Saturday, October 17, 2015

Let's Go, Mets (or, Maybe, Cubbies)

  I became a baseball fan more than half a century ago. The Yankees were and are my team. There are a  number of reasons for this, a major one being that I've lived in New York all my life.
  My uncle's company had a season box at Yankee Stadium and my father would get those tickets once or twice a year and take me to the ball park. In my first, formative years, the Yankees were the only game in town; the Dodgers and the Giants had just quit the city for the west coast. (My best friend, Lenny, was a Dodger fan. His family had come from Brooklyn and remained loyal to "Dem Bums" even after they'd moved to Los Angeles.)
  When the Mets were created in the 1962 league expansion, they were clearly the second bananas to the Yankees, who were regularly dominating the American League with stars like Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, and Roger Maris. The Mets did have Casey Stengel, the long-time Yankees manager, as their skipper, but he had to be quite frustrated with a team that set a record by losing 120 of the 160 games they played. (Casey's famous quote, "Can't anybody here play this game?" sums up his feelings quite well.)
  If there was a choice between the Yankees and the Mets on TV, I'd always opt for the former -- I still do -- but in 1969, when the Miracle Mets won the NL crown, I, like everyone else in New York, cheered them on.
  Over the ensuing (decades of) seasons, the Yankees and Mets have had their ups and downs. I cheered for the Yanks in the mid-'70s, the Mets in the mid-'80s and the Yankees again through the '90s.  But when the two teams had their only meeting in the 2000 World Series, there was no doubt I'd be rooting for the Bronx Bombers.

  Jump to 2015. The Yankees, with their patchwork line-up of aging stars and unpredictable pitchers, barely made it to the playoffs and exited the post-season by losing the Wild Card game. The Mets, on the other hand, got better and better as the season progressed, handily dispatching the heavily-favored Washington Nationals to win their division. They then battled the Dodgers, winning the best-of-five series to make it to the League Championship Series and the shot at their first World Series since they met the Yankees in Y2K. Got to root for them, right?
  Well, yes, absolutely! I'm a New Yorker! Let's go, Mets!

  But their opponents are the Chicago Cubs, a team that last went to the World Series in 1945 and last won it all in 1908! How can you watch them and not say, "Hey, it's their turn."
  So, don't tell anybody, but I won't be that disappointed if the Cubbies win the NLCS...

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