6/14/12 | 326 views
Keeping the Faith Through Subway Series
Just when things were looking up for Mets fans like me, our heroes faced the Yankees in the latest version of the Subway Series this past weekend. We all know how that turned out, don’t we. Three games in the loss column, as easy as one, two, three.
Until this past week, the season was on an upswing. It was June already, and the Mets, far from falling off the pace, were actually challenging for first place. How they were doing it, I’m not quite sure, with a lineup largely filled with minor league call-ups and players cast off by other clubs. But manager Terry Collins had the Mets playing together like a team that didn’t realize they weren’t supposed to be very good.
Third baseman David Wright was slugging the ball better than he had in years, maybe ever. Pitcher R.A. Dickey was twisting the opposition into knots as they flailed at his knuckleball.
And Johan Santana, well all he did was throw the team’s first-ever no-hitter, in this the Mets’ 51st season. I picked up that game in the sixth inning and the TV announcers were already talking about the possibility. I knew the drill all too well, having watched many times before as the team’s pitchers inevitably fell short of baseball history. After all, they had tossed 35 one-hitters through the years. The only way a Mets pitcher had previously thrown a no-hitter was to get traded to another team, and then toss one for his new club. That had happened plenty of times.
The night of June 1 was different, however. By the seventh inning, my wife had joined me on the couch in our family room. We were supposed to be going out that evening. That would have to wait, I told her, until Mets history was either made or not. A terrific running catch by outfielder Mike Baxter, who held on to the ball after slamming into the leftfield fence made it look like it might just be Johan’s night.
As the outs piled up, calls and texts started coming in from friends and relatives who wanted to share the moment. And what a moment it was. When Santana’s final pitch was missed, my wife and I both screamed “Yes” at the top of our lungs. So loud, in fact, that our daughter, who was upstairs, later said she thought someone was breaking into the house when she heard the commotion.
I prefer to think of it as a collective release of emotions. It is not always easy to be a Mets fan in New York. But your team is your team, good, bad or somewhere in between. As long as I’ve followed baseball, and that’s a long time, the Mets have always been the one to root for. I came into the team’s fold just after their first championship season in 1969. Four years later, when they won the National League pennant, my family was among the true believers who adopted the “Ya Gotta Believe” catchphrase of ace reliever Tug McGraw. Heck, we even named our puppy, Tug.
Of course, Mets fans have suffered through many endless summers. Such losing teaches you the value of perseverance and patience. Add in the values of loyalty and faith that better days are right around the corner and you begin to understand what motivates a true Mets fan.
It has nothing to do with how the Yankees are doing. You don’t have to know much about baseball to understand that they are a consistently good team. However, they play in the other league, so the only time we match up against them is during interleague play, or in the World Series.
It’s never fun losing three in a row to the Yankees. But it doesn’t shake my faith in the Mets. They’re my team and I’m sticking with them. Let’s go, Mets!
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