I know two years ago, I don’t miss yesterday’s game. Ten years ago, my brother and I would’ve built the whole day around it with getting some good beer and firing up the grill. Yesterday, my brother came over, and we missed most of the game because we were doing something better – playing with my son.
Sure, I had the radio on in the background. I was aware the Mets blew a 3-0 lead. I remembered cursing under my breath at the Richie Shaffer homerun off of Bartolo Colon. However, I was more consumed with playing baseball, playing with the water table, and playing whatever games came into that imaginative little head of his.
As the game progressed my brother asked me how was I going to do a game recap. My answer was I couldn’t. When I do the game recaps, I try to do them as contemporaneously as possible – not to be first, but rather to try to recapture my impressions as the game was being played.
So I skipped the game recap because while I knew what was happening, I had no real feel for the game. You know kind of like that person who shows up to your Super Bowl party wearing the wrong jersey regurgitating whatever Chris Berman said earlier in the day. Anyway, at least the Nationals didn’t capitalize.
So even though the Mets lost, I would say the whole weekend ended on the upswing:
On Thursday, I had a three-part series about how the Mets taking back New York. For your convenience, I have consolidated all three parts in one mega-post here.
PART I: Can the Mets Take Back New York?
After two consecutive sweeps, the Mets are rolling. With the Nationals loss last night, the Mets increased their lead in the NL East. Not only do the players seem confident, the Mets fans also feel confident. So confident they have resumed the taking over New York talk.
When I grew up, the Mets owned New York . . . it was the first and only time. The reason the Mets owned New York was not only because they were the winning team, but also the sheer caliber of their star power with Strawberry, Gooden, Carter, and Hernandez. It was a fun team and it was a fun time to be a Mets fan.
It all came crashing down with the Worst Team Money Can Buy. The Mets were no longer likeable and they no longer winning. The Yankees then had a dynasty featuring the Core Four and the disturbingly forgotten Bernie Williams. Seriously, Yankee fans who refer to the Core Four do not deserve those championships.
Seemingly, the Mets are primed yet again to take back New York. They have star power with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard. When David Wight comes back, we can include him. It also helps that Matt Harvey and Steven Matz are local kids.
The last time we had this conversation was 2006. The Mets were the best team in the regular season that year. They had star power with Wright & Reyes, the two Carloses, and Pedro. That was an immensely likeable team. Their attempt to take over New York ended with that Adam Wainwright curveball.
After the 2007 & 2008 collapses and the Yankees’ 2009 World Series title, the possibility of taking over New York was dead. You see it’s not enough the Mets be really good; it’s also important they’re clearly better than the Yankees. Right now, the Yankees are also in first place.
We Mets’ fans quickly forget most people now were raised Yankee fans, who worshipped the temple who was Derek Jeter. I’ve heard people like Mike Lupica say New York is a National League town. He’s obviously referring to the ghosts of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants.
My grandfather was a New York Giants fan. He passed away almost thirty years ago. Initially, my father was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan. The Dodgers moved to LA when he was eight years old. When the Mets came into existence, the Yankees were the only team in town for five years. Effectively, it was for another seven as the Mets were mostly awful and always sub .500 prior to 1969. The New York is a National League town was either a myth or an outdated fairy tale. Long story, short, most people now have no concept of New York as a National League town.
With that said and looking at everything, the Mets can potentially START taking over New York. Much of that will depend on the young pitching this year and in the ensuing seasons. Even if the Mets were to win the World Series this year, I’m not convinced the Mets take over New York. It will, however, accelerate the process. It’s not important to me that the Mets take over New York. However, I would still like to see it.
I want to see it because it means we’ll see a stretch of baseball like we did from 1984 – 1992. It also means the Yankees fell on hard times, which is always good for the soul. Most importantly, it’s easier to raise my son a Mets’ fan when the team is actually good. I’d love for him to see Mets’ teams like the ones I had growing up.
PART II: So Who’s Coming Along for the Ride?
On Sunday, the Mets were rolling and on their way to a sweep of the Nationals to tie them for first place in the division. Mets fans were ecstatic . . . and irritated.
Yes, irritated. All over Twitter Mets fans were complaining about other Mets fans. What was really going on was hardcore fans were complaining about bandwagon fans who just showed up as the Mets got good again. Oh the bandwagon fans, they’re the bane of the hardcore fans existence.
