The outcome is different, you guys.
Last night my beloved New York Mets capped a sweep of the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series. The Cubs never held a lead in any of the four games and the win propels the Amazin’s to the World Series for the first time in 15 years. All of this is true. I still can’t believe any of it.
I have been a baseball fan all my life, but a die-hard Mets fan since 1998. They lost the World Series in 2000. They sucked in the early ’00s. They were a win away from the World Series in 2006. They blew a 7-game lead with 17 left to play in 2007. They were eliminated from the play-offs on the last day of the 2008 season. Then they sucked all over again. If nothing else, the Mets were inventive and creative, always finding new ways to break my heart. But not last night. The outcome was different.
All of this is part of the the lore of Mets fandom, which as inspired the #LOLmets tag on social media. It’s been a tough cross to bear sometimes. So when the Mets won game 1 I was hopeful. When they won game 2, I was excited. When they won game 3, I refused to let myself think about the World Series. I kept waiting for the old Mets to show up. They never did. There were some tense moments in the final 3 innings last night. Madison got restless and started whining about things and I couldn’t handle it. “LOOK, WE JUST NEED TO GET OUTS, OK?” I shouted. When Dexter Fowler was called out on an admittedly borderline strike three call to end the game, I didn’t yell. I couldn’t. I just stood there staring at the TV through wet eyes. My brother Matty called immediately following the out. “Congrats, man,” he said. “Thanks,” I said. I was too choked up. “I’m sorry, I’m too emotional” I said. He laughed. “Tell Dad I said ‘Chee huu’,” I told him.
I can’t say exactly why I did things a little differently this time around. In hindsight, it would be cool to say that “I wanted a different result, so I had to try something different,” but I don’t think that’s true. It was a kind of selfish thing. I wanted to let go of my OCD, logicless, psychotic rituals. I didn’t wear a jersey or shirt for every game. The only three things I insisted on for every game were wearing Robbie, holding on to this baseball, and making sure Abby wore her Mets shirt. Lynnette made sure Abby had the shirt on before the start of every game. I peeled my clothes off and put the glove on and clutched the baseball as soon as I got home. If this seems stupid, believe me, it’s a pretty big step for me. I didn’t require Lynnette or Madison to wear Mets garb. I didn’t get the batting gloves or bat out. I just tried to let it be, but I wanted to be in uniform if the Mets clinched. I think I did a pretty good job of letting go some of my tendencies, but I couldn’t help myself completely. Sometime in the 8th or 9th inning, Lynnette tried to explain the significance of the game to Madison. “The Mets are going to the World Ser-” she said before she caught herself. “WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT!” I screamed at Lynnette. She just laughed. She knows all my weaknesses and she loves watching me pace in the living room, scream at the TV, and lastly, wipe tears from my eyes.
“I’m so happy,” I said when I finally took my eyes off the screen. It’s the only thing I could say. When they interviewed David Wright, I started tearing again. I was happiest for him. I have called him many things – “The Future”, “D-Dubs”, “Captain”; in a weird way, he and I have grown up together, endured the same heartbreaks. And now he’s going to the World Series. The Mets beat writers tweeted after the game that Wright was in the clubhouse muttering “We’re going to the World Series” over and over again. Me too, David. Me too.
As soon as the game was over, I decreed that the we should go out for dinner to celebrate. Before we left, I pulled Lynnette from off the couch and hugged her. She, too, has grown up with me, endured my heartache over and over and over. I looked into her eyes and kind-of hugged her. Our bellies make it kind of difficult. “Grab my ass and tell me it’s real,” I said. She laughed. “It’s real,” she said while going for full cuppage. I felt like I was floating while walking through the Mililani Town Center. We entered a toy store and Madison saw a chocolate egg with a toy inside of it. It cost $7. I didn’t care. We bought a ton of sushi and tempura and I would never ever spend that much on a non-anniversary/birthday occasion and I didn’t care. You celebrate what’s important to you.
A former student wrote on Facebook:
You dont need to turn in your hw for english in Philip Higa class right now he will still give you an A..thats how happy he is
Well, that’s not true. But it’s close. Thank you, Mets, for this amazin’ ride. There is only one more hill left to climb.
METS IN 2015!