It was really the Red Sox that got me into blogging and following sports blogs.
True story. Though it was inspired by the Mets a bit.
In 2004, I needed an outlet. A place to read, discuss and muse on the Mets. I was working full time on Wall Street at the time, and the Mets were disappointing me. It was the Art Howe years, and the Mets were just boring. A state of ennui. These years were really the true test of the fans, to go to Shea Stadium at times like those. Looking back, it was the hey day of baseball games. You went to games with real fans and not frontrunners like they were in the Bronx.
The Mets had made one of their most famous deadline deals that same year. Kris Benson joined the team, and then-projected pitching phenom Scott Kazmir was traded for Victor Zambrano in what was called “Black Friday.” In the previous season, I had become engrossed in New York National League baseball history. The New York Giants. Brooklyn Dodgers. I had devoured Boys of Summer and Bums. Later in 2003, the Rangers had opened their home season at Madison Square Garden. That same night, I ran into a friend at the game who wanted to watch the baseball game.
You might know of it. It’s known in the Yankee (and Red Sox) lexicon as “The Aaron Boone Game.”
I sat at the bar as I was outnumbered by Yankees fans, for sure. I was told because of my New York National League roots that I was the “Coolest chick in the bar.” Too bad, because I felt like I was being left alone at the lunch table, while my friend celebrated that Yankee walk-off victory that night.
So fast forward a few months later. July 31, 2004, came and went, and I was upset. My team had failed me, again. Bob Ojeda was on the FAN, talking about how he believed that the Mets organization just had “bad information,” when Zambrano blew his arm out just a few days after the trade. While Kazmir went on to stupify the Red Sox, who were on their way to making the playoffs a second year in a row.
I spent many hours in the office that year. Yet, I couldn’t get on chat rooms or forums. Most of them were blocked in corporate America. I did find something a bit unusual, while clicking on some story links following the fall out of the Mets season, and following how the Red Sox were doing.
It was called a “blog.”
I found one called Metsblog, and NJ.com had its own called Always Amazin’. While clicking on those sites, it brought me to other blogs. SellTheMets.com. FireArtHowe.com. Kranepool Society. The Metropolitans (where I frequented and probably made my mark as a “blog groupie”). Metsgeek. Y2K: Promote the Curse. Some of these links exist to this day. Others have gone by the wayside. Many others have expanded or rebranded.
During the 2004 post season, I found many Red Sox blogs. Sons of Sam Horn. Surviving Grady. Misery Loves Company, which was a Mets/Red Sox joint blog. I loved the self-deprecating and dark humor of the Old Towne Team’s fans. The Mets fans were just funny though. The blogging community was easier to follow, simply because there were fewer blogs to follow. When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, it was special. It was not only special to see the evolution from walking off the field, defeated, just one year prior, but special to see all these blogs serve as a community for these fans to congregate and make the large world smaller and closer.
I was pretty useless at work. I spent most of the days trying to feed my lust for Mets information, and trying to craft writing styles, and even stealing some jokes that I found at these forums. Like how I have borrowed “Just Forfeit” or “Fuck these guys, I’m going to Donovan’s” from other fans, some people think they are my own. I don’t make a habit of stealing material. But I found that people weren’t hiding behind the screen of the computer by saying daring things that they would never say in the face of these people (though, truth be told, I see plenty of those people now). I found that sports and especially baseball fans really wore their heart on their sleeves, and bared their souls in the comments and in response to the blogs that were objective in some ways, but came from the fan experience, so there was a lot of soul to the posts.
The Metropolitans was a place I congregated. From there spawned many spin off blogs, like Frasier to Cheers. Ed’s Blue & Orange Cafe. Yes, Joe, It’s Toasted! The Metropolitans invited me to join my first ever Fantasy Baseball team. I was the token female, but it took them awhile to realize I was a girl.
In fact, I had chosen the moniker “Coop” so I wouldn’t be “the girl” in the forums. Most of you follow me or became friends with me because of my writing style, which is how I talk, really. When I was throwing certain players under the bus or screaming about Willie Randolph, they got me. There was no male/female dynamic or even worrying that they would think of me different or that I was after a player because he was hot.
