I am a Mets dork. It has become increasingly apparent to me this summer, and this past week or so in particular, that I haven’t emotionally matured as a Mets fan much past age 13. Sure, I have better executive functioning and deeper insight into statistical analysis, but my amygdala fires up with every good or bad turn of events just like it did when I was a kid—which is to say the Mets killed and then raised me from the dead last past week.
It is an interesting, refreshing, and slightly alarming thing to realize I am still capable of being a complete fool for a baseball team. I was party to a recent conversation in which several of us made mention of our varying levels of emotional investment in the Mets, likely due to our advancing ages and the deleterious numbing effects of repeated let-downs over the years. Indeed, as the Mets’ offense sputtered and gasped their way into the summer, I thought I was toast—that I was on my way to being another hard-hearted fan who had seen enough to risk caring much any longer.
And then this past week happened. Jenrry Mejia got booted from baseball for a year for breaking the rules again, likely ending his once-promising Mets career. The Carlos Gomez deal fell through and literally gave me a stomach ache, which itself was exacerbated by my incredulous outrage at the apparent incompetence conspiring to allow an openly tearful Wilmer Flores to languish on the field for all the world to see.
Then there was the atavistic brutality of that rain-soaked ninth inning on Thursday against the Padres. Afterward, I made a brief foray into a quasi-delusional state that led me to entertain thoughts like, "If there is a god, and it actually cares about the life and times of Earth-dwellers, it really might hate us Mets fans and delight in our misery."
Then the Mets got Yoenis Cespedes the next day—mere minutes before the trade deadline. Flores hit that incredible, cathartic walkoff. Lucas Duda couldn’t not hit homers. And as the Mets beat the Nationals, and did it again, and then again, once more, with feeling, my inner Mets dork got his groove back.
My fiancée and I were eating P.F. Changs takeout at our kitchen island on Sunday night as Josh Lewin shouted homer after homer after homer—an amazing exclamation point on a spectacular weekend of Mets baseball. By the third homer I—in flagrante dorklicto—was out of my chair pumping my chopstick-laden fist and shouting profundities like "yeah!", much to the delight of my corgis, the amusement of my fiancée, and the dismay of my neighbors.
A few mornings ago, I sat in my cubicle with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat as I watched crowd footage of Sunday’s game and beheld Citi Field roar and rock like it never had before. And then the Mets destroyed the Marlins on Monday night, with Conforto ripping his first major league homer and Cespedes doing what he was brought in to do. Then the Mets beat the Marlins twice more, building a one-and-a-half-game lead in the NL East over the Nationals.
So yes, I’m a Mets dork. I realize there is plenty of baseball left to play, but the Mets are in sole possession of first place in August, a feat last achieved so long ago as to allow ample time for my life to have completely changed in the interim.
I figure now that if I haven’t been driven away by the Wilpons; or by years of bad and mediocre baseball; or by angry, hive-minded fans and media; or by the frustration of watching a team that (previously) paired incredible pitching with horrific offense; or by heartbreaking injuries, avoidable suspensions, and botched trades, well, I probably won’t be driven away at all.
I want to see a crazy Citi Field more than I want to protect myself from disappointment. So come at me, bros. I’m a dork, and I’m all in.