Monday, November 2, 2015

365 Project - Day 306 - "Why I'm NOT Sad Today"

November 02, 2015 - "Why I'm NOT Sad Today"

Last night at CitiField in Queens, the Kansas City Royals defeated the New York Mets in Game 5 to win the World Series Championship.

So I should be upset today, right? At the very least I should be feeling a little sad today, right? Well, I'm not. Far from it, actually.

You see... seven months ago I couldn't possibly care less about baseball. I wouldn't say it was my "least-favorite" of the major team sports (that would be basketball, because I can't stand the squeaking sound the player's shoes make on the court) - but it was far from being my favorite. If I'd go to a baseball game I'd have a good time... but to sit and watch a game on TV, or to actually care about how a particular team was doing - that just wasn't me. Watching a baseball game on TV was almost as boring to me as watching a video recording of Henry Kissinger reading one of his memoirs. If baseball was on, I'd change the channel. Period.

And then I lost my brother.

My brother Peter was a Mets fan in a part of the world dominated by Yankees fans. Heck, those in the area who weren't Yankees fans were more likely to be Red Sox fans than Mets fans - but a Mets fan he was, all the same. His love of the Mets did not rule his life, the way some people allow their devotions to a certain team to do - but it was so strong that when I gave the eulogy at his Funeral Mass, I made sure there was a Mets reference in there. The flowers my brothers Kenny, Xavier and I bought for the services were in Mets colors. In fact, it was a frame of Mets colored flowers surrounding one of Peter's Mets jerseys.

Standing in the receiving line at my brother's Wake, I cannot even begin to tell you how many people who came up to me were letting me know that the Mets were beating the Washington Nationals. The next day - the day of the Funeral - the same thing happened - people coming up to me to let me know that the Mets had won the night of the Wake, and that Peter must have had something to do with that because, well... because it was the Mets - and the Mets were not supposed to be winning.

As the days and weeks passed the Mets seemed to creep into my life more and more. They were winning games they "shouldn't" be winning... and people felt the need to let me know that. One night I even found myself sitting on the couch after a long day of working to close up Peter's shop - drinking a beer while half-watching a Mets game. Little-by-little that scene happened more-and-more often. "His" team was starting to become "my" team. I found myself actually caring about how they were playing. I was getting to know the players. I was in awe of Jacob deGrom... of Curtis Granderson... of Noah Syndergaard - just to name a few.

The next thing I knew I was sitting in the stands at CitiField, wearing a Jacob deGrom shirt and wearing a Mets cap watching the Mets destroy the Nationals, with Duda, Murphy and Granderson all hitting home runs.

The funny thing is, people still kept telling me how the Mets "shouldn't" be doing so well. When the Mets would lose a game, people - especially Yankees fans - seemed to enjoy letting me know that fact. I cannot begin to count how many times people - especially Yankees fans - told me that the Mets were going to collapse and would definitely NOT make it into the Post-Season and had a snowball's chance in hell of making it to the World Series. The Mets going to the World Series just wasn't "supposed" to happen. That's just the way it was.

But I kept watching and watching and watching. If I couldn't watch a game, I'd be checking the scores and updates on my iPhone. And the Mets kept winning and winning and winning.

People felt the need to tell me that the Dodgers were going to end it all for the Mets. But that did not happen. Then they told me that the Chicago Cubs were going to kill the Mets. But that did not happen either. The Mets went on to win the National League Championship... and made it to the World Series.

Let me repeat that last line: The Mets went on to win the National League Championship... and made it to the World Series.

Did they win it all? No. Could they have? I believe that at the very least they could have pushed it into a Game 7. Am I disappointed that they lost the World Series? Yes... a little bit. Am I "upset" or "sad" about them losing the World Series? No. Not in the least bit. Why? Because the New York Mets - who were NOT "supposed" to make it anywhere - made it to the World Series... and I know my brother would have loved pointing out that fact to all of the people - especially the Yankees fans - who would have been telling him all season that it wasn't going to happen.

I look at a Mets logo now, and I see my brother smiling. In his own special way he made me actually give a damn about baseball. In his own special way he got me to actually be looking forward to next season...

After all - one year ago it was the Kansas City Royals who lost the World Series. Just keep that little bit of info in mind!

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