In mid-2005, I had gone to a game by myself and had taken score. Some were surprised that I had been a fan just for the game. Some were surprised I knew how to keep score. Nobody would have paid me any mind if I was there with a man, like my dad or my boyfriend. Meanwhile, my dad had taught me to keep score, and I had gotten my boyfriend into baseball.
I didn’t have to explain myself. Till I did.
One day, in mid-2006, during the Mets tear on the NL East and baseball, I had been a frequent visitor to the site Yankees 2000: Promote the Curse, which was a Mets blog claiming that the Yankees win of the World Series in 2000 on Mets home field was the reason why they hadn’t won since. (Makes sense, with 20/20 hindsight, since Shea no longer exists). One of the bloggers called me “Man” or “Hey dude” or “My man Coop.” I got a kick out of it, but I had to come clean. I said, “Hey, I’m a chick, for the record.” The next day, I got a marriage proposal, sight unseen, from one of the co-bloggers.
That same year, Brooklyn Met Fan gave me a whole new family. There was not only BMF, there was Matt the Met Fan, Blondies Jake, Irish Mike, USMF, Bill L, El Duderino, Ft. Greene Met Fan. Plenty of women in the forums, and could keep up with the Mets and baseball talk with the boys. Gender mattered, but it didn’t. They were always so open and friendly and treated me as an equal.
The Metropolitans was my second home though. I felt like I was friends with everyone on there. Toasty Joe’s blog was fun too. Sort of a Metstradamus-lite, whom I had become friendly with as well.
I had commented so many times on these sites that I thought…maybe I could do a blog of my own. I had opened an account on Blogger, and I could name it anything that I wanted. The name, the name, the name…
Since people had told me since I was very young that I looked like Drew Barrymore, I had watched many of her movies. My favorite around that time was Fever Pitch, the movie centered around the character played by Jimmy Fallon’s fandom of the Red Sox. I loved the banter between Red Sox fans, I loved how he changed during the baseball season, when he saw all his friends that he missed in the offseason. And how when after years of darkness, comes light. As a Mets fan, though we had taken care of some of that dark period by beating the Sox in 1986, Red Sox Nation got over it by slaying the dragon of 1918.
Jimmy Fallon’s character said something at the beginning of the movie. “This is my summer family.”
And I had my name. I had reached out to the Mets blogging community in 2007. They had saved me that year, from myself really. My long-term relationship had fallen apart, and I had custody of 81 Mets home games in the form of tickets. I had to find people to go with me. Bloggers came to my rescue. I had met Metsgrrl, who saved my Masters completion gift of going to see the Mets play in Milwaukee and Chicago that summer.
I had run into Greg Prince from Faith and Fear in Flushing several times at Shea, and we had become fast friends. Irony was that the very first time I met him, I was wearing the FAFIF shirt to a game. It was also the beginning of the end in 2007, against the Phillies. I met Dana Brand through my work at Flushing University, and I had met a whole new world where people actually asked to see my writing. Joe D of Metsmerized Online compared me to a cross between Alanis Morrisette and Courtney Love, if they were Mets bloggers.
The bloggers became a secondary family to me, people I enjoyed seeing. My network expanded and expanded where I was recognized in other cities, like Philly in 2008. Or when I was at Dodgertown in 2008, and Metstradamus introduced himself to me. The expansion went into Facebook and Twitter, where I had taken like a fish to water. With how big the world wide web had expanded, I’ve gotten many haters. The haters make it worth it for me to love my new friends, my secondary family that the blogging community has provided me.
By the time I retired My Summer Family in 2010, every schmoe had their own blogger or WordPress account, claiming rights to the once tight knit community. Hey, more power to them. I stepped away because I wanted to find my most authentic voice again, which was what made My Summer Family special back in 2007. Maybe it was special to some of the people who followed me. For me, it became work, tedious and wasn’t unique anymore.
I do sometimes like to look at the site, like it’s a relic from a former era. It takes me back to how much I loved having my own blog at the beginning, and how I was feeling back then. Much like a diary or photos from a year gone by, my thoughts on the Mets still appear from time to time. Much like listening to a song from my childhood, the years 2007 and 2010 on my Mets fandom are still catalogued for me to review.
And if anyone knows what happened to Mike and Benny and everyone else from the Metropolitans, tell them I miss them and wish they’d reappear.