Travis d’Arnaud

Faith (Not Fear) In Flushing

Faith and Fear

Another closing day has come and gone.  It used to be that days leading up to it were nostalgic.  Almost like a wake.  We got together to remember.  We got together to forget.  (This phenomenon is known as post-traumatic Mets disorder).  Then closing day comes and goes.  Sometimes they are happy.  Sometimes, they are sad.  More often than not, it’s a bittersweet event.

Sure, the Mets put us through a lot of shit in a season.  They’ve certainly given us a fair share of feces in the last six/seven years at least.  But we keep coming back every Opening Day.  But as Greg Prince once said, “Every poseur wants to be at Opening Day. Closing Day is a rite for the secret society of baseball fanatics.” Faith and Fear in Flushing

This Closing Day was special for Mets fans though.  It showed that on a deeper level, we all still care.  We care very deeply for the team that we’ve taken as our own, and has given us personality.  I often say, I’d be really boring if it wasn’t for being a Mets fan.  I don’t know is anything really compares.  Perhaps I had a life changing experience with football and soccer fans in Seattle (those people are CRAZY). Yet, nothing else in my life compares to being a Mets fan.  I made some of the best friends I’ve ever had in my life.  I met my husband through Mets blogging.

Greg and Jason may say that being a fan in Flushing can give you both faith and fear.  It’s a delicate balance for sure with us.  I suppose this is the root of all post-traumatic Mets disorder.  We “gotta believe,” but it’s “always the Mets.”  Faith.  Fear.

What’s more is that it wouldn’t be a true closing day if I didn’t see my blogging mentor/friend/cat parent.  It also wouldn’t be a true closing day, where we celebrated Mets great Mike Piazza, if I wasn’t wearing my Faith and Fear shirt.

I had bought two in 2006, when I was in a relationship.  I got his in a bad breakup, and I have two FAFIF shirts, that showcase retired numbers in Mets fandom.  By the hardcore Faith and Fearless, these shirts have showed up in several countries, and around the U.S.  I wore mine to Texas when we ambushed Howie Rose in the radio booth.  I wore it on the day I met Greg Prince in 2007, which was a total accident.  (We ran into each other a lot that week.  Sure you can search his archives for that).

There is one number conspicuously missing from the four.  We have 37 14 41 42.

Sunday should have seen 31.  My shirt should have been outdated.  But I wore it to make a statement, that the number should be retired pre-emptively.  I honored the present with my Niese 49 jersey.  I wore numbers that are retired with the hope that another number will be with it soon.

Fans still cared.  It turns out Mike Piazza still cares.  He came.  He spoke.  He still is a rock n’ roll bad ass, something I realize has been sorely missing since his departure in 2005.

Here’s the thing with post-traumatic Mets disorder.  Or the Faith and Fear disorder that effects us all.  There is a great amount of self-loathing involved.  We get a hard-working player and hitter like Daniel Murphy, in the vein of fan favorite Edgardo Alfonzo, and vocal minority wants him gone.  Travis d’Arnaud has a lackluster beginning, and people are already clamoring to trade him.

Guys, guys.  And gals.  It’s okay.  We DESERVE good players. We DESERVE guys like Wheeler, Harvey, Murphy, d’Arnaud, den Dekker.  Even Wright.  Self-loathing is not productive.

It also does not allow us to appreciate what we do have when it’s right in front of us.

Like Mike Piazza.

I freely admit that I did not fully appreciate him while he was on the team.  Only after he was gone, did I miss him.

And this is totally my loss.  Today, you will not see a bigger defender of Mike Piazza than me.  He should not only be in Cooperstown, he should be in there as a Met.  He shouldn’t just have his plaque in the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum, he needs to have his number on the wall in left field and a section of the park named after him (I vote “The Piazza” in the upper deck promenade food court, behind home plate, a nod to his monster home runs, and his position).

I’m through with the self-loathing part of being a fan.  Yes, it makes me funny, and I do love curse words.  But let me reserve the bulk of those for Cody Ross, Shane Victorino and hockey players, like Ovechkin and Crosby.  (Also for the New York Rangers.  Those assholes deserve all my angst).

And I implore you all to do the same.  It’s okay to want and have nice things.  See, Travis d’Arnaud might not be a hitter like Mike Piazza.  But where Piazza lacked as a defensive catcher, we can appreciate in d’Arnaud.  There was a play over the weekend where d’Arnaud’s position disallowed a run to score.  Sure, Juan Lagares’ arm helped (at least, I think he was the one with the assist).  Travis d’Arnaud knew instinctively where to block the runner.

So Sunday was hopeful.  I was relieved to see the season end.  With all the extra innings, the delays, even all the nine inning games that took FOREVAR to finish…I think it took a toll on me, as a spectator.  I can only imagine what it did to the players.  As Lou Brown once said, even tough guys get sprains.  Saturday’s game was one that did me in.

I’m so angry I’m ready to cut off Cody Ross’ dick and shove it up all the Mets’ asses

— The Coop (@Coopz22) September 28, 2013

That was the loathing part.  By Sunday, all was forgotten.  I got to see family.  I got to see friends.  Everyone came to send the team off.

As my husband said, this is what it would look like when the Mets are good.

Full lot  Full house vantage point

A full parking lot.  A full house.  It was like the ghosts of Shea were brought to us all over again.

The Mets sent the Shea Faithful vibe home with a win.  The self-loathing part of me would say, a win on closing day in 2007 or 2008 would have or could have changed the trajectory of this team dramatically.

But then, we wouldn’t have the faith and the hope that 2014 and beyond will provide better times to come.

I was happy to recharge my batteries which are resembling my broke-ass iPhone these days (cannot hold a charge to save its life) with 2013 ending.  I was happy for the pregame ceremony, I was happy for the win.  I was happy to see it end…until, of course, it was over.

I said goodbye to some friends.  We joked around about the offseason, and how we are boring, but we all wait.  We wait.  We stare out the window, and we wait for spring.

For the first time in a long time, Greg and Jason, I have faith.  I have no fears, but faith in the team for 2014.  I was happy to see 2013 end, but like many on closing day, it’s not without some kind of regret or bittersweet feeling.  I feel like we’re finally being honored for our unwavering faith to this team.  And the best is yet to come.

We Are Young

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

– FUN

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.