As bad as things are these days for our Mets as they limp toward the end of their fifth straight losing season, I’m always amazed at the fans who keep continue to keep the faith and remain so optimistic.
Case in point… I gave away five pairs of tickets this week to see the Amazins take on the Milwaukee Brewers in what will be the last series of the 2013 season for the Mets.
Honestly, I didn’t expect much participation in the giveaway contests and sure enough the numbers were very low compared to past giveaways. It seems as most fans don’t even want to see the Mets for free.
When I gave away tickets to Opening Day and also Banner Day, I received over 300 entries. This week, I received about twenty for each contest. But what stuck out the most for me was how badly these few Met fans wanted to win those tickets. I got comments like “please pick me” and “I really want to see the team one more time this season.” It was kind of cool to see…
When I selected the five different winners, they all responded like they had just hit the lottery. I was touched by their reactions – amazed really. The thank you emails I received and the words within them made be proud to be a part of the same exclusive club as them – Die-Hard Met Fans.
There’s still a lot of Met fans who root for this team no matter how desperate things are. Those are the ones that always keep the faith no matter what and are rewarded the most when things do get better – and they always do.
During Wednesday night’s game when Josh Satin gave the Mets their walk-off win, I saw a few things leading up to the final game-ending moment.
After walks by Lucas Duda and Juan Lagares with one out in the bottom of the ninth, and the team down by three runs, pinch hitter Zach Lutz laced a double to score Duda and put the tying runs on base with rookie catcher Juan Centeno coming to the plate. It was a critical moment and even with the Mets mathematically eliminated, you could still cut the tension with a knife.
As Centeno kicked the dirt in the batters box, the cameras panned to a mother and her daughter near field level – both of them with their hands clasped in prayer and these anxious, but hopeful looks on their faces. They were so locked into the moment they had no idea they were on TV.
The cameras glided to the left to small group of fans and I saw two teenage kids sweating bullets with their eyes glued to the plate, fists clenched, and their lips murmuring something – perhaps a prayer.
Centeno pokes a hard grounder through the infield on the first pitch he sees and Lagares comes scampering home, putting the tying run on third and the winning run on first.
The small gathering that is still left erupts in approval. You could see a few couples in the stands hugging after Don Juan scored, while those around them waved their arms and caps as the momentum kept building.
After Anthony Recker came in to pinch run for Centeno, Matt den Dekker draws a walk to load the bases. Once again the camera pans into the seats and finds pockets of fans with their rally caps on as the place begins to chant Lets Go Mets, Lets Go Mets, Lets Go Mets…
I was mesmerized by these fans I kept seeing flash across my big screen. Look at them all… They didn’t seem like the fans that complain all day long on Mets blogs and on Mets Twitter. These were the real fans, the ones I always considered myself to be a part of. Nobody at Citi Field at that moment were thinking about protected draft picks or about Qualcomm. No, these Met fans were of the Orange and Blue variety and were there for one thing and one thing only, a home team victory. These are the true die-hards – the best of the best.
Omar Quintanilla strikes out and now the Mets are down to their last out. Dead silence. It took all the enthusiasm and steam out of the remaining loyalists, but everywhere the camera went - there they were - all on their feet now – and all of them zoned in on Josh Satin.
Strike one, as a slider catches the inside corner. You could hear the “Ahhhhs” as Satin stepped back and then right into the box again.
After taking a ball outside, strike two!
The bat never left Satin’s shoulder.
The Mets were down to their last strike.
After another ball to even the count at 2-2 and after four straight sliders, Keith Hernandez says, “he’s gonna throw Satin a fastball here. He needs to be looking fastball here.”
Mex was right. SMACK – it’s a line drive to left fielder Gregor Blanco…
Zach Lutz scores…
Anthony Recker scores…
The Mets win the ballgame!
The remaining fans were all rewarded and treated to a great comeback win as they scored four runs in the ninth to beat the Giants 5-4.
But this wasn’t about the win for me… The win was great, but also meaningless like all the games we play this September.
This was about the true Met fans, the ones who still watch, the ones who still go, the ones who love the team and root for them no matter how dire things look.
Those are my kind of Met fans… Those are the ones that are 100% Metsmerized…