This week the New York Mets lost two out of three games to the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field. Tonight they start a three game series at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers. These games are sure to stir passions, bring back memories, and are clearly proof that these three teams form a National League feuding baseball “family” that rivals the Hatfields and McCoys back in the days of old.
Some Mets fans were up in arms because, during Wednesday night’s loss to the Giants, there seemed to be more Giants fans in the stadium than the home crowd. Decked out in Giants gear, these fans were boisterous and certainly annoyed the Mets faithful.
Now tonight the Dodgers begin a three game series at Citi Field. There has to be even more tension in this case. Anyone who has visited Citi Field knows that the Jackie Robinson Rotunda (named in honor of the legendary Brooklyn Dodger) is the gateway to the stadium. The Mets celebrate their Dodger roots in this magnificent hall, but the conflicting feelings abound for former Brooklyn Dodgers fans who still believe in the Bums that once occupied Brooklyn’s Ebbetts Field.
In fact, Citi Field itself is an homage to Brooklyn baseball, with the exterior design inspired by the old Ebbetts Field architecture. Clearly the Mets were tipping their caps to the senior members of the New York National League family here, but they also do that every game of the year – wearing Dodger blue and Giant orange on their uniforms.
I have heard old Dodgers fans say, “I’m a Mets fan except when the Dodgers are in town.” Fifty-four years later they still have not given up the faith, hoping somehow or some way that their beloved team will find its way home again. Some Giants fans will say similar things. Until that unlikely time occurs, when these teams play in Queens it brings back fond memories and causes some misty eyes still after all this time.
The young gun Mets have played forty-nine seasons now, so they are not exactly little anymore, still they are the junior members of the New York National League club, and it seems sometimes that they are always fighting ghosts, and that is usually a no-win situation to be sure.
Tonight the Dodgers take their place in the visitor’s dugout, but one thing could help those old Dodger fans root for the Mets this time: former Yankee Don Mattingly is now the team’s skipper. Unlike Joe Torre, who had a Mets pedigree, Mattingly can only be associated with the Yanks. If that is not enough to push an old Dodgers fan to root against his team for the Mets, I don’t know what will work.
The Mets, Giants, and Dodgers and their fans are all part of a big dysfunctional baseball family. So there may be bickering, but in the end they will settle down, the players will run onto the field, and the fans will pass the Crackerjacks. In between a few elbows and jabs, they will get to what is most important: playing baseball and knowing that they are all part of the same bloodline. As my grandpa used to say, “Mets orange and blue blood is thicker than Yankee blueblood any day.”
Let’s go Mets!
Citi Field – NY Daily News
Ebbets Field – nyc.gov