Friday, September 27, 2013

My Life As A Mets Fan...

My Life Is A Mess Mets

I have been asked over the last many decades as to why I am a Mets fan.  From the devastating World Series loss to the Oakland A’s in 1973 when they had a three games to two lead going into game six…and lost; a multitude of one hitters before Johan broke that trend last June 1st; an incomprehensible play-off loss to the Dodgers in 1988 and Cardinals in 2006; trading away such future stars as Nolan Ryan, Ken Singleton, Amos Otis, Jeff Reardon, etc. The list is voluminous.

So, why am I, why are we Mets fans?

My Journey into Mets Fandom began in the ’73 season when I was a youngster. I remember being in tears when I saw the A’s assaulting each other after their game 7 World Series win.

My grandfather, who was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan from around the early 19 teens (approx 1912 or so) became a Mets fan after the Dodgers left and National League baseball wasn’t re-kindled until 1962.

He bought me my first Mets yearbook in 1974, and I have everyone from that year through this year; brought me, along with my father, to my first Mets game on June 1, 1975, and told me countless stories about the Mets predecessor, the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Am I a fan because of the great teams they’ve put on the field during my lifetime? Not quite. There have been some great characters, from Tug McGraw to Willie Montanez to Jeff Innis to Turk Wendell, but none will be enshrined in Cooperstown. We only have one, and that is Tom Seaver, who was not only traded away, but came back…only to be left unprotected and scooped up by the Chicago White Sox.

Am I a fan because of the way ownership understands the game and fans, and always puts the best possible product on the field? If that were the case, I would need intense therapy.

Over the years I have seen my team trade away Rusty Staub for Mickey Lolich, Tug McGraw for Del Unser, Tom Seaver for Steve Henderson, Doug Flynn, Dan Norman, and Pat Zachary, Mookie Wilson for Jeff Musselman, Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell for Juan Samuel…they’ve made some pretty horrendous trades.

They have also made some solid trades; the best ever being Rick Ownbey and Neil Allen for Keith Hernandez on June 15, 1983. Trading Hubie Brooks, Floyd Youmans, and Herm Winningham for the late Gary Carter was key too. Even giving up some young talent for Johan wasn’t such a bad idea. Not all the trades were bad.

I can remember in the mid and late 1970’s going to a ballpark where you could count the patrons on one hand. I have also been at some sold out games too.

So why be a Mets fan? That question might be answered by better minds than mine, but this I will offer:

I love going to the park to see this team – whether they are 50 games below .500, barely .500, or win 100 games, I enjoy seeing the game played. Why this team? I have always believed the Mets players were always a more blue collar type than the Yankees players; I feel as a fan, I was always better able to relate to the Mets players and organization.

This team has given me heartaches, ulcers, and migraines; they have also shown me some great moments – being at Gary Carter’s first game in a Mets uniform opening day 1985, being at game 6 of NLCS in 2006, sitting in the K corner during Gooden’s glory years, seeing Gary Sheffield’s 500th career HR, seeing Ike Davis’ first career HR, and many more.

Maybe I follow…adore this team because they play in the National League. Maybe it is because they were able to fleece to Marlins for Mike Piazza. Maybe it’s because I’m hopeless.

Maybe it’s because my life is a mess Mets.

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