It has taken me a week to process the results of Major League Baseball’s 2015 World Series – the New York Mets losing to the Kansas City Royals – and even now as I write this, my emotions are still not in check; however, I am going to get this done because it is something I need to do to move on.
There have been many reports about how Mets fans are devastated by this defeat, but that should come as no surprise to anyone. When you have been waiting 15 years to get back to the World Series, it’s pretty much a given that many of those who bleed orange and blue just as I do think that after this loss we will have to wait that long again.
There was such euphoria in New York prior to the World Series. Mets colors could be seen East Side, West Side, and all around the town. After crushing the LA Dodgers and sweeping the Chicago Cubs, talk of the Mets as “a team of destiny” kept circulating on talk radio sports shows and online. Maybe we were too confident, too certain that we could rise again and decimate the Royals, but that was just not meant to be.
I always say that my Mets were born from losing. Our parents the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers knew about that all too well. After they left New York for the West Coast, the void was long and arduous until the Mets rose from the muck and mire of the Gowanus Canal in 1962 to wear Giants orange and Dodger blue. This awkward National League child would be the answer to the prayers of fans who refused to consider the hated New York Yankees as their team.
But these fans realized that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. The bumbling early Mets were amazing in one salient way – they always found a new way to lose. The fans may have groaned and grumbled, but no matter what their team did the Mets remained lovable losers – with an emphasis on the lovable part.
Over the years since the inconceivable victory in the 1969 World Series, there have been many disappointments. My fellow fans and I have lived through them all, weathered all the storms, but have never wavered in our support and love of the team.
There is something of the cartoon character Charlie Brown in the Mets. They are determined, of goodwill, and want to succeed, but it seems like every time they are almost to the point of winning it all, another team plays Lucy van Pelt and pulls the football away just as they’re about to kick it. Fortunately, just as with Charlie Brown, we fans keep watching and waiting and hoping that one day we will get that ball.
I think the problem here was that we all invested so much this time in believing, and each Murphy homer and Harvey strikeout lulled us into thinking we had this thing in the bag. My friends and I were texting during the games – we have all been friends (and Mets fans) since Kindergarten – and we were as giddy as teenagers again, so fervent in our love of team and belief that this was our time for glory.
When it all goes away, when that last pitch is done and the other team is celebrating, well there is nothing worse than that. The sum of all our hopes not realized, our collective orange and blue balloon bursting and causing all of us to fall silent, shed tears, and stare into the abyss.
In my mind I know I should be proud of the team and of its accomplishment. There should be acknowledgement of how far they came, how close they were, and they gave us a great season and we should be thankful for it; however, in my heart the disappointment is so deep, so enduring, that I know it will be hard to do that, and this loss will haunt me all winter.
Still, I know it’s time to let go – time to accept defeat, tip my cap to the Royals and their fans, and whisper, “Wait until next year.” It’s just that I have been saying that so long, forever it seems, and it gets harder and harder to say it now.
I want to believe because my favorite player from long ago, the late great Tug McGraw, used to say, “Ya gotta believe.” I am going to keep trying and keep hoping and thinking that maybe the Jets and Knicks will get me through the winter. Unfortunately, the way they have been playing, “pitchers and catchers” and MLB’s spring training can’t come soon enough.
Then a new year will start, and the whole cycle will begin again. Will Cespedes be gone? Murphy too? Will any big star come into the fold? Those will be more things for Mets fans to bicker about this winter and inspire grumbles and groans from the faithful, but in the end, when all is said and done, none of this matters. Our blood runs orange and blue and that’s forever.
So we will all be there for Opening Day 2016, forgetting our pain and that terrible loss. The team will take the field and everyone will be screaming, and I’ll be shouting “Let’s Go Mets” as loud as anyone else at Citi Field.
Photo credits: stevesipress.com, ny daily news
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