Thursday, October 19, 2006

Meet The Future

I had a best friend, growing up, named Bill. I'm still very close to him today. Whenever I need a helping hand, or to be cheered up, I know I can count on Bill. I had another friend, Mookie, who I hung out with when Bill wasn't around, basically. We weren't quite the "Three Amigos," but Mookie seemed at the time like another lifetime friend--if only the kind you have opposite political views from, and who moves far away, but you still keep in touch with. But when I was ten, my family went to Aruba on vacation. Mookie fed our prize goats while we were away. When we got back, all the goats were dead. Mookie left the barn door open, and a pack of wolves came in and ate them all up. Mookie never meant any harm. In fact, had we not given him a chance to ruin our lives, he never would have. Mookie never did move far away. He's still around. I see him occasionally. But any magic between us died when those damn goats did.

Now, I know what you're saying: Jere, you're absolutely full of shit. There are no such thing as "prize goats," and you've never been to Aruba. True and true. Have you ever heard of a metaphor? Jeez.

If you're having trouble figuring this one out, well, Bill is the Red Sox and Mookie is the Mets.

The Mets were the perfect team for my family to get behind in the early eighties. The Red Sox would always be our team. There was never any issue with jumping ship. But we lived closer to New York than Boston, my dad's buddy had great seats at Shea, the two leagues never played each other, and as my dad taught me from an early age, when the Mets win, Steinbrenner gets mad.

So, we'd go to a few games a year, my dad and I, in '81, '82, '83. (I was born in '75.) I'd get to see baseball on a school night, we'd have great seats, and we'd have the place all to ourselves. There wasn't even any traffic to beat. The Mets were bad, save for the aging Kingman and Foster.

I was the first to realize there might be trouble in paradise in the summer of '86. I remember my mom excitedly saying, "Looks like the Red Sox and Mets could go to the World Series." I didn't like it. To this day, I don't like that our World Series team and theirs happened to be the same year. I knew at the time what it was leading to. I didn't want to have to root against the Mets, but, of course, I wouldn't have rooted for anyone, ever, against the Red Sox, for any reason. So I just hoped the Astros would take them out, let us have our World Series, and root for them when they played some other AL team for all the marbles in some future year.

But we all know what happened. Shea Stadium still gives me nightmares. The look of it at night is like some haunted mansion. Welcome to Shea, Jere, welcome to your personal hellhouse.

I want to root for the Mets. There's always that reason: they're the Yanks' rival. But with all the Yankee fans who root for the Mets as well, it's hard. And to openly root for the Mets in October at Shea, well, I associate that with rooting against the Red Sox. I find myself rooting against the Mets in these games. I see the fans, the "bad" ones, in the crowd, the ones who would make fun of my Red Sox fandom just like a Yankee fan would. And I want them to suffer. Wouldn't it be cool to see them lose at home, on some mystical error in the ninth?

But then I think of the "good" Met fans. The ones who maybe came from Dodger or Giant blood. The ones who truly hate the Yankees, and have no reason to hate us. In fact, if I were a Met fan, I'd love the Sox, for the obvious anti-Yankee reasons, but also because the Red Sox gave the Mets a World Championship.

So you see the thoughts I wrestle with.

One solution I've come up with is to go the game tonight, root for the Mets, and make all those bad memories turn into good ones. I'd also be able to know that a new Mets championship will bring a whole new set of highlights to New York and baseball in general. Mets fans will think of something else besides Buckner when they think of "World Series." And since we've got ours now, a whole big bowl of wrong will have been emptied out quite a bit.

And what a world it would be, knowing that the Mets and Red Sox have won it all since the Yanks have. Yeah. That sounds good.

So I'm checking craigslist. I checked it yesterday up until game time. Tickets are relatively cheap, especially late in the day. I'll see what happens. Even without all the history, a Game 7 so close to me is something that's hard to pass up.

This game tonight will either give the Mets a chance at changing history, or just kind of keep things the same in the Jere/Mets world. I'm excited to see what happens.

A Mets victory and possible World Series championship pours tons more salt into the wounds of all those smug, arrogant Yankee fans. The Red Sox and Mets with titles in the 21st century, and the Yankees without one?