We all know them, even if they won’t admit it. They say inane things like I want to see both New York teams do well. They’ll ask how the Mets or Yankees are doing in August when we all know too well how they’re doing. They come to the occasional game with no gear on or with the tags hanging off of it. Hardcore fans HATE bandwagon fans.
I have some bad news for Mets fans that want to take back New York. You have to welcome the bandwagon fans. The hardcore Yankee fans that can wax on and on about players like Luis Sojo, Graeme Lloyd, and Chad Curtis are not becoming Mets fans. You’re getting the Yankee fans whose favorite players are Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
Like I said in Part One of this series, taking over New York is not that important to me. The reason is I’m more concerned about sharing this ride with Mets fans who know players like Darryl Boston, Armando Reynoso, Rico Brogna, Mike Baxter, and Josh Satin. If you know these players, you know what it’s like to be a Mets fan. In 2006, the Mets hadn’t taken over New York, and yet, Shea Stadium was still rocking. Mets fans don’t need to take back New York to fill the ballpark. There are plenty of hardcore fans out there.
These are fans that when the Mets finally win the Workd Series, they’ll want to share it with someone special to them. It’s the reason why my Dad turned down a ticket to the 2000 World Series. He’d rather watch the game with my brother and I. It’s the reason I so desperately want to take him to a Mets World Series Game. He deserves it.
You hardcore Mets fans also deserve it. The bandwagon fans will enjoy ANY championship, but it won’t be special to them. Let them have their fun. We can take back New York and know what it really means. I say let them along for the ride. Just make sure that when they board the bandwagon, we will already have the good seats because we’ve been here the entire time.
PART III: Why Does it Matter?
Since those ’80’s Mets teams and the Yankees recent dynasty, the subject of the Mets taking back New York arises whenever the Mets begin winning again. Why?
I understand that winning will help take back New York. I understand it comes along with a more interesting and talented team. However, Mets fans snipe at the bandwagon fans that come with taking back New York.
This obsession isn’t present in the other Nrw York sports. I’ve never heard a Jets fan talk about taking over New York. All Islander fans care about is beating the Rangers. They don’t care about taking over New York. Honestly, I think the Nets fans just want to be relevant. I think they’ll settle for that before taking over New York.
Here’s the difference between the Mets and those other teams:
- The Mets once owned New York; and
- Yankees fans are intolerable
Since Interleague play started, we’ve had to deal with Yankee fans on a more consistent basis. They’re smug. They lord it over Mets fans when they win. When they lose, they point to 2000 and their other 26 World Series titles. They need to be taken down a peg or 26.
We’ll always have Yankees fans to deal with. We were hoping with Jeter gone, they would begin to fade. Of course, this year they’re winning. I’ve heard Yankee fans spouting off they have a better record and a bigger lead in their division. You see that’s the rub. They’ll never admit it, but the Mets bother the Yankees fans.
Giant and Jet fans live in relative harmony. Two Super Bowl wins over the hated cheating Patriots will do that. Islander and Ranger fans hate each other’s teams, but they’ll admit it. In a small way Rangers fans welcome the return of the Islanders because it makes the rivalry so much better when they’re both good.
Yankee fans like to pretend there’s no rivalry. However, they’ll never admit to their panic in 2000 that they could’ve lost the World Series to the Mets. They were touting Severino last night. I think a large part of that was Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz, and Wheeler. At least the Mets fan will admit they hate the Yankees and they want to retake New York.
I think another reason Mets want to take over New York is their children. I started this blog to share my experiences of raising a Mets fan. If the Mets are good, it’ll be a lot easier to raise a Mets fan. Also, you want your kids to enjoy baseball. It was a lot easier for me as a kid to enjoy baseball in 1988 than it was 1993. Admittedly, this is the part of taking over New York that interests me the most.
Hopefully, the Mets are on the rise and on their way to retaking New York. Personally, I’m not consumed with it, but I will enjoy the ride. I can’t wait for those smug Yankee fans to be put in their place. More importantly, I can’t wait to raise a son in an era of good Mets baseball.
You know what? I’ve talked myself into it. Let’s take back New York!
If you haven’t yet, you should read the New York Post today and see the story about Yoenis Cespedes’ defecting from Cuba. It’s reporting at its best.
I remembered growing up hearing about the oppression of communist countries like the USSR and Cuba. However, I never truly had context. Sunday’s Post story allowed me to do that. It’s hard to imagine for no reason a government trying to take away your dream of playing baseball. It’s unreal that you couldn’t use the Internet as freely as you can here. Lastly, it’s unfathomable you would have to leave your son behind to seek a better life for everyone.
