Raising a Mets Fan

Happy Harvey Anniversary

I know where I was three years ago. I was sitting in front of the TV in my basement watching Matt Harvey make his major league debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was important to watch that game because it was the first glimmer of hope Mets fans since the collapses closing out Shea. 

It’s been a whirlwind since then. He started by striking out Gerardo Parra (yes, that Gerardo Parra) in a record setting 11 K, 5.1 inning shutout win. He would finish 3-5 with a 2.73 ERA in 10 starts. He showed us glimpses of his potential. 

In 2013, he started out like gangbusters. From the outset, he was the NL Player of the Week and April’s Player of the Month. He was in ESPN’s “The Body” issue. He almost had a perfect game (my second SNY appearance):

  
He had the epic Jimmy Fallon appearance. He then became the youngest All Star Game starter since Dwight Gooden. The fact he did it at Citi Field was all the more special. 

Then things started to turn sour. The Mets let him pitch through forearm tightness (paging Dr. Warthen). After he was shut down, he fought seemingly everyone on getting the surgery (because the Mets should control anyone’s medical decisions). Now all of a sudden his Rangers fandom was a problem (because hanging around and learning from Lundqvist is a bad thing). He had the gaul to want to be around his teammates during his rehab. He had the audacity to seek to pitch one inning in 2014. 

There were other missteps, some true and some overblown. Overblown: him paying respects to Derek Jeter. He wasn’t allowed to travel with the team. He goes and watches Derek Jeter’s home game (as inconspicuously as he could), and he gets blasted. By the way, we want our players to love and respect the game, and when Harvey does it, he’s vilified. The real ones were the social media gaffes

Finally, 2015 mercifully arrived. He has been a very good starting pitcher, but not quite Matt Harvey yet. For his part, Harvey thinks he’s back. Let’s hope he is because I can’t stand the inane backlash from his travel arrangements to his being curteous after playing a round of golf. I can’t stand it. 

You know what I see when I see Matt Harvey? I see a fierce competitor. I see a good teammate. I see someone who has handled fame and pressure well. He’s always at his locker answering questions, win or lose. I see a player whose nightlife activities include Ranger games. You don’t hear about all night drinking or drugs with him. After the 80’s, we should appreciate that. 

On top of the lessons of the ’80’s Mets, we should remember the lessons of Generation K. The Mets were supposed to have three aces in Isringhausen, Pulsipher, and Wilson. That blew up rather quickly. We need to revere these pitchers while we have them (and while they are healthy). 

For those of you who have read this blog before, my favorite player was Darryl Strawberry. My brother’s favorite player was Dwight Gooden. Trust me, that lead to some awkward conversations down the road with my Dad; conversations I frankly don’t want to ever have. 

I hope my son grows to root for Harvey because: 1) he has so many positive traits to celebrate (competitiveness, accountability, he’s not a quitter); and 2) it means he will be effective with the Mets for a long time. I’m celebrating this day because it’s the anniversary of when the Mets started turning things around. I hope you are as well. 

Did Sandy Make the Wright Move?

Unfortunately, I think the Juan Uribe trade is a sign that David Wright is done for the year. If I’m right, this trade becomes even better than we original thought (like the Oliver Perez trade). 

Spinal stenosis is a fickle thing. Each case is different, and, as such, treatments vary. By the Mets own admission, Wright’s injury is taking longer to heal than they thought. This article was on May 23rd. I’m not being critical of the Mets here with Wright. The Mets have subjected themselves to criticism with their handlings of injuries, but not here. 
For what it’s worth, Wright has guaranteed he will return. Sandy Alderson just announced Wright resumed baseball activities. Sandy then traded for a third baseman. Remember, we initially were informed he would return after the All Star Break. I just find it odd as we hear Wright is on his way back, the Mets add a third baseman. 

I will say even if the Mets truly believe Wright is coming back, the Mets need an insurance policy (I don’t mean the one the Mets have right now) because repetition could exacerbate the spinal stenosis. Also, if he comes back, you want to give him more rest than you normally would during the stretch run. 

Overall, I really hope I’m wrong. Since 2005, he has been the Mets. He was part of the rise of the 2006 team. He showed why the original dimensions of Citi Field were a joke. With the redesign of Citi Field and the team, both he and the Mets were once again supposed to take off. 

