COOPERSTOWN, NY– It’s been a while in more ways than one for me, and if the phrase “hope springs eternal” is true, I am about to make a return of sorts. Flashback to 1981: I’m 14-years-old and getting no action, not far removed from collecting baseball cards and playing organized Little League. Sports was everything to me and in the summer Major League Baseball was the only show in town. I loved the game and knew all the numbers, courtesy of the Sunday paper – complete with all batting and pitching statistics. This Week In Baseball narrated by the great Mel Allen was a prelude to that day’s Mets and Yankees games watched with my dad on WOR and WPIX, respectively. As we know, the game is about fathers and sons – like no other sport – and was a huge part of Americana. Not so much anymore, but I digress.
In mid-June the players decided to strike, taking away half of a summer otherwise reserved for baseball and left a gigantic void – and bitter taste of reality – that the game with 108 double stitches on its ball was a business. Movies, namely forever favorites History of the World Part I, Cannonball Run, Stripes, and Big Trouble in Little China kept the summer from being a complete wash. Three years later came another strike threat and I was gone for good. Didn’t care about the wipe-out of playoffs and World Series in 1994 or the steroid-induced home run races between McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds, which only supported my stance that baseball only screws a loyal fan base.
Yet here I am, hours before first pitch 2016, saying I have returned. Who do I root for after thirty-plus years of baseball abstention? Do I return to the Orioles, whom I rooted for as a kid? Eddie Murray was the last great player I followed with regularity even through all his late career stops. I still dislike the Yankees but not with the hatred during childhood.
There’s a certain amount of effort to follow an out-of-market team, as I do with the Boston Bruins and that is plenty enough for me. Short Matt, during one of those seemingly aborted MTM podcasts, planted the seed of getting involved in baseball once again and finding a team to support. He proposed the Mets as that team but I quickly pointed doing so would classify me as a front-runner since they went to the World Series last year. An argument to become a Mets fan was simple – I live in the tri-state area and the Blue & Orange would represent the first ever home market team ever supported.
So here I am, like it or not, a new New York Mets fan. It really does make a lot of sense and requires little effort since SNY and MeetTheMatts.com will tell me all I need to know about my new favorite team. Truthfully, I can’t say I’ll be confused with Mr. Met but for those Mets fans that need to know, I’m a “mush” as in the big fat guy from A Bronx Tale and probably have sent the team into descent with an endorsement. Look out below! Here comes the Cheese Man as a Mets fan. And my new favorite player is Michael Conforto.
Speaking of supporting front-runners, come back tomorrow for West Coast Craig. – diehard fan of the new Los Angles NFL team.