Noah Syndergaard

Made of Stone

Sometimes I fantasize
When the streets are cold and lonely
And the cars, they burn below me
Don’t these times
Fill your eyes
When the streets are cold and lonely
And the cars, they burn below me
Are you all alone?
Are you made of stone

~ Made of Stone, Stone Roses

For a team whose motto is “Ya Gotta Believe,” I have to admit, I had a hard time believing what was happening in front of my eyes recently.

For those of you who follow this blog, you would know that in the last few years, I’ve had lots of disappointments in my life, not just sports-related, but in general.  And in early 2014, some fortunes began to change.  At least, sports-wise.  I saw a team that I had genuinely fallen in love with win a Super Bowl title, their franchise’s first ever.  In 2014, I had seen a hockey team win by guts and guile all the way to game five of the Stanley Cup Final.  Early on in 2015, though, it seemed to universe wanted to knock me down a few notches.  Oh hey, that football team you care about? Yeah, fuck you.  That hockey team you’ve been jonesing to see win a championship?  Yeah, they’re gonna fizzle.

And it never occurred to me that the Mets would even be a glimpse of my sports happiness, where I have been gleaning much of my happiness these days.  I still thought, probably like many others, that there may be a time in the near future I’d see them in a World Series…just not this year.

I tease my husband and many others for thinking about magic numbers and playoff options in April. For me, if I worried about all that shit, it would take away from my fandom, not add anything to it. I would barely be able to enjoy the season and how it unfolded. And boy did it.  I was on a podcast the day before the trade deadline.  The Mets had lost that day.  I said, look, I would not be surprised if the Mets stayed put at the deadline.  Once the Carlos Gomez deal was kaput, I didn’t think they’d make any move, and certainly not a move that got a player like Yoenis Cespedes. I was back on that podcast on Monday.  I said that it wouldn’t be like the Cubs (a team that owned the Mets in the regular season) to just roll over and not put up a fight.  Except that’s exactly what they did do. And after the last out was recorded and HOLY SHIT WE ARE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES, I stood at the television.  I held one of my Mets bears (Iggy, for those of you who know them), and I smiled. I remember in January 2014, my husband and I watched the Seahawks play the 49ers in the NFC Championship game.  Once that game was won, I expected Ed to be breakdancing or something.  After 30+ years of being a 12, and going to the Super Bowl for the second time in their franchise history, I’ll never forget how he looked.  He held his hands together, as he stood, with a big ass smile on his face. I felt like that would be my reaction for the Mets, and it was.  Maybe it was because for the very first time in my Mets fandom life, there was literally zero drama in this series.  The Cubs never even had a **lead** in the series, and the closest they got was tying the game in Game Three.  Jeurys Familia was the “Anti-Benitez” (h/t to Metstradamus for that one).  The closest we came to any kind of drama was the potential third out in the ninth inning got on base, and we had to wait for it.  OH SHUDDER THE THOUGHT! And I mean, it was all good drama, the type of shit we see happening to the Mets all the time (that **one** player killing you, see: Victorino, Shane or Burrell, Pat) is now happening to other teams.  I’ve always believed in Daniel Murphy and will probably cry if he’s no longer a Met after this year.  Yet now the whole world knows who he is, and quite frankly, I can’t be more pleased about it.

And let us not forget how bad ass Jacob deGrom is

And let us not forget how bad ass Jacob deGrom is

How this team transformed itself in a few years…it’s really amazing once you think about it.  When Frank Cashen took over at Mets GM in the 80s, he had some very good drafts, but one of his defining watermarks was the trade that sent fan favorite Lee Mazzilli to Texas for pitching prospects Walt Terrell and Ron Darling.  Terrell was traded for Mets fan favorite Howard Johnson.  Darling is still calling games for the Mets and is a part of the Mets lexicon.  What the trade was for the 86 team was probably what we will look at for trading R.A. Dickey at his peak value for Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud: the batter of the future.  Yes, I’m quite well aware that there were other players involved in that deal.  But who cares?! Those were the names, and those are the players that people come to me…Yankees fans, mind you…and are like, “Holy.  Shit. Who IS that Syndergaard kid?”

As for me?  I truly believed this NLCS would go at least six games, and that they’d bring the series back to CitiField.  I believed this so much so that my husband and I made the joint decision to sell the first two games of the NLCS (I also had a scheduling conflict…I will get to that in a minute).  But in a year where they clinched the NL East on the road and advanced to the NLDS as the road team, why did I think that was a possibility?

This year, 2015, has been a year of change for me.  Ed and I moved to a new neighborhood, and things have been getting better each day.  I got a new job as a full time pet caretaker and dog walker.  As an introvert, this is really the best job.  You deal with animals all day, and you communicate via text messaging.  And I can travel to each job and listen to my iPod as much as I want.  This is also my 40th year.  I came of age in the 80s, and I listen to a lot of new wave and British pop music from the 1980s and 1990s.  Walking the streets of New York City at different times of the day makes me very much in awe of my life.  Sometimes, the disappointments can be unbearable and the type that make you not want to get out of bed.  Then sometimes I want to slap myself and say, “COME ON! You’ve always wanted to live in New York City, and you fucking made that shit happen.  Get over yourself!”

