So, what have I been up to over the past week? Well, for one, I was working on this article for Mets Geek (go check it out - it's a nice mixture of number-crunching and awesome moments from the first half, if I do say so myself). I was also suffering through the West Coast road trip. I can't argue with the outcome - as I said last week, the Mets needed to win 4 of 7, which is exactly what they did (of course, I wasn't expecting that to result in the division lead increasing by 2 games, with the Braves facing the Reds and Cardinals at home). However, every 10 PM (or later - Friday's game started at 10:40, for crying out loud!) start time reminded me that while seeing out-of-division teams more than 6 times a year might be nice in theory, in practice 1 road series against each NL West team is more than enough. There were poundings of aces and struggles against mediocrities, comebacks squandered, thwarted, and thrillingly realized, there was Duque at his best, Glavine at his worst, and Wagner at his craziest (but crazy like a fox). It was as exciting and exasperating as any other stretch of games might be, but considerably more exhausting, with the lack of sleep affecting me more and more as the week wore on (by the end of the week, my sleep patterns had been thrown completely out of whack and I was such a zombie in the morning that I would be at work by the time I realized that the shirt and skirt I was wearing didn't match). Maybe I was just overly sensitive to the break from the norm this time around - the previous West Coast trips this season took place before I started my summer job and had to wake up early in the morning - but when the games end so late that the morning paper can't tell you how they unfolded, you start to wonder who could possibly enjoy those 10 PM starts.
I'm sure that fans of West Coast teams have similar gripes about the East Coast trips, where the night games start when fans of the visiting team are still at work and getaway days start just in time for breakfast, but what about the Mets fans located in the Pacific time zone? My uncle, a lifelong Mets fan who moved to Los Angeles in 2005 and kept his Saturday plan at Shea, doesn't seem to be bothered all that much by the time differences. While he only gets to see the Mets in person when they go out West or when he's able to coordinate a necessary business trip to New York with a Mets homestand, with the help of things like Extra Innings and MLB.TV and satellite radio he can follow the games pretty much as he could back when he lived in Queens. Night games? He TiVos, then fast-forwards through the commercials when he gets home from work. Sunday starts at 1 PM Eastern? According to him, Mets games go great with Sunday breakfast. The one area where out-of-market fans really get the short end of the stick is Saturday afternoon, when everything except the Fox game is blacked out until 7 Eastern/4 Pacific (even if, for example, it's a Mets game that ends before the Fox games are scheduled to start).
The way my uncle describes it, being a Mets fan on the West Coast is a pretty sweet deal. If I didn't love New York so much, I might try it myself (that, and the whole not-having-a-driver's-license thing - I don't think someone who can't drive would survive out there for more than a week.)