I admit it. I’m a Mets fan.
I love baseball and have loved the Mets since we first got cable around 1968, and I got to watch that marvelous Mets pitching staff: Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Gary Gentry and Nolan Ryan. Sure, the Mets were the Mets that year and lost a LOT of games. Throughout their existence they had never had a winning season.
Yet they had style, and spunk, and I thought good times where just ahead. Sure enough 1969 came around. At first that season started slowly. The Mets were nine games behind the Cubs in September, and yet they ended up winning the division by eight games with a mad dash to the playoffs. The “Miracle Mets” made some amazing plays in beating the powerhouse Orioles in the World Series. I thought, “Wow, this is great. They will win a lot of World Series from now on.”
I was wrong. The Mets did reach the World Series again in 1973, but lost. They would then be on a dry spell until the cocky Mets of 1986 came along. Those guys had swagger, liked to party and oh yeah, they won 108 games in the regular season.
It appeared they were going lose in the World Series — to the dreaded Boston Red Sox. In Game Six, the Mets were down and looked out. I watched the game with my roommates at the time — Tom Rickey, Chris Olmstead and Ken Bell (may he rest in peace). We were frustrated, throwing things at the TV and saying that old catch phrase, “We’ll get ‘em next year.”
Then another miracle occurred. A ball that would have ended the game and the Series slipped between the legs of otherwise sure-handed Bill Buckner. The rest is history. The Mets won that game. They won Game Seven. I thought, “Wow, there are a lot of World Series in this team.”
I was wrong. They got bounced out of the playoffs by the Dodgers the following year, and the Mets would not get another whiff of the World Series until 2000 when they lost to the Yankees. Then again in 2015 when they lost to the Royals.
Yet I still love my Mets.
After all, while they are not the Yankees, Dodgers, Giants or Cardinals with double figures in World Series appearances and wins. They still make a run every decade. Now that I am older and wiser I realize only one team can win it all each year and to do that you need: good players, a good organization and some luck.
For many years the Mets didn’t have any of those things. Management seemed more interested in profits than victories and made many questionable trades and deals. But here’s the deal even in an off (or average year): You can still find things to enjoy and focus on. For instance this year we got the wonder of watching Jacob deGrom pitch (when he is healthy). Plus this team has some spunk even though they can’t seem to get a hit when they need a hit. But not being a fair weather fan I stand by them and enjoy what I can.
And a side perk is that the Mets’ top minor league team is in Syracuse and while they too are terrible, it’s still great to be in a ballpark surrounded by other Mets fans. I guess misery does love company.