About three years ago, my girlfriend and I hopped into a U-Haul and moved from Binghamton, New York to Denver, Colorado. It was something of a risky move: I, a thirty-something-year-old, didn't have a job and didn't really know anybody out there—ditto for my girlfriend. Moreover, while I have extended family in different parts of the country, I had never lived outside the northeastern United States: I was born and raised near Binghamton; I spent the better part of six years living in New York City and New Jersey; and I returned to Binghamton for grad school. And now, at an age when many of my friends were well into their marriages or careers, I was heading west.
There’s a lot I could share about the experience of moving out here, but suffice to say it has worked out incredibly well. My girlfriend is now my wife, we both have gainful employment, we have a nice home, we’ve made some good friends, and we have a couple of corgis. This is all to say that Colorado is feeling less like the novel adventure it once was, and more like the home it has become.
It isn’t perfect, of course—nothing ever is. There are plenty of things I miss about the northeast, most of which have something to do with family, food, and culture. The Mets are on that list, of course; but, to be fully honest, my distance from Citi hasn't really even occurred to me most of the time. I have an MLB.tv subscription, I get the same Mets news that people in New York get, and I interact with other Mets fans on Twitter.
None of this is to say I don't seize any chance I get to watch the Mets in person. I attended all three games against the Rockies at Coors Field last weekend, just as I did the year before, and the year before that. It was a great time made greater by the presence of my dad, who, for the second year in a row, flew out for the series (methinks we’re making this an annual tradition).
This year’s series was different, though: It made me feel the distance between Colorado and New York with a very particular acuity. Unlike years before, the Mets rolled into Denver last week with a late-season hold on first place. And unlike series past, wherein I would see a few dozen or so other Mets fans scattered around Coors Field, we descended on Denver by the thousands: up and down the streets of LoDo, ambling through the parking lots, clogging up the concourses, and packing the stadium's seats. It was blissfully surreal—as if the MTA had decided to take the 7-train expansion another 1,700 miles west.
But the truly extraordinary thing was how Mets fans—emboldened by the events on the field—took vocal control of Coors Field early in game one and never truly let go until the sweep was "in the books." Along the way there were jubilant moments, like Cespedes' grand slam or his third home run of that game, when I could have sworn I was back in Queens, watching an awesome baseball game among legions of like-minded fans. But then I’d notice the Rockpile, or the ‘350’ painted on the right-field wall, or the Rooftop, and the illusion would recede.
I was and am elated and grateful that I got to watch first-hand as the Mets swept the Rockies. I I am thrilled they continued the streak by steamrolling the Phillies in four games. And I am thoroughly stoked that the Mets' division lead is now up to 6.5 games.
But even as these happy events unfold, there's another feeling I can't push aside: longing. I find myself reminiscing about the times in my life when I would regularly take the 7 train or the LIRR out to Shea, and then Citi, and when I got to experience and participate in the one-of-a-kind electric rush of many thousands of New York Mets fans working up into a frenzy.
It is a bittersweet fact that one of the only constants in life—maybe the only constant—is change. For better and for worse, people come and go, places are left behind, and priorities shift. Deep down I still identify with my old homes in Binghamton, in NYC, and in New Jersey, but it’s feeling stranger to think that way as time goes by and I settle ever-deeper into my life out here in Colorado. I anticipate lots of things will go on changing in the years to come, and that some of my relationships and affiliations will shift even further. Not all of them, though.