Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Mets Fandom: Impossible to take a Break
Allow me to preface this piece with the following: I consider myself to be in the upper tier of die-hard Mets fans. By the time I was 3 (Game 7 of the 1986 World Series), I could name the entire team (it's on video). After the Mets won the World Series, I met Keith Hernandez and asked him to kiss my mother. He politely declined. I forced my father to bring me to games in September of 1993. Before the dawn of the internet, I would show up at Shea at 2 AM in the middle of February and stand on line for 8 hours in order to purchase tickets for Opening Day and the Subway Series. In 1999, when the Mets were set to play their first Playoff game I'd be old enough to completely enjoy, the start time was 11PM. What'd I do to make sure I didn't fall asleep? I mixed coffee grinds with gatorade and drank up. I've been a partial plan holder for 12 years. I watch every game.
After Jordany Valdespin hit the go-ahead 3 run homer in the 9th, I told one of my friends that if the Mets blew the game, the season would be over. I knew that wasn't technically true, but that's what it felt like. And after Parnell blew the save when he was a strike away from closing it out, only to see the Mets re-take the lead and blow it again (with Tim Byrdak inexplicably on the mound to face two righties to start the 10th), I was left in stunned disbelief. The fact that it ended on a wild pitch with the Mets again one strike away from at least having a chance to win? That cemented the fact that last night's loss was the worst one I've witnessed since 2008. The Mets were awful in 2009, faded quickly in 2010, and sold at the ASB in 2011. Therefore, the 2012 squad was the first one since 2008 that had a legitimate shot at the Postseason entering the 2nd half. In that late September game in 2008, Daniel Murphy tripled with the game tied to start the bottom of the 9th or 10th (don't recall). All the Mets had to do was get a ball to the outfield and the game was over. They didn't. They lost. And at that point, it felt like the season was over.
The minutes after that game in 2008 were the last time I vowed to give myself a break from the Mets. To not watch the next game or two, not listen to them on the radio, not follow them on the internet. What ended up happening? I went to nearly every game down the stretch, and nearly broke my hand punching a door at Shea after the Mets lost another late September crusher - the Phil Humber game. The one where the Mets were up 5-0 and ended up losing.
After last night's horror show, I decided for the first time since 2008 that I wouldn't watch/listen to/follow the next game...that I wanted to take a break. When I woke up this morning, the thought of not watching tonight's game was still in my mind. By the time I was on the way to work, though, my irresistible instinct and eventual action was to text my friends to attempt to gather them to watch the game, as it now seems that if the Mets don't turn it around immediately, they're screwed. Why is it impossible to ignore this team, even for one game?
When I was in high school and would argue with my girlfriend, I was able to control myself and stubbornly ignore her. I would stupidly refuse to be the first one to call and apologize. I could take a break from them for a day or two, knowing that I would in turn be preventing myself from getting laid. Yet, it's impossible to take a break from the Mets. There's something seriously wrong with that. Let's delve deeper. Sex is absolutely tremendous, and the feeling of Orgasm is the single greatest feeling your body ever has - it obviously feels better than watching a Mets game. Drinking numbs you and enhances social situations, and drugs expand your mind. But none of those things lead you to jump up and down like a madman screaming unintelligible nonsense, while at the same time hugging your friends and/or strangers (we're excluding hypothetical threesomes and orgies while on Acid or Magic Mushrooms).
An epic Mets moment makes you go wild. The feeling of exhilaration lasts long after, and therein lies the problem. That's why they're impossible to quit - even for a matter of a day or two. The fact that my brain won't even allow me the option is a bit insane. Then again, so is being a Mets fan.