Royalty Tours USA

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Royalty goes to Opening Day at Citi Field to see the Mets host the Nationals!

Sam Citron Outside the Rotunda at Citi Field
After shaking off the effects of jet lag, the King & I went to Citi Field Monday March 31st to see the Mets start their 2014 season against the Washington Nationals. Since I wisely took the day off from work, I got to the ballpark when the gates opened. I got to see my pal Sam Citron when I got to the Rotunda. It was great to see him again. When I entered the ballpark, I was hoping to see batting practice but since the weather wasn't ideal, they didn't have any. I was hoping to see my pal Gio Gonzalez before the game but I waited & waited but he never came out. I was able hang around until game time since I knew the usher who watches over the special seats that are located between the tarp & the Nationals dugout. 

Me waiting to see Gio
When they announced the players in the special pre game ‎introductions I saw Gio from a distance. When they went back into the dugout, I yelled out to him. He acknowledged me by giving me a thumbs up before he headed into the clubhouse. It wasn't the same as getting a handshake but he did see me wearing the personalized jersey he gave me in the same spot back on 9/11 when the Nationals were in town last September.
Opening Day at Citi Field
Remembering Ralph Kiner 1922-2014
It should be noted that there was a special ceremony to remember former Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner who passed away at age 91 during the off season. Ralph played ten years for the Pittsburgh Pirates‎ during his hall of fame career. He joined the Mets as a broadcaster when the team came into existence back in 1962. Ralph was always fun to listen to. He was notorious for botching up players' names when he was on the air. For example, he referred to the Late Gary Carter as Gary Cooper when he played for the Mets back in the mid 80's into the early 90's. Ralph also was known for having own post game show called Kiner's Korner where he interviewed players from the winning team after the game. Mets baseball won't be the same without hearing Ralph's voice. Thanks for the memories. In his honor, the Mets will be wearing a special patch all season. 

1st Pitch 1:13PM delivered by Mets' starter Dillon Gee
Since ‎the game was getting ready to start, I decided to watch the top of the first inning on the field level before I headed up to the royal court in section 516. When I finally got upstairs I got to see the usual people we know that go to see baseball games on a regular basis. They included Vincent Ascanio, Rich Wolber, Michael Abrams as well as some Mets season ticket holders who were back for another season. 

View from Royal Court in Section 516
As for the game we saw, the Mets started the season with a bang right off the bat after starter Dillon Gee retired the Nationals in the top of the first after allowing a single. The Mets got a clutch two out three run homer from left fielder Andrew Brown to take an early 3-0 lead against Nationals' ace pitcher, Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals responded as first baseman Adam LaRoche hit a two run homer to slice the Mets' lead to one at 3-2 in the second inning. The Mets tacked on another run as Eric Young Jr. hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2 after two innings. Stephen Strasburg settled down as he didn't give up any more runs. He left after going six innings while striking ten in the process. The Nationals got him off the hook when they scored twice in the seventh inning to tie the game at four. The Mets regained the lead, 5-4 in the bottom of the eighth inning when center fielder Juan Lagares lead off with a home run off former Yankee farmhand Tyler Clippard. The Nationals showed resiliency as they tied the game again at five as Denard Span drove a run with a two out double off Mets' closer Bobby Parnell. The game went into extra innings. The Nationals got a sacrifice fly from shortstop Ian Desmond to go back ahead, 6-5 in the top of the tenth inning. They got some insurance runs thanks to a three run homer by Anthony Rendon who made it, 9-5. The Mets made a comeback in the bottom of the tenth as they got a two out walk that was followed by a two run homer by David Wright to pull the Mets within two at 9-7 but reliever Jerry Blevins got Curtis Granderson to strike out looking to end the game. The Nationals picked up where they left off the second half of last season as they fought hard to earn the 9-7 victory.

After the game, the King, Vincent Ascanio & I took the subway to the World Trade Center where we got the Path train to go out to the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. We saw the Devils take on the Florida Panthers that night.

As for the game we saw, the Devils like the Mets got off to a fast start. They score three unanswered goals in the first half of the first period. The Panthers scored late to cut the lead to 3-1. In the second period, the Panthers made it 3-2. The Devils regained their two goal cushion as they found the net to go up, 4-2 but the Panthers came back to get within one again at 4-3 after two periods. Early in the third period, the Devils got a shorthanded goal to go up 5-3. Then they finally put the game away with another goal midway through the third period as they held off the persistent Panthers by a score of 6-3.

Stay tuned for a special post that I'm going to do about my pal Gio Gonzalez who started game two of the new baseball season. 

Thank you for reading ‎& following along.

Yours truly,

Gary Herman

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