I love it.

Let's Go Mets!!!!
you totally had me for a minute. only because i once knew a guy named Mookie too. i was like, "small world!" and then... well... shattered dreams.

i'm confused about one thing. i had this conversation last weekend in a bar, with a chick from boston.

the team is the red sox (or socks) so is one player a red sock? she says no. i say yes.

i say, "but if he's on the yankees team, then he's a yankee" etc.

she disagrees.

then we got drunker and onto the toronto maple leafs. thats right, LEAFS. not leaves. so one of their players would be "a leaf". right?

she was stumped at this point. and a little angry i think.
And miss the chance at an all-midwest "World Series?!?" The irony! The only thing better would be an all-Texas one.

St. Louis is only about 9, 10 hours away from Detroit.. where are the calls for a Greyhound Series?
But then Mets-Tigers has never happened.

But then Cards-Detroit would be a good rematch from that time in the 60s...

I just don't know what to do here.

Definitely good if the Mets win, in terms of "true" Yankee fans being pissed. That of course would be awesome. But, like, this lady I work with, she loves Mets and Yanks. She is evil and stupid, and I guess I should be happy that either way, every year, I can make fun of her for at least ONE of her teams.

One Red Sox is a Red Sox. I think it should be one Red Sock, too, though.
And what a world it would be, knowing that the Mets and Red Sox have won it all since the Yanks have. Yeah. That sounds good.

Totally. I mean, Steinbrenner's head might actually explode.

Oh, hang on a second. I think I'm rooting for the Mets tonight and the Tigers in the Series. I'm confused. Need to lie down for a while...
I vote for "sock" too. You see it used a bit more these days than in the past.

Likes Mets and Yanks? Yes, stupid beyond measure. If you are an actual baseball fan, such a thing is impossible.

While we hate all things MFY, I do not feel that way about the Mets. I actually like going to Shea (I may be the only non-Mets fan in the universe that can say that.) The 2006 Mets have nothing to do with the 1986 Mets.

And the misery factor for Yankees fans could go off-the-charts.

So, Go Mets. All the way!
Tiger, Royal, Oriole, Met, Dodger, Giant, Blue Jay, Expo. Bruin, Patriot, Viking, Celtic. They all make sense.

So yeah: Leaf and Sock are correct.

The real question is what to do about the Jazz, Wild, Storm, and those kinds of silly names?

"I'm a Wild."

Steinbrenner would wear his brown pants so no one would see him ----, if the Mets won it all:

"El Equipo, El Tiempo, Los Mets!"

I hope that he has more pairs of brown pants.
& I do come out of both the Dodgers & Giants Bloodlines:

Dual Mets-Yankees Fans would be held by the Ankles from the Green Monster or from an Upper Level Shea Exit Ramp;

So would those Corporate Yuppie a--holes, who are more Yankees than NOT.
& Red Sock?

I do don a Red Sox Cap at Mets Games;

No problem at all!
That WAS a problem for me though, this year. Having all these people ridiculing me, wearing my Pedro Red Sox jeresy. I thought they'd be happy I was rooting for them, but so many made fun of me, I just wanted to get out of there. Other times it's been fine, w/me finding plenty of other Sox gear in the crowd.
I may or may not have mentioned this before, but the very young AJM started out in his baseball fandom in the early ‘70’s a Met fan; it was something of a legacy, as my Dad was a NY Giants fan (though I guess not a very passionate one) who used to go see Willie Mays patrol center at the Polo Grounds. My first trip to the ballpark was a Mets/Expos game at Shea in 1972. I was a huge Seaver and Mays fan then. My interest in the Sox came after I read an article about Lynn and Rice in the Sunday NY Times in the spring of ’75…my first live Sox game was a doubleheader at Shea against the Dunbars in July of ’75, followed by my first trip to Fenway in August ’75. The Mets remained my NL team, but I became less and less interested in them, and more loyal to the Sox. I finally dropped any residual rooting interest in the Metsies when M.Donald Grant decided one day in ’77 to announce that going forward the team had no interest in actually trying to win ballgames by trading Seaver and Kingman for absolutely nothing.

