Congratulations. Congratulations on your well-earned National League Pennant. For a while there, I never thought this day would come, and now I can only say one thing: I’m sorry. I’m truly sorry my fandom for you ever waned. This is not me hopping aboard the bandwagon, for I’ve always been a supporter. This is me coming to my senses, not taking leave of them.
All my life, I have been surrounded by loud and proud Yankee fans (emphasis on the LOUD). Every baseball season, it’s the same old story: the Yankees and their fans brag about shit-ton of championships they bought… I mean won, while the Mets biggest accomplishment in the past 20 years was Keith Hernandez’s Seinfeld appearance. Yet, despite being blinded by pinstripes, I stayed true to my team of permanent underdogs. The universe wasn’t yet graced with my presence for the 1986 World Series, so the Mets of the 90s/2000s are all I have. I’ll always remember Mike Piazza’s calm demeanor in the batter’s box, before he would unleash a lightning bolt of a swing that’d send the baseball to the nearest runway at LaGuardia. I’ll also never forget the likes of John Olerud, Al Leiter, John Franco, Eduardo Alfonso… all these guys were my baseball heroes back when I could barely swing an aluminum bat. The Mets didn’t always sport the best players in the MLB, and but these guys were MY players, dammit, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
But then I went to college in Philadelphia during the first year of what I like to call the “Great Mets Collapse,” and suddenly being a Mets fan wasn’t so easy. Of course, the Phillies just happened to be on the rise those years while the Mets choked more than Pierce Brosnan eating a piece of shrimp. In Philadelphia, Phillie fans came out of the woodwork, if only to join the #LOLMets bandwagon. I was humiliated. I was suddenly being persecuted for my beliefs in a team that always wanted us to believe in them. Instead of my folk heroes of youth, all I had to cling onto (other than Mr. Met in human form: David Wright) was Jason Bay, Ike Davis, and… for some reason… Gary Sheffield.
I was angry. I mean, you guys were involved in a fucking Ponzi scheme for Christ sake! How was I supposed to defend you? I never wanted it to be like this. Because of all this, the Mets were no longer on my radar. Baseball, in general, had become a dying interest of mine. In the past, I always had room for the Mets despite my rabid New York Ranger obsession. Yet during these years, I felt betrayed, and it was hard to find a silver lining in my Mets.
Within the last few years, I began to appreciate the beauty of baseball again, coming to terms with my team’s mediocrity. I mean, the Mets couldn’t be bad forever right? Baseball, at least to me, is about hanging out with family or friends in the summer, having a few beers, and watching a game develop and grow. That’s what the American dream is all about, and that’s what summer should be about. I came to this realization last year at Citi Field, for a meaningless game between the Mets and the Miami Marlins. It was just my dad and I, and despite the Mets losing 5 – 1, we still had the best time; just two guys drinking, bonding, and enjoying a warm summer night. The Mets were back on my radar again, and after this year, they have become more than just a fleeting blip.
So, my dearest New York Mets, I hope you will forgive me. This has been one hell of a season, and man, it has been damn fun to watch. Your pitching, your guts, your crying short stops, and your otherworldly 2nd baseman have given me hope in this gutsy little team of superheroes from Queens. The darker the days, the sweeter the light is at the end, and right now, this light is shining brightly. As I mentioned earlier, Yankee fans may be loud, but that sound is fading. We Met fans have kept our mouths shut all these years, and for the first time in a long time, our vocal chords are warmed up and ready to be heard.
You’ve already made us proud this season, and perhaps you have conquered the biggest accomplishment of all: you have made us Met fans believe in the amazin’ again. As for me, I’m sorry it took so long for me to catch up. I just got stuck.