For most people, our ancestors came to America because it was the land of opportunity. Most sought out this land of opportunity because they were escaping something. I think no matter how far removed you are, you need to remember your roots and make sure your children are aware of them as well.
My son comes from a line of survivors. On my side of the family, my ancestors escaped the English oppression of Ireland and the potato famines. My family’s story is mundane compared to my wife’s grandparents’ story.
Her grandmother was similar to Frank McCourt in that she was born in America, but she returned to her native country, the Ukraine (she returned because she was born while her mother was visiting family in the U.S., not due to extreme poverty). Therefore, when the Nazis invaded, she was able to return to America as a citizen. Her husband was not as lucky.
He couldn’t come to America immediately. So, while he waited to find a way out, he continued to run his tailoring business. Before he could escape, he was put in a concentration camp. He survived. When he and the other prisoners were freed, they were just released out into the wild. No one was given any help or support.
His ever-loving wife never gave up hope. She waited, and waited, and waited. Her American cousins told her to move on. Surely, anyone would’ve understood. The chances of his survival weren’t great. Them finding one another after all those years was infinitesimal. Years and years passed. Finally, with all of the searching, hoping, and praying her husband was located and brought to the U.S.
He became a proud American citizen. He and his wife saved money and purchased a home. He raised two daughters and put them through college. When he passed away, he left behind a loving wife, two daughters, and a smart, beautiful granddaughter. She, herself, was well educated, and very cognizant of her roots and her family’s history. She gave birth to an amazing baby boy. A boy who is fourth generation Irish-American (depending on which family member you select) and third generation Ukranian-American.
As you can see, we all have our stories. Some escape starvation and oppression. Others escape one of the worst dictators and atrocities the world has ever known. Some just want to play baseball.
Lucky for my wife, my son, and I, we were born in America, the greatest country in the world. We don’t know the oppression and hardships of our forefathers. We are here because of those who struggled and had to risk everything to come here. I couldn’t imagine them having to leave loved ones behind.
I feel pity for Cespedes not being able to see his son. No amount of money or phone calls can make up for that. I know I couldn’t do what he’s doing right now. I hope one day he and his son are united because as we see when families are united wonderful things happen.
Take a breath and repeat after me: “It’s just one game.”
Yeah, but the Rays ended the Mets seven game winning streak.
“It’s just one game.”
The Mets blew a three run first inning lead after a hard fought win last night killing all momentum.
“It’s just one game.”
The Mets road record this year has worsened to 21-33.
“It’s just one game.”
Noah Syndergaard continued his bad pitching on the road.
“It’s just one game.”
The Nationals won tonight with a strong start from Stephen Strasburg, who just came off the DL.
“It’s just one game.”
The Mets have Bartolo Colon going tomorrow against Chris Archer.
Okay, you’re getting to me a little, but “it’s just one game.”
The Nationals have Max Scherzer going tomorrow, and the Mets only have a one God lead in the loss column.
Ummmm . . . “it’s just one game?”
Ruben Tejada wasn’t good in the field AGAIN.
You’re right. I agree the Mets need a SS, but really all tonight was about was one loss. We can’t make it more than it was . . . even if some evidence points otherwise.
Let’s look at some positives. The bullpen was good tonight, after having some missteps recently, especially Sean Gilmartin. Curtis Granderson continues to hit well. Also, it’s great that so many Mets fans attended the game that the Rays had to remove the tarps to open up additional seating.
So yes, a 5-4 loss is tough especially when your young and budding ace seemingly takes a step back in only going four innings. It’s tough giving a game back in the division to a team like the Nationals, who just got a huge piece back.
However, it’s a legitimate pennant race. It’s supposed to be fun. I know I get too caught up in the game to game nonsense. One day it looks like the division is a lock; the next it looks like all this trades were all for naught.
Even if Colon and Tejada are playing tomorrow, I’m still excited. I hope you are too. Even if they lose tomorrow and the Nationaks win, just remember “it’s just one game,” and the Mets can bounce back tomorrow.
When I was growing up, we got to watch Wayne Gretzky, who was the best hockey player of all time, and Michael Jordan, who was the best basketball player of all time. Way back in 1991, they teamed up with perhaps the greatest athlete of all time, Bo Jackson, to form the ProStars.
By the way, how hilarious is it that those athletes were played by voice actors, but Marv Albert played himself. I imagine the negotiation went like this. “Now Marv, we can get someone to play you. It’ll be less money, but it will also be less time for you, especially with you traveling around with the Knicks. Are you sure you want to do this?” Marv: “YES!”