Flash forward to ’86. The thing about that Met team was: they weren’t actually the Mets. Rather, they were the Yankees wearing blue and orange disguises. Their players were assholes like Carter and Ray Knight; their fans were a bunch of smug bandwagoners. That team had nothing in common with Casey’s Original Amazin’s or the ’69 Miracle Mets or the ’73 Ya’ Gotta Believe overachievers that were so easy to root for. Rather, they were smug, in-your-face pricks. All the fans of that team had switched their allegiance over to the Bronx Badguys by the mid-‘90s, if not earlier.

Anyway, I think it’d be great for NYC and baseball in general if the Metsies made it back to the World Series while Jeter and Rivera sit home. Although it would be really tough for me to root against the Tigers in that Series…they’re really a great story. Maybe I’ll just sit back and enjoy the baseball at that point. Enjoy the game if you go, Jere.

That's what I'm talkin about. "Freddy Sez," that obnoxious old guy who walks around Yankee Stadium with a sign every game, seen at the Mets game last night with a pro-Mets sign. Fucking unbelievable. Why don't I just proclaim, "I love all baseball teams," then whoever wins, I can buy that team's championship t-shirt and parade around in it.
I kind of feel bad for fans of both the Mets and Cardinals, though... Whoever wins will not have created some kind of historical upset, like ESPN keeps selling, they're just going to luck into the right to getting pasted by the Tigers in the Series.
Thanks for that, AJM.

Doesn't look good for me getting to game. Prices haven't come down still. I could go over there and buy from a scalper, but I'd rather eat burritos, and then watch game on TV.

Yeah, Tigers seem unstoppable. But whoever wins tonight will go in w/momentum.
Honest question- how about not letting the Yankees color literally everything you relate to baseball with? Why not just pick the team you enjoy watching more and root for them.

Seriously, the Yankees are dead. It's not getting any better or worse for them.
An honest, but silly question:)

AJM: After you saw the Sox for the first time at Fenway, they went on the road, and while they were away, I was born.*

I'm fascinated with that whole "Yanks at Shea in 74-75" thing. I was just looking at a pic of Petrocelli at Shea. There was also that baseball card set with Sox player photos taken at Shea. I like to try to narrow it down to the day.

*Assuming your first trip was during the second August homestand, not the first, since that wouldn't be a good job of spacing out the first two baseball trips.
jfJere: Since I see you're having fun with above, here is the 7/75 Shea Doubleheader:
Game 1
Game 2

And my first time at Fenway was 8/27/75, a Wednesday day game (!) victory against the Halos where we sat in the RF grandstand next to the Angel bullpen:

And I still remember sitting way up in the RF Upper Deck for that Shea doubleheader, wearing an old blue Sox batting helmet that my Dad got free from a gas station sometime around 1968 or so. I found some snapshots that I took that day a few months ago when we were compiling photos for the wedding.

And here's a picture of Lynn that was taken at Shea, possibly during that July series:
jfAJM: Thanks for all this info.

That's the set. TCMA or something. That was taken in '75. The Rico pic I talked about was '74 because he had the blue hat. I think all the Sox photos were taken for this set at Shea--and most in the whole league, I think--in the 74-75 weird era.
It was at a time that The Old Decrepit Toilet was being turned into a New Decrepit Toilet:

I remember 1 Doubleheader in 1971, when the NY Yankees could NOT sell out the Old Decrepit Toilet, for Yankees-Red Sox;

The Rivalry was renewed at Shea Stadium(Of all the ironies);

BTW, I despise the "'86 Mets Fans", due to their lack of understanding history, especially of the NY Mets & one is not entitled to a title every year;

The "'86ers" were there this season, for old times sake & could be identified as Yankees Front Runners by their thoughts & words;

REAL METS FANS Do NOT Root for DFYankees, & revere a certain team at 4 Yawkey Way, not 1 Rupert Place;

Jere, you did run into the "'86ers", as I have, & they think I'm crazy when I talk of $1.30 Upper Level Seats, & the time when Tom Seaver Came Up & when he was traded, the 1st time;

& I'll continue to wear the Red Sox Cap & F--- the '86ers.

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