This is a response to an earlier post asking people to tell why and how the Mets became their team.
Around 1978 or so, my grandfather took me to my 1st ball game of any kind. I was 7 years old, and had little concept of what baseball was. I actually remember such details as where we sat (field level, 3B side, Probably somewhere around section 250?) and remember the score (they lost 4-1 to the Cubs) and I remember the hot dog and the pretzel he got me, and I remember the heavy-set guy that was talking to me and my grandfather about the Mets (I had no idea what they were talking about, but knew it was about baseball) and then my grandfather told him it was my 1st Mets game, and the guy said "Well, congratulations, it's gonna be tough, but it's gonna be fun to be a Mets fan."
I remember wanting to catch a foul ball, but none came my way. (To this day, I've never even been CLOSE to a foul ball)
I still remember that.
However, I didn't really become a true fan until around 1983. (at 12/13 yrs old) I got my 1st job, a paper route.
I used wire clamps to fasten a milk crate I "borrowed" from next to the garbage behind the nearby food store to a bike i bought for $2 at a yard sale. (The bike was pink, and I spray painted it black, but because the black paint would scrape off every time I got on or off or dropped the bike, it was more like a black bike with pink tiger stripes...lol)
Doing the paper route, riding my bike with the newspapers right there in front of me, 1983 was when the Mets started to get more back page play. I started reading the headlines, then the main stories, then the inside stories, then the stats, then watching a few games on TV, then more and more and more.
I started listening to WFAN (1050 AM I think at the time?) especially when they played on the west coast and I could lay in bed , perfectly still so as not to disturb the clock radio that was barely getting a clear signal.
I remember listening when they switched to 24 Hr Sports format and down to 660 AM.
I remember keeping index cards with stats on them for different players I liked (I had it all figured out. If Doc Gooden pitched for 20 years at his current pace, he'd have X strikeouts, X wins, etc. Darryl Strawberry would have X HRs and X RBIS, etc. Guaranteed Hall of Famers with THOSE stats!)
After each game (and sometimes even within the game and after each AB) I would recalculate. I got to a point where I was living and dying just a little with each AB.
As the team got better and I got more into it, I found different bonds within my own family. MY grandfather, as it turns out, once played in the minors and was scouted by the Yankees. I never got the whole story, but for some reason, he hated the Yankees. (The organization, no specific players) My father was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, and thus a non-Yankee fan, my Mother was a Mets fan (She grew up in Brooklyn) and when in 1986, the Mets had that MAGICAL year, I watched EVERY PITCH of the Mets playoff games.
(Some innings seemed REALLY long when I had to wait for a commercial to go to the bathroom, get some homework done, or go eat dinner.)
Something about that team always gave me the impression that they would somehow come back and win.
Game 6 Vs the Astros? Back and forth.....one of my favorite games of all time.
Game 6 Vs Boston?
Tie game, 10th inning, leadoff HR for the Red Sox. My mother stood up. "Bah, it's almost over"
Aggie strikes out 2, then allows 2 hits to allow another run. "Bah, after all that, they blow it"
Mets come up.
Backman flies out.
Hernandez flies out. (At this point, I was thinking, "Bah, Hernandez would have been the one to get on base, if he can't, maybe we're in trouble")
2 outs, no one on, my mother went upstairs to clean up a bit. She said "Bah, it's over"
I said "No, you never know"
She said "Get to bed, it's getting late"
I said "The game isn't over'
She said "Yes it is"
I said "Then why are they still showing a pitcher about to throw a pitch"
She said "Don't be a smartass and go to bed"
I pretended not to hear....standing in front of the TV, staring, hoping.
Carter gets a hit.
Mitchell pinch hitting gets a hit.
Hey mom! Carter and Mitchell got hits, Ray Knight is up! (Back then, I was never thinking that a player can win or tie a game with a HR, it just wasn't as common. Now-a-days, every time a tying run is at the plate, I think "Uh oh, one swing we could be tied")
Mom says "Ok, fine, when it's over, get to bed"
Knight gets a hit. 1 run down!
"Hey MOM!" (No response)
WILD PITCH! TIE GAME! "HEY MOM!!!!!"
"They just tied the game!"
"Ok, I'll be down in a minute, I have to finish folding laundry"
At this point, I'm giving my best play by play at the top of my lungs. "Mookie is coming up!"
"It's gonna be close!"
"HE MISSED IT!"
I knew it would happen. (My mom played it down with a "wow...cool")
Next day, they win (Of course, I knew they would)
and from that moment on, I have lived and died with them.
I live just outside of Philly now. it's tough. Last seasons collapse was REALLY hard to take. SO many Philly fans saying how they never doubted their team, how they KNEW they were better than the Mets and were never worried no matter how far back they were behind the Mets.
Every day, scoreboard watching, game on CBSSPORTSLINE on the computer at work, in my office as I teach, at the perfect angle so the students can't see, but I can peak in and see the score.
BUT.....2 outs, no one on, down by 2 runs in the 10th inning, down 3 games to 2 in the World Series. I KNEW they would do it. Somehow.
I'm a Mets fan for life now.
As a side note. I recently over paid for tickets at Shea, September 6th around the same area as I saw that 1st game with my grandfather (He died around 17 years ago.)
I'm taking my Wife and kids to the game, the last series against The Phils in Shea. 14th to last game at Shea in the regular season. 20 games after that game left in the season. Sitting roughly where I sat some 30 years earlier, with MY kids, who will likely grow up Philly Fans because of where we live, (I'm ok with it as long as they like them for their own reasons, not because everyone tells them who to root for)
Would it be too much to ask for a foul ball?! =)
How great would THAT be?!