When people ask me why I root for the NY Mets, I tend to pause and try to form the answer in my head but I find that it’s too complicated to explain to the uninitiated. Not just fans of other teams but mostly to those who are not baseball fans at all. Yesterday would have been the perfect day to take all the non-baseball fans I know to Citi Field and expose them to that amazing phenomenon we know and love as Mets baseball.
Yesterday was a day of pure love and total affection for a team and a player who has won over our hearts. No talk of claw backs, bridge loans, trades and overall angst of another losing season. No this day was a throwback to the kind of parties we used to throw in our old house where no one cared if you spilled some beer on the floor or scattered empty packages of Guldens mustard and your cup holder was the cracked concrete under your seat not some fancy schmanzy do-hickey thingy in front of your seat. Yesterday was a day where Mets fans said just because we moved on up to a dee-lux ballpark in sky, that we forget where we came from and it was about time we started acting like the who we are loyal, boisterous, opinionated and most importantly knowing how to have a good time at the ballpark baseball fans that we are.
The day was about R.A. Dickey and the spotlight deserves to shine brightly on Dickey who I have had the honor of meeting a few times at Citi Field and he mesmerizes me during each and every visit I’ve had with him, and it was about who we are as Mets fans. R.A. Dickey is why we are Mets fans. Dickey’s story is our story; it’s the essence of Metsdom. Once a first round pick ready to sign for 7 figure bonus until an x-ray shows his right elbow is missing a valuable piece of tendon which knocks that bonus down a couple of figures. He knocked around the big leagues for a while but without much success, Dickey was ready to throw in the towel and try a new profession but something told him to try one more time. He learn a pitch that no one respects and writers belittle him that he is trying to get hitters out with smoke and mirrors but the critics are ignorant to the time and sweat equity you’ve put into making this pitch work for you. Other men who have had success with this pitch answer your call for help and you not only master the pitch but get to the point where the pitch and your personal perseverance pays off where you are now consider the best starting pitcher in your league. Forget Hollywood, that’s Flushing Baby!!!
That’s us in a nut shell, why is it that during the bleakest of times during a down season we all see a vision in our heads of Tug McGraw slamming his glove into his thigh and the words YA GOTTA BELIEVE!! Flashing all around in out subconscious? I imagined Casey, Mrs. Payson, Gil, and Tug looking down yesterday at the scene at Citi Field Casey telling Mrs. Payson “Amazin’ Amazin’ Amazin’” and Gil speaking out loud “see what some toughness and believing in one another can achieve”? and Tug hovering over by the seats in center field with the crew from the 7 Line yelling “Can I get a beer here”?
I’m sure many of the younger members of this Mets team was surprised by the passion and exuberance of the crowd yesterday for many of them it was there first time seeing the true blue and orange Mets fan doing his and her thing. Oh they have seen big opening day crowds but opening day is mostly amateur hour as a lot of the suits and ties think it’s good day too to take the corporate tickets and act like assholes. Closing day is where you separate the posers from the die hards.
What a difference from last year’s final game at Citi Field to this year. Last year was freezing with a cold drizzle and there were maybe 2,000 folks at the game but we were there to see Jose Reyes win a batting crown and to thank him for being Jose Reyes since the odds were good he would be an ex-Met in 2012. Reyes of course reciprocated our coming out to cheer him on by bunting and then bidding the game and the Mets fond farewell. It left us stunned and angry.
Yesterday after morning rain the sun came out it was a bit muggy but not uncomfortable and the man we came to see was not only happy to see us but thank us for our undying support. So it was much better closing day at Citi Field than last year and hopefully closing day in 2013 will be even better after winning a World Series championship. Am I out of mind? No but after yesterday I just Gotta Believe!.