God, I love this sport. Regardless of the drama, the headlines (good and bad), and the storylines that are interwoven throughout the league. This is indeed my favorite sport. I’m one of the biggest NY Giants fan on the planet and still there is something about baseball that transcends color, gender, and culture. It can bring people together from different parts of the world and unite them with one rallying cry and a swing of the bat. I can’t think of a sport where the fans clamor and wait practically all year long just to hit the stadiums and see their favorite teams play, to smell the grass (in most cases), to soak in their teams’ favorite colors everywhere their eyes can see, and anxiously awaiting the opening pitch.
I got to be honest. When I look at what was projected for the league and the best and worst teams for 2010, I never imagined that after 20 or so games in, that every single division without exception is up for grabs. Practically, anyone can have their time in first place. Who among us could have predicted that the New York Mets would have the longest current winning streak in the entire league at six games? In the words of the immortal Nature Boy Ric Flair, “What’s causing all this?”
Maybe it’s the reversal of fortunes in the starting pitching ranks. A few pitchers that were highly touted and expected to carry their teams to greater fortunes in their divisions may shed a little light on this. Names like Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd, Jair Jurrjens, Kenshin Kawakami, Tim Wakefield, and Jon Lester come to mind. When you have two pitchers on your roster that go south so early, it gives hope to a lot of their competition. These struggles shouldn’t last long but it has opened the door for more “balance” than originally expected. Then you have names that were unexpected that are surprising such as The Mets’ Mike Pelfrey, Tyler Clippard of Washington, Kevin Correia, and Barry Zito. This game is so exciting to follow. It’s better when your team is winning, but how could you not love the sport of baseball?
A friend from school asked me who do I think will go to the World Series. That’s one of those random questions that some ask just to promote dialogue. I recognize that but although I had thoughts originally on the topic, now I’m uncertain. It’s not the twenty games played. It’s not the temporary of some of the starting pitching. Admittedly, it’s just a feeling that anything can happen. The Mets can win the Wild Card. The Tampa Bay Rays can win their division. The San Diego Padres can make the playoffs and go deeper than they have in years past. The Oakland A’s can shock the world and upend the perennial Anaheim Angels in their division.
There’s a sense that nothing is off limits. It reminds me of the hypothethical superpower (insert team here and then insert sport here, whether it’s college basketball, the NFL, etc.) that faces off against the team that is there that no one expected. They don’t have the parts or the firepower but somehow they are there facing that dominant force. Oddsmakers lose their minds because they are expecting a huge pay day. Newspaper headlines are flushed with David and Goliath references and Cinderella buildups. There’s no way this team should even be in the building. But they are. They really don’t stand a chance but there they are on the other side of the field, staring into the eyes of destiny. That’s the absolute beauty of this sport because regardless of the never ending dispute between optimism and reality, numbers vs. hope, your team has a chance to do something great at any given moment. If college basketball teams that are almost impossible to find on a map can go to the Final Four or a team that wasn’t supposed to go to the playoffs defeat an undefeated team and win a Super Bowl, then quite frankly, anything can happen. Especially in baseball.
So don’t be ashamed to be excited and don’t think that things can’t turn around. We all see things that can be improved and we would like to have them as soon as possible because we are desperate for another run at a championship. Mets fans want it. Mets fans deserve it. And in my humble opinion, Mets fans are going to have it. If you get nothing else from this post, know that anything can happen. Your team can be looking right into the face of destiny and a world championship. Your team being the Amazin’s, the New York Metropolitans playing the greatest sport in the world. LGM! LGM! LGM!