Sunday, August 13, 2017

Why I Am A Mets Fan

I suppose it was a matter of time before I would decide to write about this subject.

People ask me all the time why I am a Mets fan, whenever I mention that I am attending my family’s annual pilgrimage to Shea (now Citifield) Stadium to witness the fireworks game. We go to tailgate. We go to be together, a family of disparate people, in various geographic locations. We are touchstones to each other’s childhoods. We are the people who contain the truth of who each of us is that needs refreshing from time to time.

But the food and festivities are not the reason I am a Mets fan. If my mother were alive, she would talk about coming from Brooklyn and the heartbreak her father felt when the Brooklyn Dodgers left for the Left Coast. I suspect this is not uncommon for many older Mets fans.

The epicenter of Yankee fandom is Manhattan, whereas for the Mets, it tends to be the suburbs which included Brooklyn, Queens, New Jersey and Long Island. (So much so, that Nassau County, L.I. colors are Blue and Orange – colors the Mets adopted, presumably to appeal to that demographic.)
But that is romantic backstory.

As for my personal experience, I can point to a time before baseball was a business, before the Curt Flood legal precedent, before ESPN, when as a seventh grader I became enamored of the 1969 Miracle Mets. I recall sneaking transistor radios with single ear pieces (stereo? what was that?) into Catholic grammar school to listen to the playoff games during the day! During the day!

Watching the Mets win their unlikely 1969 series against a superior Baltimore team was the precursor to the Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE” cri de coeur which has become so common in my household, now living in Western Massachusetts.  I recognize the landscape of the impossible from these experiences, and I push on because of them.

The annual trek to see the “Amazin’s” is in part about family, but it is also about teaching my adult children to be Mets fans because they suck. What is life if not misery? If you can find joy, hope, camaraderie, and love in the midst of it all, nothing can beat you, nothing! We celebrate food and the community that food represents in the cycle of seasonal disappointment, nothing can beat you.

That is what this fireworks game means to me. That is what being a Mets fan means to me.

It’s not about bragging rights, or overcoming some curse, or even just being the perennial lovable losers other franchises are. It's the continuous potential for the miraculous in an otherwise predictable, often mean world.


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