Even Matthew McConaughey is overwhelmed by how amazing Daniel Murphy has been this postseason.
It’s not Daniel Murphy. It’s not Curtis Granderson. It’s not the pitching. I’ve discovered the secret to this team’s success, and it’s Jobu, from the movie Major League, with his bottle of rum, resting peacefully in David Wright‘s locker…
It’s JOBU! Get the rum!
I was gonna work tonight, but TBH I’m so excited by the Mets ridiculous comeback win today that its just not gonna happen. Instead, I’ve been thinking about sports and fandom and my long history with the New York Mets.
It’s always been baseball for me. I’ve never liked football or hockey. There was a brief flirtation with basketball in the late 90s/early 00s, but that was mostly about the narrative surrounding the Knicks, who were like a cadre of Viking warriors – forever doomed to fail in face of Ragnarok, and nevertheless fighting until their last breathes. I see a lot of tennis, mostly because bronwen is passionate about it, and I’ve been able to appreciate a lot about the sport. And in the past couple of years I’ve been giving English Soccer a try, and been enjoying it quite a bit (Up Man City!). But I was raised a Mets fan, they were my first and are my only true sports fandom.
Maybe I’m not a great fan, because I stop watching when they’re bad – and they’ve been bad a lot. But there have been a few major eras of my fandom with the Mets, each about 15 years apart. And each one has been colored by the different stages of life through which I’ve experienced them.
In 1982, I was 10 years old. The Mets were terrible, but I didn’t really know that. Whenever I had a chance to go to a game, it was an event. I was just beginning to understand that there were Mets fans and Yankees fans, and it was the life goal of all Yankees fans to make sure that Mets fans knew they were pathetic individuals doomed to a life of squalor and ineptitude.
To this day, I hate the Yankees and everything about them.
But something funny started happening in 1983 – some really good young players started coming up through the Mets farm system. And there started to be a buzz. In ‘84, they were good. In ‘85, they were better, but not quite good enough.
In ‘86, they were legends.
1986 was the first – and so far only – time my team won it all. I was 14, and the players seemed like gods. We were convinced they’d be unbeatable for years to come. We were wrong.
By 1990, I’d lived through several disappointing years, watched those young heroes be torn down by drugs, pressure, and the wolverine-voracious New York sports media.
Seriously, you guys. When it comes to pettiness, entitlement, righteous posturing and ad-hominem attacks, Tumblr has nothing on New York sportswriters.
In 1990, I went to college. At some point, I’d figured out that it wasn’t really cool anymore to have posters of baseball players on my walls anymore. It felt…childish. Like I needed to move on to other things.
It helped that I went to school in DC, which at the time had no team. And it helped that the early 90s Mets were legendary for how bad they were. It was easy to let them slip back to a peripheral awareness. 1994 was also the strike year, and everybody was fed up with baseball. So it was easily to forget about. Also, I started studying theater. And when you start hanging out with the nerdy, artsy kids, sports are usually not near the top of the conversation.
After college, I went to film school in Greensboro, North Carolina. They had a single-a minor league baseball team called The Bats, and they were in the Yankees farm system, so there was no way in hell I was ever going to set foot in their stadium. Even though they had some young, up-and-coming prospect that everyone was excited about, some kid named Jeter. But when I was in Greensboro, Carolina got a new NFL team, the Panthers, and it was a lot of fun to see a new franchise and new story spring into being.
In 1997, I moved back home to New York, and began living in the city. Coincidentally, this happened to dovetail with the next period in which the Mets played decent baseball
OK, this has gotten much longer than I intended it, so I’m gonna break it up into more than one post. I wonder how many posts I’ll need to get to whatever point I’m trying to make?