By Joyce Mandelkern
I am sure that none of you have noticed, but I have not posted in over two weeks. Pete and I were in Italy with our friends. We left on May 25th following the Braves series and returned last evening. My luggage, however, was having such a great time, it decided to stay an extra few days. Punishment, well-deserved, for flying the "official airline of the Atlanta Braves."
When this trip was suggested approximately 2 years ago, it sounded like a wonderful idea. We debated when to go, and since majority rules, it was decided that this was the best time of year. I objected since it was baseball season, but as Pete pointed out, it was early in the season and that championships are not won or lost in late May and early June. Two years ago the Mets were wannabes, not quite contenders, and I thought I could live with it. Silly me.
The reality of the situation set in when the schedule came out. I immediately looked at which series I would be missing. I took comfort in the fact that I'd be here for the Braves series and back for the Yankee series. I didn't want to miss the series with Philadelphia but nothing could be done about it. I had used my miles to get the tickets back in December. It is what it is.
I packed while watching the last Mets-Braves game. Not a very good sendoff. Pete read my mind and said, "No, you are not bringing your laptop with you." Hmmm. I called all my kids and gave them instructions to call me every morning with a Mets score, a Braves score, a Phillies score, a Yankee score and a Red Sox score. This was going to be a very expensive trip. Talk about roaming charges!
As the plane took off, I turned to Pete and said, "what if a Met pitches a no-hitter and I miss it? After all these years of watching and I miss it? What if its a home game and we would've been there"? He assured me that it wasn't going to happen. After all, we're talking about the Mets. Mets and no-hitter is a contradiction of terms. A virtual impossibility. In my heart I knew he was right, so I relaxed a little about that. Like I always say - a no-no? Not in my lifetime.
Italy is six hours ahead of NY and 9 hours ahead of California. I couldn't sleep at night. I would lie there knowing the Mets were starting to play and it was killing me not knowing what was going on. It was one in the morning and I'd be lying there, saying "let's go Mets, go" to myself, like an idiot. Sometimes, I would sneak off and call my son in California for a mid-game update. One of the times he called me in the middle of the night (Italian time), saying "Ma, Ma you wouldn't believe what just happened", I thought Ollie had pitched a no-no. It turned out it was the 12 inning win against the SF when Armando kept balking and he couldn't wait to tell me. That's my boy! Of course I had to find a computer to watch the highlights. There was no sound, but I was so excited to see the boys and to see Ron and Gary. And every morning, as we were getting up and he was going to bed, he called with the complete sports report.
We would get on a computer as often as we could to try and read some details, but it is not the same. You will never know how much you miss SNY, ESPN news, or the bottom line until you don't have it - believe me.
In Italy, you see a lot of Yankee hats. Not because Italians are Yankee fans, but apparently Yankee hats are a fashion statement. Who knew? We saw exactly 2 Met hats. Both were worn by American Met fans. And both times Pete and I yelled to them, "LETS GO METS." Once we shouted across a trattoria and once we shouted from our car. Our friends were embarrassed by us, but the Met fans gave us the thumbs up. OK, so we have no class, but we got so excited to see fellow fans so far from home.
I missed baseball and my Mets so much it hurt. For the first week things were going great and I took some solace in that. The Mets were winning, the Braves and Phillies were losing and the Yankees and Red Sox were following the same pattern as an extra bonus. My oldest son told me I was missing the Mets play some really good ball. As long as they were winning I could live with that. I'll stay here as long as I have too if it makes them keep winning.
Then the worm turned. Every morning, after my morning phone call, I was miserable. I couldn't believe the injuries and the lineup that was out there. When I finally got my hands on a USA Today, the picture was of Endy being helped off the field. I told Pete I needed to get home. My Mets needed me. He has been telling me for as long as I have known him, that I have nothing to do with whether they win or lose, but I beg to differ. The amount of gelato I was consuming went up proportionately with how badly the Mets were playing. I am now 10 lbs heavier than when I left. I am completely serious. It doesn't really matter that my clothes are lost. I can't fit into them anymore anyway.
I have no idea how I will make it up for the Dodger series beginning tonight, because 10 pm EST will feel like 4 am to me, but I am starved to see the boys play. I know now for certain that I am addicted to the Mets. I tried to go cold turkey and it didn't work. I couldn't stop thinking and worrying about them every day. I had to get my fix. I had to hear all the details from everyone. I had to get to a computer. I admit that it is an illness. Ok, I'm a sicko. But there are worse bad habits right? Gelato, for example.