While I was driving today from my workout at the gym, I started to think to myself how cool and exciting it is going to be to see Citi Field host this year’s MLB All-Star game. Prior to that thought, I punishingly began to have random flashbacks of all the ups and downs I’ve witnessed as a Mets fan and just how much I needed to see a stadium like Citi Field and a player like David Wright to once again be a part of a huge spectacle such as the All-Star game.
I wanted to share these thoughts with MetsBlog or to whomever else that would take the time to read how I felt about how much this means to me as a Mets fan. Before I let everything out, I for some reason feel that I should give a background on how I became a Mets fan: whether you care or not, here it goes.
I became a Mets fan during the ’99 playoffs. I was 10 years old at the time and it was just when they made their magical run to the NLCS. We would always travel from Virginia to visit my uncle and his kids in West Virginia practically every other weekend during my childhood and I would always notice how focused he was during Mets games. One day I finally gave into my curiosity and decided to watch with him Game 1 of the Mets and Braves NLCS series. I found myself extremely interested in the sport as he taught me the rules and the names of the Mets players. It wasn’t until that magical Game 5 when Robin Ventura had that breath-taking “Grand Slam single” to win the game in the bottom of the ninth, where I found myself hooked as a Mets fan especially after the perfect broadcast by Bob Costas when he screamed, “A drive to right… back to Georgia.” I remember that night so vividly, jumping up and down and immediately calling my uncle and rhetorically asking him if he saw that fantastic moment. After that game, I suffered my first Mets “ups and downs heartbreak” when they finally got eliminated in the following game in the bottom of the 11th inning in Atlanta when Kenny Rogers walked Andruw Jones with the bases loaded, which surrendered the pennant to the Braves. Though it was heartbreaking, I got over it very quickly because I was not as fully invested as I am today; nonetheless, I decided to follow them more closely from that point forward.The following the year I would suffer my second Mets “ups and downs heartbreak” as they would take all of us on that magical run once again, making it to the World Series only to let us down once again vs. the Yankees in a swift five game series. Personally, I was thinking to myself how lucky I was to be following a team that had made it to the NLCS one year and then to the World Series the following year, but little did I know the agony that I and the rest of the Mets faithfuls would endure for the next decade and a half.
The Mets from that point would turn into a very mediocre team for the next four years until 2005. On the way, the Mets had picked up two young, exciting and promising prospects that we all learned to know and love as Jose Reyes (June, 2003) and of course “Captain America” David Wright (July, 2004). So here I was in 2005 and the Mets had just finished a very promising season at 83-79 under new skipper Willie Randolph. That year we had picked up Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran and then in the following off-season had picked up the likes of Carlos Delgado, Paul Lo Duca and Billy Wagner. That’s when everything began to get exciting once again with a team I thought was primed to win the 2006 World Series. That was such a fun season for me personally; no other sports season in any other sport has matched the amount of fun that I had watching that team win so many memorable walk off games and battling back from early deficits. I still remember the game when David Wright hit the game winning single off of Mariano Rivera that flew over Jonny Damon’s head breaking a 6-6 tie in the bottom of the ninth. As I watched David jump up and down as he celebrated, that great come from behind victory was the very moment I had placed my hopes so high in that team that anything short of a World Series win would be a huge disappointment. I’ll fast forward to that dreaded Game 7 in October vs. the St. Louis Cardinals where the whole time I was thinking, “There’s no way our ride ends here.” My uncle would always tell me that in baseball you can tell when a team is going to win by the way the ball bounces for a particular team throughout the game; you can just imagine what was going through my head when Scott Rolen blasted Oliver Perez’s pitch, which led to Fox Broadcaster John Buck screaming, “A leap..AND A CATCH!” by Endy Chavez, who would then double up the runner to end the inning. In my mind after that play there was nothing but more assurance that this night would belong to the Mets. Then: that dreaded at-bat that still haunts my baseball dreams. Beltran looked at a called strike three, a curveball on the outside corner at the knees, and the ballgame was over. I was there in my living room shocked as to how such a great season could have come to an end in such a cruel way.
It certainly wouldn’t get better the following year as the Mets would find themselves with a seven-game lead on September 12, only to suffer a historic collapse by losing 12 of their last 17 games and missing the postseason. It is regarded as one of the worst collapses in MLB history. I sat there in my apartment in the dark as Tom Glavine, in what would be the final start of his Hall of Fame career, retired just one batter and allowed seven runs. That game once again was the “down” that immediately followed the “up,” a day when John Maine stabilized hope in the Mets faithful with a terrific 14 strikeout performance as the Mets routed the Marlins 13-0. At that time I started to think that the window for the current players was closing faster than a kid rolling down a hill on roller skates and that they had to take advantage of 2008. All of you know what happened in 2008 when the Mets somehow produced a carbon copy of the 2007 collapse, which I chose not to elaborate on.
So here we are five years later as the Mets carry a 40-49 record in July and are playing their best baseball of the season. Through the past 14 years I’ve always talked about games, trades and hypothetical off-season moves with my uncle and cousin. This year has been different, as you can tell, any optimism that they had has now diminished from their passionate Mets hearts. My uncle’s diminished interest has made me curious and disheartened the most; this man would DVR every game for the past 5 years and would watch every pitch until the “downs” would surface again. He would then sigh, turn off the TV and go to bed saying “maybe next year.” He now chooses not to watch any more games until he sees a better product on the field. It seems as if the magical 1986 and 2006 juices have finally made their way out of my uncle’s system to which I’m sure has also left the majority of Mets fans.
So I sit here randomly typing this message to tell everyone to hold on when you feel like letting go. On the eve of this All-Star game where our captain David Wright will be our ambassador for the Home Run Derby along with the All-Star game we as mets fans need to take a step back and enjoy this moment that we have patiently waited for and as we are doing that we need to appreciate what David Wright has done for us as a player. Once the all star festivities end we need to get behind this team for the second half of the season. As hard as it may be to feel optimistic about this franchise, we should all take a step back and embrace this Mets team as they enter the All-Star break and notice that this roster has no business being nine games back of a wild card spot. Although the majority of these players are battling for future jobs (whether with us or for future organizations), they still could have taken the mindset of worrying only about their individual stats and futures. However, here they are staying the course and following TC’s gameplan, which has produced seven wins in their last ten games. To all the die-hard Mets fans in New York City, let’s gather around this team and pack Citi Field like you once packed Shea Stadium and support this team to the end. I know it looks like a steep mountain to climb but it will only make it that much sweeter when the Mets are winning 90+ games again (and hopefully one day raising that World Series trophy). As I conclude, I will for the final time try to remind everyone that in order to have hope then you must always remember that Ya Gotta Believe.
Powered by Facebook Comments