In the beginning, I was actually a Yankees fan.
Well now, that's not necessarily true. But the first baseball game I ever went to was at Yankee Stadium, with the Broad Channel Athletic Club sometime during the 1983 season. The first game I actually remember being at was on September 30, 1984, when my dad and my Uncle Paul took me to watch the final game of the season against the Tigers.
Don Mattingly and Dave Winfield were going head to head for the batting title - I remember that an awful lot of people around me seemed to be rooting for Donnie Baseball and against Mr. May. I also remember being confused as to why a .340 hitter was being booed in his own park on the final day of the season, but I've come to learn that Yankee fans are renowned for booing their own players for less than intelligent reasons. Mickey Mantle used to be booed for not being Joe Dimaggio; Alex Rodriguez gets booed for not being Derek Jeter.
In 1984, when I was seven years old, I suppose I rooted for both the Mets and the Yankees. And why not? Both teams were winning and I was too young to really understand the concept of team loyalty. But by the time the 1985 season ended, I was most definitely a Mets fan. The few baseball fans on my mother's side of the family rooted for the Mets and kids tend to follow the example of the adults around them. My grandfather rooted for the Mets because he used to root for the Brooklyn Dodgers and kept his allegiance to the National League; my aunts rooted for the Mets because they had a crush on fellow Brooklynite Lee Mazzilli.
Gary Carter had a lot to do with it as well; The Kid was the final piece of the puzzle for a team that needed to a strong hand to guide its tantalizing young pitchers. My father, who would never be confused for a serious baseball fan, liked Gary Carter because he hustled and played the game hard. For a seven-year-old boy who looked upon his father as something of a mythical figure - albeit a slightly flawed one for his disinterest in organized sports - that was more than enough for me. A Carter poster ended up on my bedroom wall (the same one that I would see in the back room of the Blarney Stone on 32nd Street years later) and I had officially cast my lot with this team.
23 years later, I wonder how much different my life would've turned out if someone had bought me a Mattingly poster instead.
Today, the blue and orange of the New York Mets runs through my veins, but I've been giving serious consideration to a permanent blood transfusion. I despise the manager, I distrust the general manager and I openly hate quite a few players on the team. (Billy Wagner, I'm looking directly at you!)
It's the same organization that has traded Scott Kazmir and Lastings Milledge in the last three years - a pattern of trading budding stars for overrated talent that has dogged this franchise since its inception. Nolan Ryan, Ken Singleton, Amos Otis, Kevin Mitchell, Jeff Kent, Jason Isringhausen - read this article to see just how historically bad the Mets have been in this department.
I hate Shea Stadium, even though I know I'll miss it a little when it's gone. The new stadium will be nice, I'm sure, but it's also 12,000 seats smaller that Shea - a scam to charge more per ticket - and was built on the tax dollars of everyday New Yorkers while billionaires like the Wilpons enjoy more corporate welfare. Plus, Citi Field is being superficially modeled after Ebbets Field, and I hate everything relating to the Brooklyn Dodgers.
So why do I do it? Why do I put myself through this, year after year? Maybe it's a bad habit. Maybe it's an addiction. Maybe I just like singing "Meet the Mets" so much that I can't bear the thought of turning my back on that song. Maybe I'll find the answer here.
Make no mistake - I'm writing this blog for me, not for you. The goal here is for me to finally get some of the impotent rage I have toward this team off my chest and to share my ideas for a brighter future, not only for the Mets but also for the sport of baseball. It takes a certain amount of narcissism to think that your written words have the power to sway opinion and engender loyalty to your thoughts and ideas - I have that narcissism in spades.
Not everything I write here will be so whimsical - I want to do a lot of analysis as well. Posts will be made at my leisure and will reflect my state of thinking at the time. I claim no hidden insight into the world of baseball or into this organization - I'm just one man with a lot of ideas and a forum to express them. I hope you'll contribute as well; what you have to say is important and germane to any attempts at changing this team and the game for the better.
Somewhere along the line, maybe I’ll even stop hating the New York Mets and come back to loving them again.