Anyway, if you remember the cartoon, the superstars, sorry ProStars, would fight crime, help kids, and answer questions. You would also see live action clips of the athletes dominating their respective sports. In summation, this was amazing. Sadly, it was also short lived. There were only seven episodes in total. I’m sure this doesn’t measure up with the Honeymooners Classic 39, but they were fun. Sadly, there is a hole today in children’s programming on Saturday mornings.
On Saturday, NBC is airing the Today Show because that hasn’t been saturated enough to the point of falling ratings, has it? Obviously, ABC is airing Good Morning America to keep pace with NBC, or rather stay ahead. Let’s not forget CBS trying to enter this two man battle. They certainly aren’t because they are airing CBS This Morning: Saturday. Fox, to their credit, has children’s programming, but unfortunately, it isn’t cartoons. Sadly, the death of the Saturday Morning Cartoon is something to bemoan. I used to love getting up and having my breakfast in front of the television with my Dad watching cartoons like Looney Toons. Sadly, I won’t be able to recreate this experience with my son.
It’s too bad because I also think it’s a lost opportunity for networks. You could easily recreate ProStars today. There are already rumors that SpaceJam is going to be recreated, and many want LeBron James in it. I’d say they should make the new ProStars around him. I think the natural choice to join him would be Mike Trout, who right now, is the best player in baseball. Finally, I would have Peyton Manning for the NFL player. I know he’s not the best player right now, but he’s in everything anyway. Go ahead, try to watch an NFL game without a Peyton Manning commercial. It just can’t be done. Sadly, I do not think there is room for a hockey player right now as the NHL is not very popular now.
I’d love to do a New York version. Since they are already good buddies, you can have Henrik Lundqvist and Matt Harvey star in the New York version of ProStars. I think for the third person, you would have to go with Eli Manning. I envision him as a master of disguises to help Henrik and Harvey. Note, I didn’t have a Knicks player because the Knicks are not relevant in New York right now. Once they turn things around maybe Carmelo Anthony can join the fray.
Anyway, I can long for the days of watching Saturday morning cartoons with my son. Instead, I guess the two of us will just go outside and work on his swing:
Enjoy your Saturday.
Now that was special. Even with Jacob deGrom and Tyler Clippard unable to keep the game tied, the Mets found a way.
First, Juan Uribe ties the game with a homer after this game started to look like the Grady Sizemore Show (homerun and stole a homerun from Wilmer Flores). After deGrom gave up a James Loney homer, Daniel Murphy hits a game tying homerun. Tyler Clippard gave up the lead on an Evan Longoria homerun that just skipped off the top of the right center field wall.
In the ninth, after Lucas Duda reached in an error and moved over on a wild pitch, Michael Conforto had the biggest hit of his young career (in a terrific AB) with a hustle RBI double to tie the game. He was moved over to third in a Travis d’Arnaud infield single and scored the go-ahead run when Flores served the ball into right [standing ovation].
Jeurys Familia closed out the game to secure the 4-3 win. In an odd sequence it took the Mets a few times to record the first out. Uribe was aggressive in fielding balls in front of third, but the umpire correctly called the ball foul each time.
With Clippard getting the win, when in actuality all he did was put the Mets on the brink of losing, I thought of how my thinking has evolved on wins. As I’ve stated before, I’m generally more open and accepting of Sabermetrics. I do think the pitcher wins are an overrated stat. For example, the horrendous Bartolo Colon is tied for the team lead in wins with Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom. Luckily, no one on the Mets side had a loss to put in their ledger tonight.
Some other fun notes:
- The sound of the crowd made it sound like a home game;
- It was great seeing Dwighg Gooden at the game; and
- Terry Collins shows he’s delirious with some of these lineups
With the DH, he had his lefty platoon lineup out there which meant Conforto and Kelly Johnson (2B). He had Uribe and his defense at third. However, I don’t understand Flores at SS instead of Ruben Tejada. Collins brought in Juan Lagares for defense in the ninth. He should’ve done the same with Tejada. At least the mistake didn’t cost the Mets the game.
In other great news, the Rockies beat the Nationals to extend the Mets lead to 2.5 games (two in the loss). Tonight was a great night for baseball and an even better night to be a Mets fan.
