Never Ending Story

I have no doubt that the title of this post has been used already in some newspaper as a headline. We’ve probably exhausted all the play on words for this guy’s name and we’re only 2 weeks into the baseball season. 

My roommate is from Colorado, and growing up a Rockies fan he could never really expect too much from the team. Even when the Rockies had solid hitting, it was always their rotation that never seemed quite enough to push them into the playoffs. It’s not surprising that this is the case in Colorado. What pitcher wants to play in a ballpark where the air is so thin that most fly balls will get carried out for home runs? You’ll probably never see a rotation like the Mets currently have spring up somewhere like Colorado. Rockies fans didn’t have much to be excited about after another losing season and after trading away Troy Tulowitski to the Jays. 

But then, a whole new chapter, in a whole new book, A BRAND NEW STORY. How tired are you of seeing sentences like that? It’s all pretty terrible. But Trevor Story did come out of nowhere as the Rockies young star. He’s already hit 8 home runs and most of those not even at Coors Field. And how about that name? Some men were just given these great baseball names. The kind of names that when you hear them you’re like “oh yeah the great so-n-so.” It just seems right that they would be on their way to be a legend. 

How weird is it that along with all this the Rockies beat San Francisco last night to hand them their sixth straight loss and are currently tied for the top of the division in the West with the Dodgers? No one saw this one coming. And while I love the Giants and it pains me to see them take a hit like this from the Rockies of all teams, I’m also a sucker for the underdog stories. Any team that upsets the Dodgers chances at a division title in the west is okay with me. 

 

It’s Still Early.

It was a rough weekend to say the least. The Mets dropped two of three against the Phillies a team they should have easily steam rolled to get this season started with a bang. The only bright side was that Cespedes finally delivered his first home run of the season for fans who were already petitioning to have him crucified. This all may seem extreme just five games into the season, but hey, it’s baseball, and more importantly, it’s New York baseball. It’s a tough place to play. Fans will go from adoring you, to asking for your head with just one swing of the bat. Fortunately Cespedes redeemed himself a bit, but Mets fans in general are very on edge with the teams 2-3 start. There’s a reason New York was named “The Big Apple” and not “The City of Brotherly Love” New Yorkers love to win. And after having a taste of all that success last season, Mets fans aren’t about to put that all behind them. They want wins and they want them now. 

That being said, it is only April 11th. But I get it. No one wants to fall too far behind the Nats and their human rooster Bryce Harper. At the same time, New Yorkers are terrible at being patient. The phrase “good things come to those who wait” is not one New York sports fans are fond of. It’s more like “good things come to those who grab it by the throat.” Mets fans have done their waiting. 30 years of waiting. (True, not as long as the Cubs, but still.) 

Now if I may, allow me to jump over to the other side of the East. The O’s are 5-0. Yet another team I genuinely enjoy and wish success upon. The O’s were my pick in pre-season to do something big this year. No one expected them. Everyone picked Boston or the Jays, which I can understand. But I had a gut feeling about the birds in the off season. My love for them comes easy on top of everything else considering they’re also the Nats crosstown rivals. The Mets to their Yankees. (I guess technically the Nats would be the Mets in this situation because they haven’t been around as long, but you get what I’m saying.) Everyone was concerned about the O’s in spring training because at one point their record was something like 0-8. Just another example of how Spring Training should not be the thing that fans hang their hopes on. 

All this being said, it’s still early.  No one picked the Mets to even win the division last year and they went all the way to the World Series. That’s just one of the great things about baseball. Almost anything and everything will happen by the time we get to September. 

By the Hammer of Thor

Noah Syndergaard, affectionately nicknamed Thor, is the pitcher Mets fans have been waiting for. He has a completely different vibe than the Dark Knight that is Matt Harvey. He’s fun, he doesn’t seek out or cause all this drama and tension in the media. He’s just 6’6″ 0f raw power and luscious blonde locks waving behind him. His twitter account banner image displays a bolt of lightening striking the Empire State building. And he’s made it very clear to Mets fans and the organization, that he would like to stay a Met, for his entire career if possible. Swoon. That is exactly what Mets fans crave. We just want to know that our best players love playing for the name on the front of the jersey just as much as they love playing for the name on the back of it. 

I wanted to stop myself from writing that Syndergaard was absolutely electric yesterday, because it’s a baseball cliche whether you’re talking about a norse god or not. But it’s true. Thor tops out at 100mph. I can’t even imagine what that must be like for hitters, and for the Royals, who rarely ever strike out. Syndergaard threw 9 Ks yesterday. 

I don’t have cable so unless I can find a decent stream of the game I’m usually listening to it on my phone in the MLB app. Even just listening to the sounds of him pitching along with the announcers commentary makes you feel like you’re seeing it right in front of your face. A lot of this credit also goes to the Mets radio broadcast team who are absolutely stellar. I hated taking the train home from work yesterday because it meant that I’d have to go without the broadcast for at least a half hour. I turned it back on just in time to hear Thor throw strikeout number 7. I was walking up the block to my apartment, and leapt for joy in such an aggressive manner that I scared the shit out of the woman walking past me.

