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Reason To Believe

Mike SteffanosFriday, September 9, 2005
By Mike Steffanos

Cardinals 5 - Mets 0

I promised myself that I wouldn't watch the game last night. I needed a sanity break from this team. Yet, like a true addict, I couldn't stay away. I flipped the game back on many times during the evening, long after I had any real hope that they might pull it out. I watched because I know I won't be able to watch much longer. I watched because even with all of my frustration with this team I know that I will miss them in a little more than three weeks when they are gone.

This is my 36th season of following this team, of being hooked, of probably caring a little too much about them. I don't have a lot to show for it. The 1969 championship that sucked me in, the 1973 team that came back from the dead to almost win it all again, the 1986 triumph that I look back at with a mix of joy for what that team accomplished and disappointment that they didn't follow it up. A couple of playoff runs at the turn of the millennium. But mostly the Mets have been bad, often insignificant, basically cannon fodder for teams that were managed smarter.

I'm not going to bore you here with a tedious essay on "Why I Love Baseball." It's been done a million times by writers much more talented than I, and I can guarantee your reasons will be different than mine anyway.

Being a fan of baseball requires a much longer attention span than any other sport. Being a fan of the Mets additionally requires a mental and emotional resiliency. I know people that were Met fans back in the day that have walked away from this team without looking back.

And I live in Connecticut, where everyone is either a Red Sox or Yankee fan. Being a Met fan here feels like the scene in Animal House where Pinto and Flounder tried to pledge the cool fraternity and were seated with foreign, handicapped and just plain geeky kids. You really don't belong.

But I'm still here after all these years, all these disappointments. And I'm still here this season because I still love watching Wright and Reyes, wondering what they might accomplish in the coming years. It's exciting to root for home-grown talent after two decades of watching Met teams that were primarily composed of mercenaries from other organizations. It gives hope for next year.

And you know what, I'm still here because despite everything, there is still a small chance that this team can get hot and make a charge again after all. Crazy I know, improbable of course, and less likely day by day. But it's funny, no matter how long you've been following the game, baseball can still surprise you. That alone can keep you watching.

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