Coming out of the All Star Break, the Mets wisely set their rotation to allow their stud muffins to face the Nationals twice. Initially, the move was a bust. However, after the Yoenis Cespedes trade, the Met took off and swept the Nationals. Now, it seems like the Mets want to go back to the six man rotation, or at a minimum have some spot starts. If the Mets did not go to the six man rotation or have any spot starts, here’s how the rotation would shake out:
8/7 @ Rays
8/12 vs. Rockies
8/18 @ Orioles
8/24 @ Phillies
8/29 vs. Red Sox
9/4 @ Marlins
9/9 @ Nationals
9/14 vs. Marlins
9/20 vs. Yankees
9/25 @ Reds
10/1 @ Phillies
8/8 @ Rays
8/13 vs. Rockies
8/19 @ Orioles
8/25 @ Phillies
8/30 vs. Red Sox
9/5 @ Marlins
9/10 @ Braves
9/15 vs. Marlins
9/21 vs. Braves
9/26 @ Reds
10/2 vs. Nationals
8/9 @ Rays
8/14 vs. Pirates
8/21 @ Rockies
8/26 @ Phillies
8/31 vs. Phillies
9/6 @ Marlins
9/11 @ Braves
9/16 vs. Marlins
9/22 vs. Braves
9/27 @ Reds
10/3 vs. Nationals
8/10 vs. Rockies
8/15 vs. Pirates
8/22 @ Rockies
8/27 @ Phillies
9/1 vs. Phillies
9/7 @ Nationals
9/12 @ Braves
9/18 vs. Yankees
9/23 vs. Braves
9/29 @ Phillies
10/4 vs. Nationals
8/11 vs. Rockies
8/16 vs. Pirates
8/23 @ Rockies
8/28 vs. Red Sox
9/2 vs. Phillies
9/8 @ Nationals
9/13 @ Braves
9/19 vs. Yankees
9/24 @ Reds
9/30 @ Phillies
Now, we are all aware of the rumblings of the Mets using a spot starter or returning to the six man rotation. What we also know is the Mets are going to rip past the innings limits anyway. So in this somewhat academic analysis, just go back and take a look again at how the rotation will work out. For starters, it’s great that Colon only pitches one game against a team over .500 until the last week of the season. Additionally, if everything works out according to plan, you don’t have to finagle the rotation to start the postseason with Harvey, Matz, and Syndergrom. Isn’t that your goal? Now, if things get hectic towards the end, remember the Mets don’t have a huge lead right now, they can shift starts around in September so you can have the stud muffins going against the Nationals in the last series of the season.
Overall, if you are going to rip through the innings limits, why not do it properly and set the team up for success in September and October? My belief is that if you don’t change the rotation as it stands right now, the Mets look to be in good shape for the rest of the season, and they will have their stud muffins front and center entering the postseason. Let’s not overthink things and keep it the way it is.
Every fan base has their own selection of celebrity fans. Here’s a list I’ve composed of celebrity Mets fans I’ve noticed over the years:
- Jerry Seinfeld
- Kevin James
- Jon Stewart
- Chris Rock
- Ray Romano
- Amy Schumer
- Jay Mohr
- Gary Valentine
- Colin Quinn
With apologies to John McEnroe and Tim Robbins, I constructed this list to show that an overwhelming amount of Mets fans are comedians. Should this surprise us?
Probably not. Psychologists and comics themselves will say comedy comes from places of pain. Not to mock or make light of this, but isn’t being a Mets fan mostly painful? Think about it, Yankee fans celebrate while Mets fans crack jokes. It’s a coping mechanism.
Every time Dan Warthen visits the mound, my brother invariably texts me, well the next batter is getting a hit. He calls it the Dan Warthen Effect. When the Mets blow a lead, you let out a few expletives, but I’m sure there’s also an Armando Benitez joke in there as well.
As is his specialty, Jim Breuer is showing the world what it’s like to be a Mets fan. These videos not only show passion, but they also show anger and a sense of humor. This is what it means to be a Mets fan. Jon Stewart has done the same on the Daily Show:
As Jon Stewart shows, being a Mets fan is fodder for good comedy. However, every so often the Mets are good and it brings you pure joy. That’s why we all can agree with Amy Schumer when she says:
Was this post funny? It wasn’t meant to be. I was really looking to discuss a positive of being a Mets fan in even the worst of times. I left the comedy to Jim Breuer, Jon Stewart, and Amy Schumer. I’m not going to try to be funny here because you don’t go on after those people. You just sit back and enjoy them like we’re able to enjoy the Mets now.