The Mets may have been haunted by World Series ghosts on Sunday, but now it was the Royals turn, as they’re reminded that they just can’t seem to hit the God of Thunder. 

 

The Sawx

This site is mostly going to feature my feelings on the Mets, however there are several other teams I can appreciate watching during baseball season. Most of them are in the American League because they in no direct way affect the Mets success or failures. The Red Sox are one of those teams. 

It makes sense to me that Mets fans can appreciate the Red Sox. Red Sox fans no longer have a reason to be bitter about the 86 world series, and we both share a common enemy in the New York Yankees.  

I see both the Sox and the Mets as lovable working class teams. I was chatting with someone at work the other day who said he could see how people drew similarities between people from Boston and people from NYC. I told him I don’t think it’s necessarily people from the city itself, but more so the people from the outer boroughs. Especially, Brooklyn. Boston is very blue collar, working class, and those same features of the city are mirrored in places like Brooklyn. I feel like people from both Brooklyn and Boston have said the phrase “You’re not better than me” more than anyone else in the country. And if they’re not verbalizing it to you, they’re always saying it with their face. I once went to see the Dropkick Murphys in Boston at the House of Blues which is right across from Fenway.  After the show they were selling Fenway Franks outside the venue. It wasn’t even baseball season yet. Nothing makes me happier then bar food late at night. I got one and continued making my way up the block with the rest of the crowd exiting the show. I head one guy say from behind me “That shit will give yah diarrhea.” Much to my surprise it didn’t, but I loved that he felt the need to share that info with me. 

I suppose unless you’re a Yankee fan it’s hard not to appreciate the magic of Boston “reversing the curse” back in ’04. There’s a great 30 for 30 Documentary called “Four Nights in October.” Unless you’re made of stone, I’m convinced it will move anyone to tears. Maybe Im just a sucker for underdog comeback stories. How can you not be? You should always bet on the underdog, they’ll play harder than the favorite every single time. 

 

The World Series: Continued

No one knew that opening day 2016 would be a rematch of the 2015 World Series. The Mets and their fans had to sit and watch the Royals raise that championship banner. You could say “We’re ready to start fresh” till your blue in the face. But it’s like being asked to go back to a crime scene where someone ran over your dog. Except someone put a flag there to remind you that it happened.  “Hi! Remember this team that destroyed your hopes and dreams a few months back? Here’s a banner and balloons!”  There’s no way that the Mets players couldn’t feel that. There was just an unpleasant deja vu that hung in the air like poison. 

Harvey took the mound clean shaven to start the first game of the season. My first thought is that he looked more like Bruce Wayne than the Dark Knight. When I think of the fierce flame throwing Dark Knight of gotham that our city loves, this is the guy I see:

That’s besides the point though. Even looking slightly less fierce, I expected him to come out with a fire. A rage from seeing that banner fly with the Royals name on it. But all Harvey and the Mets brought those first few innings were the ghosts from Game 5. 

It didn’t help that ESPN was also constantly showing the bad throw Lucas Duda made at the plate,  as well as a slew of other Mets fuck ups from that series. I assume they did this to kill any joy or hope Mets fans may have had when they sat down to watch this game. 

Trouble started with Cespedes dropping a routine fly ball in the first inning. The man Mets fans looked at as their saving grace last season was picking up right where he left off in the World Series. Forget doing the unforgettable. He couldn’t even do the basics of what his position required.

Harvey fought back. He had some good innings. But by the top of the 8th the score was 4-0 Royals. The Mets surprised me though. Between a couple of walks and singles, the score was now a miraculous 4-3. “Oh my God. Can we do this? Can we shut up this whole stadium and the stupid announcers from ESPN?” Mostly the announcers on ESPN, who at this point I assume were just trying to send Mets fans into full blown cardiac arrest.  But if the ESPN announcers didn’t kill Mets fans this evening, the top of the 9th surely did.

Runners on the corners. The Mets are fighting. I love it. The beloved Captain goes down on strikes. The ESPN announcers shit all over him. I quietly hope that one of them steps on a lego brick when they go home. Who else should come to the plate but the man himself, Cespedes. If there was ever a perfect time to redeem that error from the first inning this was it. 

The count 0-2. This next part is a slight blur because I had my face covered while taking deep breaths in an out of my hands. I was so convinced if I didn’t look, I would hear the crack of the bat and a run score to at least tie the game. Several balls were fouled off just keeping him alive at the plate, but slowly killing me in my living room. And then I heard it:

“Swing and a miss! Strike 3! That’s the ballgame!”

Dammit. 

If there’s one thing we can take away from this game it’s that the Mets can’t carry the ghosts or the glory from last year into a new season. Cespedes the savior was the role he previously played and I don’t think we can expect that again. The Mets aren’t going to have the one person that comes in to rescue them this year. They’re going to have to save themselves.