My dad was in attendance at Shea Stadium when the Mets mounted one of the biggest comebacks in baseball history in “Game Six.” If anyone says “game six,” whether or not they are a Mets fan, you know they are referring to the World Series Game Six in 1986.
We were also at Shea in 2006 when the Mets were playing the Cards in the NLCS game seven. After Carlos Beltran struck out looking to end the game and sent the St. Louis Cardinals to the World Series, we had gone separate ways to leave that motherfucker as quickly as possible.
My cell phone rang as I walked to the train. It was Dad. He made the first train out of dodge. He said, “I was there for one miracle. I didn’t think there would be another.”
If you recall, the Mets came back to score three runs in extra innings to beat the Red Sox in a game that would’ve brought a championship to Boston for the first time since 1918. In 2006, fortunes changes when Yadier Molina hit a devastating home run for the go ahead in the ninth inning, in a game that was tied for-fucking-ever.
Even when the Mets had put tying runs on base in the bottom of the ninth, you had ’86 game six in your head. But you also remembered that this team was not the ’86 team. And then Wainwright threw his curve.
But whether you are a Mets fan or a Red Sox or even an Arizona Cardinals fan, you believe till the very last second. Because it’s never quite over till it’s over.
I started thinking of the game in 2006 as I watched the Seahawks in their matchup against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. While the Panthers looked as though they were a team headed for destiny all season, if anyone who follows football knows that if any team was going to stop that, it would be Seattle. And I’m not even saying that as a fan of the team and someone who has followed them through really no choice of my own (I married into it and really couldn’t care less about watching football games on TV) for over five years at this point. I’m saying that because there’s something special about Seahawks “devil magic.”
We saw it in the NFC Championship game last year when everyone was salivating over Russell Wilson looking almost “human.” They came back and won. But they lost Super Bowl 49 on a controversial last play call. Most 12s have moved on. Mostly because we knew that was not our destiny.
Yay, if any team was going to knock down the Panthers a notch or two, it would be Seattle.
But the only team they were beating was themselves.
I was okay with it.
I’ve been kind of in hiding since the Mets lost the World Series. Looking back, I think I was very much in denial about the outcome of it. It was tough because of the deja vu of the series (it reminded me a lot of the New York Rangers Stanley Cup run in 2014). It was tough because the team I had gotten so used to fighting back tooth and nail in each game did not do so. I also knew it was the last time I’d see Daniel Murphy is a Mets uniform. Now that was way more upsetting than losing the World Series. They could theoretically be back. But I wanted Daniel Murphy to be a lifelong Met. Now he’s a National.
I even went to a Seahawks game where they were the visiting team, in Baltimore. I didn’t even want to write about it though it was quite possibly one of the most fun sports road trips I had taken in my life, but also in such a short time period (when I visited Cincinnati in September to follow the Mets). Sometimes, I do lose perspective and forget how good I have it as a sports fan, that I have the ability to travel and do things to support my teams. This trip was not one of those times. I told Ed after the game that I was so happy he had brought this wonderful team into my life.
Ed and I got married in 2010. From a sports perspective, I’ve seen three Rangers visits to the Eastern Conference Final, and they won only one of those to advance to the big dance. I know Ed has not been too happy with how the Utah Jazz have performed (and I used to root for them back in the day, because I loved Stockton but also I didn’t want to be a Chicago Bulls fan, like every fan in America was back then). The Mets were more mediocre with the exception of this year when they actually looked like world beaters. To say the majority of our teams have let us down is an understatement. Especially being a Mets fan, you get used to it.
The Seahawks have been interesting. Though I had attended Jets games and even wore my Mark Sanchez jersey that I still have laying around somewhere (that I also wore to my first visit at CenturyLink Field in 2012), I followed Seattle more because whenever they were on, Ed made it a point to watch them. As I told Michelle MsDodgrBlu yesterday, I didn’t care about football for a very long for two reasons: one, my dad is a Jets fan, and I just didn’t care about watching football (baseball was a lot easier for me to understand and enjoy). The other is that while the rest of America gets to lounge around, watch TV and drink beer and eat wings on Sundays, I worked for several years in my adulthood on Sundays, so I missed many games. It just was not a priority to me.
