appear wearing a crown. My husband and I laughed at that thought. “Yes, and flowing red velvet robes.”
With my telephonto lens pointed at the dugout, I recognized his shock of red hair immediately. I was delighted to announce to my daughter that, in fact, the Prince was going to be coming out momentarily, wearing a ratty looking Tshirt and faded grey pants!
I doubt any Mets fan were disappointed by any lack of fanfare or regal robes.
Far more regal than any jewel-encrusted crown was the METS HAT he had donned prior to taking the mound.