It’s impossible to play baseball – and then the old-man version of it – for over half your life without picking up a few superstitions. When I actually played on the big diamond, I got dressed in a specific way (compression shorts then socks then undershirt then jock then jersey then pants then belt then wristbands then cap), wore or didn’t wear batting gloves depending on how I was hitting, and scrawled the number 8, a cross, and a few things under the bill of my hat. Automatic.
In my early 20’s, my Mets superstitions are the stuff of insane fandom lore. I wore whichever cap the Mets were wearing that day. I wore batting gloves during the half-innings when the Mets were at bat. I scissor-locked Lynnette around the waist in hopes of inciting a rally – and it worked! The downside was only for Lynnette who had to sit there with my legs wrapped around her torso until the half-inning ended. On Madison’s second day of life, the Mets were playing the Phillies on ESPN and it was showing in the hospital room. I picked up my daughter in my arms and whispered, “C’mon, let’s see if you have any magic in you” – and the Phillies shortstop promptly made a two-run error. If you’re a sports fan, then you know how it works: you borrow from the “Best Bet” philosophy of believing in God. Maybe what am I doing has no rational cause-and-effect relationship with my team’s performance, but still. It can’t hurt. And I know it’s only February, but, um…
Encouraged by the Cowboys playoff run this season – and the fact that our family had Cowboys shirts and faithfully wore them for every game – I scoured Amazon for Mets gear. I figured my family alone was at least 7%-84% responsible for the Cowboys’ performance this year, and logic dictated that I
should am obligated to do the same for my beloved Mets.
The Mets haven’t made the playoffs since 2006, the year I got married and honeymooned in New York. Since then, it’s been a steady decline into frustration, indifference, and irrelevance. How long has it been? David Wright is 32. That seems impossible and depressing until I remember that I’m going to be 35 in April, and that just makes the whole thing even more depressing.
“You should have got me Pokemon,” Madison said when I revealed the contents of the Amazon box. Hmph. The Mets just have to turn her into a believer this season the way the Cowboys did. But there is an obvious problem.
The Cowboys play once a week, so it was always easy to figure out when to wear our shirts. The Mets, however, like all MLB teams, will play 5 or 6 times a week. It will be hard to build an “event” around Mets games in the same way we did for Dallas ones. I mean, Opening Day (April 6) is obvious, and so is the Mets Home Opener (April 13), but after that? I think I’m just going to make Sunday Mets day. It’s the simplest solution.
I don’t think Madison will be a problem. Eventually, my enthusiasm and insistence will carry over to her, too. If not, there is the fact that I am her father and as such, can mandate certain things. No, the hard sell is going to be Lynnette. She’s been with me and the Mets since 2003, and only once has her
romantic sports obligation faith been rewarded. In fact, a few years ago, Lynnette made a huge heel turn against me. Like her Instagram post which proclaimed “Mets in 2016!” she uses my love of my sports teams to troll me. She’s my wife and therefore knows I only really care about a few special things. In her sick, twisted mind, she knows it’s one of the few ways she can emotionally screw with me. It’s why she started saying “Well, you know Abby’s favorite team is the (football) Giants, right?” and “Abby wants to know when Eli Manning is playing”. It’s why she maintains that Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is the “hottest third baseman in the NL East.” She knows it makes me batshit crazy to hear anyone in my house pick against David Wright in a talent or hotness argument.
METS IN 2015!