If this blog is a Moleskine journal, kept for my thoughts on the Mets, it has been tucked away in a drawer somewhere, the ribbon bookmark holding my place towards the end of the regular season.
I started this blog in March of 2012, one year, to the month, before my first daughter was born, and three full calendar turns, plus a half rotation more, before my second little girl entered the world. In that March of the fourth season that Citi Field had been in existence, the Mets were abysmal, gloomy. I was living in the nation’s capital, where the Nats, petulant as their homophonous insect, abruptly found success, as if perfectly timed for me being there. Back then, writing in this same blog editor, it was unfathomable to believe that the Mets would advance to the National League Championship Series before the Nats.
Well, they just did.
Daniel Murphy, bearded, cleat-heel firmly planted, drove another ball into the right-field stands, his third home run of the series, his second at Dodger Stadium, all against the marquee pitchers L.A. kept throwing. This, after Murphy made the play of the game, baserunning. Standing on first, after Lucas Duda walked, he soft-pedaled to second base, where the infamous take-out slide by Chase Utley had sent the series into a frenzy in Game 2. As cameras looked away and fans checked their phones and the Dodgers slept, he bolted for third. He was now in scoring position with one out, stupefying Mets fans who have suffered through a career of his basepath blunders. The player that the organization will likely neglect in the offseason—as they once did with Justin Turner who was the Dodgers’ series MVP—tagged up on a sac fly by Travis d’Arnaud and jogged ninety feet to touch home, the same plate he would cross two innings later as reward for his home run, tallying the second and third runs, or the difference on the scoreboard between a Mets win and loss.
The Mets advance to play the Cubs, who are America’s new obsession, the inimitable underdog. At a table full of Blue Jays, Royals, and Cubs fans, a Mets fan is left feeling privileged by their postseason history, the way an alcoholic must feel in a room full of coke addicts. Our struggle is real; but look at the cuts on the Cubs fans’ arms, non-healing scars, collagen unsuited for 107 years of tension. Of course, equating baseball futility to addiction is imperfect; we don’t seek sobriety, we hope to escape it.
My name is Jeff—I have been championship sober for 29 years.
I made a conscience choice to root for the Mets, Jets, Leafs, and Knicks. I could have been a Boston sports fan—but we’ve been over that. Still, my self-pity won’t relax. How can America feel bad for Cubs fans? Don’t they realize that Cubs fans are probably Bulls fans and Blackhawks fans? Don’t they see how many championships my sports fan equivalent in Chicago has seen her teams win? This isn’t about Billy Goats or black cats or Steve Bartman; this is about me. One of my teams is finally good! I deserve this—and your pity.
When I started this blog, I wanted a place where my frustrations and excitements could find form. Rather than inundate my friends with texts, or my wife with tirades during early dinners made to eat before first pitch, I could punish the computer screen; something I did until I decided to focus my limited time on other writing forms. But when the Mets win a do-or-die game to advance to the National League Championship Series, it deserves a blog post. Bookmark now reinserted.