Dear Pops,

Well, Angie and me made it. We drove all the way from Queens to
Colorado to see the Mets' opener. We wanted to see them get off to
a good start and see if this new Coors Field is any good, and,
besides, I still got that problem with the warrant.

Anyways, you would not believe the things we saw. First off,
these Colorado people are Grade A suckers. On Wednesday, the day
of the opener, there was five inches of snow on the ground, and
at game time, 5:35, it was 39. So me and Angie figured we'd take
two choice ducats off some poor sap for the price of a hot
pastrami on rye, because who wants to watch a game in that? But
we get there, and there's already a line waiting at the gate --
and some people had been there since two in the morning!

You know how attendance was down by like, half, all over the
country for Opening Day? Well, this Coors Field place didn't quite
sell out, but it came within 3,000 of it, which isn't bad for
getting people to come sit in a freezer and do Popsicle
impersonations. And it wasn't like nobody hadn't seen it yet.
Counting exhibitions, this was the seventh game there already! Me
and Angie's seats were pretty high, but we didn't mind because the
stands are so close to the field that we were practically looking
down at the buttons on the players' hats, and, besides, Angie had
downtown Denver off her right shoulder and I had the Rocky
Mountains off my left.

Pops, I gotta say, this Coors Field ain't bad. It's got all the
cool old- time stuff, like a hand-operated scoreboard in
rightfield, and all the cool new stuff, like one of those
microbrew pubs just beyond rightfield. Only thing was, we were
freezing because all we had on were our leather jackets, and
everybody else looked like they were ready to hit the slopes.

When it got dark it just got colder, and, still, me and Angie
couldn't move down to a better seat because almost nobody left,
all of them smiling and beating on their ski coats to clap and
keep warm at the same time. You gotta cancel the game to get them
to leave, and I bet you could cancel one and still get 15,000.
There was so much good feeling in that ballpark, what with the
field full of marching bands and Little League teams and the whole
place belting out Take Me Out to the Ballgame during the
seventh-inning stretch that I felt a real desire in my heart to
hurl. I tried to tell Angie, but she was singing too loud.

And the worst thing of it was, the stupid Rockies beat us. See,
they're like those new cars out now -- they got their own crumple
zone, and it goes: Larry Walker hitting third, Andres Galarraga
fourth and Dante Bichette fifth. Those guys wrecked us for six
hits, including four doubles and a homer, and eight RBIs. Three
times we were within an out or two of winning -- the ninth, the
13th and the 14th -- and all three times the Rockies stayed
alive.

In the 14th inning the seats were still half full, even though
they'd stopped serving beer seven innings before that. The fans
sang during a second seventh-inning stretch, and then this guy
Bichette beat us by jacking a three-run homer into left, and who
do you think catches it but Angie herself. And just about then I
look over at some maniac wearing only a T-shirt that reads,
BICHETTE HAPPENS.

Anyway, these people got no clue how to be real baseball fans. I
just wanted to write and tell you that and also ask you to mail us
our stuff. I can't get Angie to leave.

Yours, Vinnie

COLOR PHOTO:WILLIAM R. SALLAZA mile-high view of Coors Field, where the beer wasn't the only thing ice-cold on Opening Day. [aerial view of Coors Field and downtown Denver]

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)