For the first time, we can realistically ask, “Is the end of David Wright’s career near?”  It doesn’t seem right.”  He still has five years left on his contract. He’s only 32 years old. He was on pace for a Hall of Fame career. He may now be the Mets’ Don Mattingly. That would be a shame. 

I want my son to see David Wright and remember it. I want us to go to Citi Field when his number is retired. I want us to go to Cooperstown to see him inducted in the Hall of Fame. Mostly, I now just want to see him play again. 

Calling Up Conforto is a Bad Omen but I Love it Anyway

The Mets have finally put Michael Cuddyer on the DL and called-up Michael Conforto. It’s about time. Cuddyer has been injured for almost a month, and Conforto has done nothing but rake.

After last night’s debacle, the Mets front office probably felt like there was no other choice. I believe that Conforto will be the everyday star in the Mets lineup (albeit maybe not immediately) to match the five aces they will have in the rotation next year. I look forward to my son and I wearing Conforto jerseys in the next few years as the Mets make a push to win a World Series. Even with all that excitement I’m feeling right now, there is something pulling me back a bit.

I believe what is pulling me back is that this is a strong indication that the Mets can’t or won’t do anything on the trade market. In yesterday’s press conference, Sandy Alderson said the Mets have money to spend, but the media reports sing a different tune. Right now, the thing that sticks with me the most is that Sandy Alderson, the team’s GM, seemed to be against calling up Conforto. His quote at Thursday’s press conference was, “[o]ne of the considerations is that most young players who come up to the big leagues aren’t terribly successful in the short term . . . .” His words; not mine. Now, however, after almost getting no-hit and a fan mutiny seemingly coming to fruition, the Mets make a move they were reportedly against making. If the Mets didn’t want him to have the weight of being the savior, they chose an awful time to call him up. The Mets offer this move as an olive branch. However, I think this olive branch has a red herring on it.

Mets want us to run to the ballpark to see him. My Dad did that with me with Darryl Strawberry was called up. I did the same with my son when Steven Matz was called-up. However, I’m not so sure about running to the ballpark this time. The Mets have saved a lot of money this season with Wright’s unfortunate injury and Mejia’s suspension. They’re not putting that money back into this team that has a rotation that could win a World Series. How could I justify spending my money on a team that won’t spend the hard earned cash I give them?

Overall, I am ecstatic about Michael Conforto, and I cannot wait to see him put on his #30 tonight. I look forward to the first at-bat of what I hope is a long and prosperous Mets career. Welcome to the majors Michael Conforto.

Is Baseball in Trouble?

The reason I started this blog was to share my experiences as a dad trying to raise his son a Mets fan. For the first time yesterday, I began to realize how difficult this task is.

I wanted to take a my lunch break to sit down and watch a portion of the Mets-Nationals game.  I decided to go around 1:00 because I figured: 1) there may be less people and 2) the establishment would be changing the channel at this time in case they got the start time confused (it was a camper’s special 12:35 start).

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I walked in at 1:30. Not one TV was turned to the Mets game. This is the most important game the Mets have played in 8.5 years, and no one could be bothered. The TV set-up was as follows: two on ESPN News, two on generic soccer (sorry all the European leagues are the same to me), and one on NBA TV showing a game from the 80’s.

Normally, I would’ve asked them to change the channel, but I just hurried out to my car (whenever they change the channel in these places it takes 5 minutes longer than it should).  Thank God Howie and Josh do such a great job on radio that it really is a viable option.   However, no offense to Howie and Josh, I wanted to watch some of the game. I didn’t realize that was going to be a challenge due to the popularity of classic NBA games.

I’m still going to watch as many Mets games as I can.  I’m still going to watch the games with my son. The question is will I only be able to do it in the comfort of my home in the future?  I hope not.

I Love Mr. Met

Mr. Mets is awesome. He is one of the best parts of the entire Mets organization. He was the first ever mascot to step onto the field, and he has been a legend ever since. Forbes magazine has named him the best mascot in all of sports.  Similar to our beloved Tom Seaver, Mr. Met is also a Hall of Famer.  He even has his own money!

