My Mets Evolution, 40 Years And Still Believin’
On Saturday, February 23rd the Mets open up their spring training schedule with a game against the Washington Nationals. The game is schedule to be broadcast on SNY at 12:00 PM, and I plan on being in front of my TV and watching it…
Baseball is back, and what could be better?
For me, the 2103 season marks a personal milestone, it will be my 40th season as a Met fan. Not too bad considering I’ll be 50 in December. Mathematically, it means I will have spent 80% of my life rooting for the Mets.
People often ask me why… Why do I root for the Mets, they lose all the time? You live in New York, and you’re not a Yankee Fan? There is no simple answer, except to say the Mets are a part of me. I’d like to go into some reasons why I am, and will always continue to be a Mets fan.
First and foremost, I believe the Mets in many ways represent us. They go out and play with the best of intentions, they work hard, they try to do the right things, but more often than not they fall short of their ultimate goal – in their case, a World Series.
But, can’t the same be be said of all of us? Those of us who are lucky to have jobs, go to work day in and day out with the best of intentions. We do our best to excel and meet those expectations our employers have for us. But no matter how hard we try and despite our strongest efforts, we don’t always get that raise or promotion we strove so hard for.
The same goes for students who are still in school. They study, they work hard, but very few of them get those coveted 4.0 averages.
But isn’t it true that during those times when we do succeed… Those times when we do get that promotion… Those times when we do get that 4.0 average… Or those times when the Mets do win a World Series… There is no greater high or feeling in the universe.
I also like that the Mets are “counter culture”. In their infancy, the Mets were so unique, and so different from the Yankees, that they were embraced. We loved our Lovable Losers right from the start!
The same is true today. The Yankees are just a collection of pinstriped suits and wing tips, while the Mets wear their shorts and flip-flops. The Mets are, and should be unapologetic, in what I refer to as their Metscentric behaviors. This year the Yankees will have their annual old-timers day celebration, and all the all-time Yankee greats will show up at the Stadium and take a bow. The Mets, on the other hand will be having their annual Banner Day Parade. Fans from all over will march around Citi Field displaying their art work and love for the Mets. I participated in Banner Day back in the late 1980′s and what a thrill it was!
Some other great Metscentric things include: Mettle the Mule from the 1970′s, those old bullpen carts with baseball caps on them, the Home Run Apple, the Sign Man, Bob Murphy’s “Happy Recap’, Howie Rose’s ‘Put it in the Books”, the Curly Shuffle, Professor Reyes teaching Spanish between innings, Meet The Mets, Kiner’s Korner, and of course the King of all things Mets, Mr. Met! Who doesn’t smile when they see Mr. Met?
During a typical baseball season, I’ll catch between 120-130 Met games, either on SNY or WFAN. That’s a lot of baseball games, and I’ve forgotten so many of them. What I choose to remember are special moments like in 1973, when Bud Harrelson and Pete Rose slugged it out in the NLCS. The day Tom Seaver was traded. The dark days of the late 1970′s and how the magic did come back in the 1980s just as they said it would.
I’ve been to playoff games both in 1988 and 2006, what a thrill. October baseball is very nice, but Shea Stadium was a cold venue to watch a baseball game, but they never ran out of hot chocolate to keep us warm.
I still get tears in my eyes thinking about that night in September 2001 when baseball returned and truth be told, it was my proudest time of being a New Yorker and a Met fan. Last June, we received the biggest surprise of all, when after 50 years, Johan Santana threw the first ever Met’s no hitter.
As usual, the media, Yankee fans, and sadly even some Met fans are throwing in the towel on the 2013 season for the Mets. Truth be told it’s easier to be negative than be positive. But if you can’t be positive in the Spring, when you can you be?
A few years ago the Tampa Bay Rays were picked to finish last, and they shocked everyone. Last year’s Baltimore Orioles came from complete obscurity and gave the American League East a run for their money. So who says our Mets can’t do the same in the NL East? They have five very solid arms in their rotation and even Gil Hodges would tell you, “that’s where it all begins.”
The infield is set, and although it’s unpopular to say so, I think it’s a pretty damn good infield and stacks up well against our rivals. Sure there are question marks in the outfield, but what if one or two of these guys surprise us? And we didn’t exactly have a Herculean outfield in 2000, when we made it all the way to the World Series!
Why am I a Met fan? Why do I believe? Why do I have have faith in this team?
As Natalie Wood said in Miracle on 34th Street, “Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to”.
Unless the Mets are mathematically eliminated, I will always believe in them. And no matter how each season ends, every February my belief in the Mets is fully restored. For now and always; LETS GO METS!!
About the Author: Gregg Hopps
Gregg lives on Long Island, and has been a Mets fan since Bud Harrelson and Pete Rose slugged it out in the 1973 playoffs. "Keith Hernandez is the best defensive first baseman to ever have played baseball."
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