You would think that after 40 years of watching the Mets’ brand of baseball, I’d be used to it by now.
I was about six-years-old when I finally kind of caught on to what this “base-ball” thingy was. Since then, I’ve seen some seasons where it’s been awful from Jump Street: 1974, 1977 through ’79 (OY!!!!), 1993 and 2003, in particular. Gloriously, I’ve also seen seasons take off and soar right from the beginning: 1986, 1988, 2000 and 2006. Like anything else, it’s those few in the middle which become most interesting. These are seasons in which a six-month narrative is played out day-by-day. These are the years where you dare not take your eyes away from the screen for fear of missing something brand new or a quick glimpse of the future. A year like this may or may not involve a pennant race, but there’s something about it which will hold our interest anyway: Dave Kingman’s home runs in 1976, perhaps, or David Wright’s debut in 2004. For the years that do involve contention, there are also sub-plots that emerge: if Darryl Strawberry hadn’t injured his thumb in ’85, or if Dave Augustine’s ball had actually cleared the wall and not bounded right to Cleon Jones in ’73, these stories may have had different endings. These are the best, in the humble opinion of your intrepid columnist. There is nothing better for a fan than when a single play can either define or alter the entire structure of a season.
The only trouble with that, though, is that you never know when that play might be. It can come on at any time, at the whims of fate, destiny, skill, karma or the baseball gods. That’s why we have to keep watching, that’s why we have to ride the rollercoaster. This season so far has been quite the fun little ride in its own right. We’ve had revelations (Daniel Murphy, Dillon Gee), resurrections (Carlos Beltran, Chris Capuano), eruptions (Terry Collins during the Citi Field leg of the Pittsburgh home-and-home), consternation (Jason Bay) and above and apart from everyone and everything else, Jose Reyes. How’s it gonna end? Probably around .500 give-or-take. But getting there – as they say – is half the fun.
Besides, you really shouldn’t get off a rollercoaster in the middle, anyway.