The story of Mr. Met has been a story many have sought to tell. Paul Lucas has done phenomenal work trying to uncover who is the creator of the famous mascot. ESPN has dedicated one of its awarding winning 30 for 30s to find out who is the man inside the mascot. He was even the subject of a feature in Rolling Stone. Needless to say, Mr. Met has not only captivated the hearts and mind of Mets fans, but also the entire world.

That is why the best thing the Mets organization has done in recent years is to make him eminently available to Mets fans young and old. In fact, if you want to see him at Citi Field, the Mets have provided a schedule of his appearances:

12:10 Game 1:10 Game 4:10 Game 7:10 Game 8:05 Game
10:45 a.m.* 11:45 a.m.* 2:45 p.m.* 5:45 p.m.* 6:40 p.m.*
11:20 a.m. 12:20 p.m. 3:20 p.m. 6:20 p.m. 7:15 p.m.
2nd Inning 2nd Inning 2nd Inning 2nd Inning 2nd Inning

Mr. Met is always there rooting along with us Mets fans. Win or lose, he always has a smile on his face (of course he does, he gets to go to all the Mets home games). His smile greets Mets fans as they come to Citi Field, and it is there when we make our way home. I also find Mr. Met is always at his best around young Mets fans.

I know this is true because my son loves Mr. Met. When we have been to Citi Field, Mr. Met has given my son his autograph, a high five, and has taken a picture with him. Thanks to Mr. Met, we have memories of the Mets games we have spent together

I look forward to more memories like this with my son, and God willing, future generations of Mets fans. Thank you Mr. Met.

deGrominant

Wow, that certainly was something wasn’t it? Reigning Rookie of the Year, Jacob deGrom, struck out the only three batters he faced on 10 pitches in his first All Star Game; just a great day to be a Mets fan. That was as fun as it gets, and it was the All Star Game at its best.

At its core, the All Star Game is a showcase for the best players in the game. Much like the very first All Star Game at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, this game featured the best players of our time: Mike Trout, Buster Posey, Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw, and yes, Jacob deGrom.

How was the game? Not that great really. Does it matter? No, because the All Star Game is about moments and not the game itself. Most people couldn’t tell you who won the All Star Game 25 years ago, but here are just a few of the classic moments that are still talked about to this day:

  1. Carl Hubbell striking out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin in succession;
  2. Ted Williams’ walk off homerun in the 1941 All Star Game;
  3. Pedro striking out 5 of the 6 batters he faced in Fenway;
  4. Pete Rose running over Ray Fosse; and
  5. A-Rod giving his spot at SS to Cal Ripken, Jr. at his last All Star Game.

If Jacob deGrom continues to be deGrominant, we will tell our children and grandchildren about him. Part of that story will be his performance in the 2015 All Star Game. It will be known as the day as Jacob deGrom went from a potential ace to a superstar, and that my friend is the beauty of the All Star Game.

Introduction

Welcome to Mets Daddy. Rather than regurgitate what is in the About section of this blog, I wanted to introduce myself, and why I am writing this blog. I have always been a Mets fan. My father dutifully saw that I would become one. Upon his learning that I loved strawberries and strawberry ice cream, he told me that the Mets had a player named Strawberry, and he took me to my first game when Strawberry was called up in ’83. I grew up loving the Mets, as I still do this day.

Now, I want to share these experiences not just with my Dad and brother, but also with my son. Every night, I sit down with him to watch a Mets game as he falls asleep. When I ask him who plays first base for the Mets, he says, “Duda!” We’re still working on the rest of the players on the 25 man roster. When he sees Mets caps, he points and either says “Mets” or “Daddy” (as you can imagine, I usually wear a Mets cap when I’m not working). These are experiences I treasure and hope not to forget. My hope is that this blog will help with that.

But that’s not all I want to do. I also hope to share with Mets fans the experiences of being a “Mets Daddy.” How much fun it is to play baseball, have a catch, or watch a game. How great it is going to a game at Citi Field. How challenging it can be to raise a Mets fan when seemingly being surrounded everywhere with Yankees fans. Overall, how being a Mets fan has bridged generations from my Dad to my son. My Dad’s favorite Met was Tom Seaver; mine is probably Mike Piazza. Who knows what player will become my son’s favorite? That’s part of the fun.

I thank you for reading, and I look forward to sharing more in the future.