Ruby watches the NLDS with me

Ruby watches the NLDS with me

And the scheduling conflict I had?  I had a client leave town for over a week and needed someone to stay with his dog.  Which in and of itself is not a bad thing.  It just meant that the Mets didn’t consult my calendar to see if I would be able to attend to these games.  Fret not, my schedule is ALL clear for the Series.  However, I’ve been spending a lot of time with a pit bull named Ruby who is just a mush whom I love very dearly.  And we spend a lot of time walking the streets of the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

We get up early in the morning and cross Amsterdam or Columbus or even Broadway, depending on where I decide to walk her that day.  And I’m always just amazed that in a city where there’s hustle and bustle, that the streets can be totally free of vehicles and cars.  It’s like being of clear mind, which is incredibly difficult to do in Manhattan.

And after game five of the NLDS, I met with Ed (I’m staying only a few blocks away with Ruby), and we saw many other Mets fans walking down the streets and we stopped to give them high fives.

Yet, here we go.  Even at midnight, walking the streets of Manhattan, they may not be busy, but there are people.  And most of all, there are people who think like you do and care like you do too.

Like the Stone Roses song, I’ve felt as though I was made of stone this postseason.  Because I was prepared for the Mets to let me down, like so many others have, like so many of my teams have…and especially because 2015 was as big of a shit sandwich as I’d ever seen with any of my teams.  It was different this time.  I was okay with the Mets not advancing to the NLCS because I knew they played their heart out and left everything on the field.  I knew that the Cubs would be a tough opponent so if they didn’t win game one, I’d be okay with that.  Except I realized something: I was constantly underestimating the Mets, like many others have this year.  I did have zero to little expectations this year.  Now it seems I will underestimate them all the way to the Commissioner’s Trophy.

If you told me that when I bought a small bottle of Prosecco back in January that I thought I’d be opening for the Super Bowl championship, that I could be using it for the Mets instead, I’d have laughed in your face.  But truly the last laugh is on me, and I can finally watch and relax with this team.  And I know I’m not alone in this one.

We Are Young

Tonight we are young
So let’s set the world on fire
We can burn brighter than the sun


To everything, there is a season…

And this season is called “the offseason of Mets 2012-13.”

I bid farewell to R.A. Dickey, but I say hello to the next generation of New York Mets.

And it’s certainly a different feeling than I’ve ever had as a Mets fan in my lifetime.

Over the years, we’ve been conditioned as a fan base to like deals because we were able to justify big ticket/big name players.

Shit, I even liked the Jason Bay deal at one time (Back off – I really liked the guy before he came to Flushing).

Mike Piazza – traded for a bunch of scrubs.

Gary Carter – traded for a bunch of scrubs.

Johan Santana – traded for a bunch of scrubs (even though one of those scrubs pitched a perfect game before Santana threw his no-no, they were still a bunch of scrubs).

Frank Viola – traded for a bunch of…

You see a pattern.  Most of the time, the Mets ended up on the receiving end of getting the big name, and ended up with a depleted farm system.  Not to mention, they got maybe a few good years out of them.  The prospects had their careers ahead of them.

Up till this point though, none of the prospects really broke out, except for maybe the Frank Viola deal, where Rick Aguilera held the Minnesota Twins’ record for saves until Joe Nathan left, and Kevin Tapani won 143 games in his career AFTER the leaving the Mets, best years were with the Mets.  They both won World Series championships with those teams too.

Possibly the worst thing about being a Mets fan is knowing that a deal would have a cap of a certain amount of years.

What’s odd is that R.A. Dickey holds the distinction of being one of the most popular Mets of all time, while we’re sad to see him go, we know that to everything turn,turn, turn, and there is a season.  And a time to every purpose..

When I was a kid, the Mets were celebrating their 25th anniversary, which was in 1986 as ironic as that sounds.  In conjunction with that season, there was a video called “An Amazin’ Era,” chronicling their history up to 1985.  They made their own fate in 1986 and beyond.

Now that I am a adult, and celebrating my something-th birthday today, the Mets have turned 26 additional seasons.

I’m getting older. The Mets, well, they are getting younger.

While I’m sad about R.A. Dickey being gone, I can take comfort in knowing that the Mets are going to be better in the future.

And they are getting YOUNGER.

I was on the Sully Baseball daily podcast, and we talked about how this deal is almost antithetical to what the Mets have done operationally in the past.

And now we’re young.

Age is nothing but a number, yet age has mattered for the Mets, and most of all the numbers (meaning: numbers not made, or numbers of contracts that didn’t pan out, or years for that matter).  This can be a deal that can not only be beneficial for the Mets, but will make them age gracefully.

Something I’m not used to seeing as a fan.

I was 10 years old when I saw the Mets win their last championship.  Wait, scratch that.  Don’t pay attention to how old I was.  Anyway, the next few years weren’t pretty for a fan.  They got older, more broken, and a few years after, there were barely any members of that gloried bunch.

We went from having a fun year in 1999 to seeing youthful guys like Robin Ventura and Mike Piazza break down.  Hell, even perpetually youthful Edgardo “Fonzie” Alfonzo broke down too early.

I’m convinced the reason why the Mets fell apart was because of Carlos Beltran’s balky legs and Jose Reyes’ balky hamstrings.

Yet, the guy who was considered by all intents and purposes an “elder” on the Mets, aged backwards.  He got better as he aged, won a coveted Cy Young and won 20 games to boot, all the while reinventing himself.

It seems as though the Mets took a cue from him to age backwards, but literally.

So tonight, we may be young.   Like the Mets though, in 2013 and beyond, I’d like to promise to myself that I’ll set the world on fire.  We should all have that sort of promise to ourselves.