I had a very unexpected response to the Mets clinching the NL East on Saturday…
About a month ago, it seemed the Mets winning the National League East was becoming more and more inevitable.
And certainly, when the Mets swept the Nationals in their own building in early September, their fate was more or less wrapped up short of only an imagined repeat of the 2007 and 2008 collapses running through the audience’s minds.
But even as it became expected, and almost assumed through the month of September, it still seemed shocking when the Mets clinched their inevitable division title on Saturday afternoon.
But from this author’s chair, it wasn’t shocking in the sense the Mets won a division they weren’t supposed to win, even though that is probably the case thanks to the Nationals outrageously disappointing season now stooping to new lows on a daily basis.
It’s hard to describe how I was shocked. I sat there with my wife, mostly in silence as Travis d’Arnaud jumped into the arms of Jeurys Familia as the Mets celebration began.
I got text messages congratulating me, I sent some of my own to friends, family, and people up and down the organization I’ve come to know over the course of the six years I have been covering the Mets.
But throughout the week and even into that game, I imagined how excited and jubilant I would be when the final out was called and the Mets finally won the division.
That jubilance never came.
Even my wife noticed.
“What’s wrong?” she asked. “I expected you to be so much more excited.”
I didn’t really have an answer for her. I just shrugged my shoulders.
Don’t get me wrong – I was absolutely astonished at the Mets accomplishment, and so happy for people I’ve come to know in that organization for what they’ve done.
When it was over, I began thinking of the last eight years, and the years I’ve been around the team when there was no hope and no path, no signs of progress and nothing but empty Septembers which resembled Spring Training more than a game that actually counted in the standings.
And as I thought about those times and I watched the Mets celebrate, and David Wright say the things he said, and Matt Harvey struggle to contain his own emotions, chills started going down my back.
That’s when I smiled and actually shed a tear.
I had to get up and walk our dogs simply out of sheer embarrassment. It was that moment I realized how connected I am – and we are as a unit – to the New York Mets.
(I hope my wife doesn’t read this story, by the way. She doesn’t know).
They’re not just a baseball team to us. This isn’t just entertainment or a bunch of guys wearing this fanbase’s favorite uniform.
This is our family.
This has been our family for most of our entire lives too. They’re the escape for us during difficult times, and the gravy for us during our best days. We speak about the Mets as though they are one of our own. As though they sit with us at Thanksgiving dinner, or go with us to family functions. They travel with us on honeymoons and to communions and Bar/Bat Mitzvah’s.
You know you’re like me, and check the scores and news wires during these events, too. You don’t have to admit it, but that’s just the truth. And yes, I get yelled at by my wife all the time for checking my phone for information, just like you.
We’ve only wanted what has been best for them even through what was the greatest trial they’ve faced in their 53-year history over the last few years.
And we saw it through. We stuck with them through thick and thin (and those were indeed extremely thin times).
Not only are the Mets being in this position good for the business of the organization, but it’s good for baseball too. They’re a story everyday whether they’re good or not.
And when they’re good, boy are they quite a story.
I can’t wait to see how this story plays out next month. Maybe I’ll have more moments like I did on Saturday…