MetsoMania ReMeMbeRed

Skinner, Savid

Casual METSOMANIA REMEMBERED It will be spring soon and, more to the point, baseball season. This knowledge brings me some joy and not a little anxiety, due to the birth of my son almost a...

...As a matter of fact, Newsday did get into trouble for something like this not long ago...
...Iíd sit on the front stoop of my house around 6:30 a.m., trying to will myself onto a bicycle to deliver 20 or 30 copies of Newsday to local subscribers...
...Worse, there are baseball caps in my house that I wear to cover up my pillow-head, bearing the logos of teams I donít root foróand this doesnít bother me...
...It started with some minor league games in Prince William County, Virginia...
...Doc Gooden, along with several other terrific players, carried the Mets to World Series victory in 1986...
...Fortunately, distraction was near at hand in the sports pages...
...Under the influence of a friend and his optimistic family, Iíd become a Mets fan...
...Except when I think about my son...
...Pay was crummy, the hours stunk, and the newspaper bag was so weighted as to send me, more than once, tumbling head over wheels...
...This was Queens, after all...
...But for starters, maybe Iíll swing by the baby store to see if they sell any teething toys in the shape of a baseball...
...I hated this job...
...My second grade teacher, Sister Dominic, was a Mets fan, and her brand of classroom tyranny seemed at one with the all-sacrifice, no-rewards life of a true Mets partisan...
...Also, I resumed the habit of watching playoffs and World Series games...
...My customers were no doubt relieved...
...The rest is well-known baseball history...
...Having started as a Mets fan when they were an awful but likable team, I was increasingly angry that they could not behave in a manner becoming to a great team...
...Oh, the wonder of the back sports page as it announced every few days how many strikeouts Gooden had achieved, sometimes with Kís almost as large as the page itself...
...david skinneR...
...As a nine-year-old, I knew a lot about the subject...
...But just as I was beginning my career in the news business, Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden were beginning their careers with the Mets...
...This swift rise to greatness was accompanied and then followed by much turmoil, as drugging, boozing, and brawling corroded the Mets image of baseball excellence...
...Currently, I am an example of that hated species, the fair-weather fan, interested in the good times and just a little too busy for the bad times...
...but the Mets had been the worst team in the National League...
...For good or ill, many a lesson in character is taught through sports...
...Iíd ponder the league rankings and sometimes even read an article about those lowly Yankees over in the Bronx...
...Then I took more than a passing, though not quite a rooting, interest in the new Washington Nationals...
...While my customers were wondering where their papers were, I was reading about the most recent game, and then enjoying a second, repetitive, story about the most recent game...
...The Mets had won the World Series in 1969, but this was a distant, almost mythical instance of unlikely triumph, one that had long since given way to the deadening routine of likely defeat...
...Ya gotta believeĒ was one of their slogans...
...For good reason, they were soon being called ďthe worst team money could buy,Ē and I had stopped delivering the newspaper...
...At the start of the 1987 season Doc Gooden was in rehab...
...I want to be at his side commending patience in adversity when our team is in a slump, and grace under pressure when a game, or a series, or a season, or a career, is on the line...
...Lately baseball has come back into my life...
...All the legitimate examples and maddening clich?s about integrity and hard work that baseball provides I want at my disposal as a father...
...Also, the guy in charge was constantly upping the number of papers he delivered to my stoop, in what I thought was a crooked attempt to inflate the number of subscribers in the area...
...Well, within a few seasons, I didnít, not anymore...
...Also, I am more or less without a club, which in the monotheistic world of baseball fans amounts to heresy...
...This knowledge brings me some joy and not a little anxiety, due to the birth of my son almost a year ago...
...This season, Iíll try to be a better fanórooting for whom Iím not sure...
...Iíll see him playing on the rug or, now that his teeth are coming in, chewing on the coffee table, a CD case, or, last week, an actual rock, and the thought will hit me: Shoot, heís going to expect me to know about baseball...

Vol. 12 • March 2007 • No. 27


 
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