Small, white garbage bags swirled in the outfield as napkins cascaded down from the upper tiers of Citi Field.
Winds, gusting well over 30 mph during yesterday's game, made fielding the ball an unenviable task. But some players wondered if lazy litterbugs also were to blame.
"I've never seen a stadium that has this much trash in it," said starter John Maine, who pitched a gem in the Mets' 7-3 win. "It's like people don't know where the trash cans are. It's unbelievable. There were a couple of times in Wrigley, because of all the wind, but this seems to be the only stadium that has all that trash. Every time it's windy, it always does that."
The debris was much more of an issue in the outfield, where the churning gusts grabbed hold of loose papers and settled them in the green expanse beyond the infield dirt. The grounds crew hurriedly worked to remove what trash it could in between innings, but by the seventh, their efforts were to no avail.
"It was everywhere, man," rightfielder Jeff Francoeur said. "There were hot dog wrappers flying around, cotton candy wrappers. I was waiting for the ball to get wrapped up in one of those and come my way."
The windy conditions also hindered batters.
"At some points, you kind of got blown over or blown back," first baseman Ike Davis said. "It just made you concentrate more because you know when the ball is hit, it's going to do funny things."
Said Francoeur: "Whether you want to or not, you can't help but see the garbage blowing by you."
Maine said he had to step off the mound "quite a few times" to avoid getting called for a balk because of the wind. But if he was disturbed by the conditions, he didn't show it. He allowed three runs in six innings and struck out nine.
As for the garbage, Davis said with a laugh: "I don't think I've ever seen that much trash on the field. We didn't know if the fans were throwing the garbage or what."