If you ask Ed or super fan Ramona, Seahawks blogger whose posts on being a 12 I truly enjoy, being a Seahawks fan for several years almost mirrored mine as being a Mets fan. Years of ennui, and the times of joy were also sort of peppered with disappointment along the way. When Ed gave me my Steve Largent lesson, he described him as being both the “Ed Kranepool and Tom Seaver of the Hawks” (longest tenured and “Franchise” player to boot). Yet, I’d almost equate Largent with a Mike Piazza type, the truly talented guy who never won a championship (oh and that’s another bright spot for being a Mets fan in these last few weeks: Mike Piazza will be wearing a Mets cap in Cooperstown).
In contrast with the time period I’ve been following, since late 2010, I’ve witnessed such Seahawks stuff of legend, like “Beast Quake” and breaking the Guinness Book of World Records for noise, and even the NFC Championship game last year against Green Bay and the shanked field goal attempt in Minneapolis last weekend…yes, I’ve kind of borne witness to some really crazy shit in my time. If they ever become “basic” I don’t know what I’ll do (that’s almost a joke…basic will be either winning or losing a game regularly without drama or some shit). The wild part? I wouldn’t have even called myself a “12” or a “fan” at that point. I was just casual. It was visiting Seattle that I really got the essence of being a football fan and why people were crazy about the sport.
Despite all you hear about New Yorkers being crazy and the “best fans,” we are not without our faults or worse (need I remind people that I almost had to break up SEVERAL fights amongst Rangers fans in the playoffs last year), I was forever changed visiting Seattle. I can only imagine what it would be like in Pittsburgh or Green Bay where I know their football is almost like a religion. But there was something special about the city too. I visit other cities to do things. I go to Seattle to just be. Very similar to how I am at home in New York City.
I found my home.
My second home, but home nonetheless.
I’ll stick around.
So take your lessons hard and stay with him
And when your car crash comes, don’t be misled
Convince yourself that everything is alright
‘Cos it already is
Yeah it already is
~ Pete Yorn, For Nancy (‘Cos It Already Is)
My feelings on the football season could almost be washed away very quickly. Maybe it’s from my years of being a sports realist and knowing that my team cannot win everything every single year. Maybe it’s because I know my teams will lose some games, and they will win some games, but maybe just maybe we will have some fun along the way. And there has been a lot of fun along the way.
When the Seahawks were down 31-0 at the end of the first half (seriously), I thought…as long as there is light, there is hope. And I don’t care what anyone says, I’m certain the Panthers had fear that the Seahawks’ devil magic was going to work once again.
What I felt for the Mets as they approached game five in the NLDS this year was that, win or lose, I knew they left it all out there. Then they won the series. Then they swept the NLCS. You wanna know why I felt nothing after they lost the World Series? Because once again, the team that has disappointed me over the years returned. This was the Mets team I knew and came to love. Only love can break your heart, as the saying goes. Sure, I was hurt, but the realist in me says, well, what do you expect, Coop?
The disappointment set in because they didn’t leave it on the field. They basically laid down and died. The only thing that will fix that is by winning in 2016. And I’ll leave it at that.
I was sad yesterday as the Seahawks couldn’t win, sure. I was sad, yet hopeful. As I told Ramona on her Instagram account later, I felt a lot better right after the loss, but it got hard over time. I guess at that point, I knew there was nothing else that could be done. They left it all out on the field, though. They didn’t lay down and die. And really, how many teams would have down 31-0 at the half??
As a fan, you really can’t ask for more than that.
But hours after the game ended, it set in again. Like last year after the Super Bowl loss, it wasn’t the losing and HOW they lost that got to me. It was the loss of that awesome and fun team. I was sad because football season goes on, like life always does, but the Seahawks season did not. So goes life, again.
I go to a hockey game Tuesday night, and Ed will be joining me for the first time in several years. Cursing about the New York Rangers is a state of mind for me. In a few weeks, pitchers and catchers report. Then we will have baseball and summer and all the good stuff that comes along with it, plus an amazing trip to Cooperstown that not only will honor one of my own, but Seattle’s favorite son Junior. Then football season will start again and maybe a miracle Mets run again? Maybe?
Yeah. Everything is all right.
‘Cos it already is.