For five weeks, it was winter, and I was away from school, responsibility, and baseball.
Two of those things were good.
Well, all things must end, so I’m back. School begins once again, and with it, all the usual negatives associated with the end of vacation. But there’s a positive: namely, with every day that passes, baseball comes one day closer.
Does that make up for all the bad? I don’t know. Probably not, but who can tell?
Being back at school – it’s especially chaotic in one sense, seeing as I have about twelve classes to consider for two slots on my schedule, but in another, it’s not all too exciting. Taking into consideration the fact that the last time I started a semester the Mets were playing their most exciting baseball in ten years, there’s just not much going on.
I know what I’m doing here; if I’m honest, I’ve known for a while. I’m here to find something that A) I love, and B) allows time to watch the Mets. Maybe I’ll change the world. Maybe I’ll write the great American novel. But whatever I ultimately do, you can bet it will be accessible from Queens.
So with that in mind, is it any surprise that I thought of the classes I chose between in terms of the Mets? It’s how I think of everything else.
I wanted to take Creative Nonfiction, which requires a writing sample in the form of a letter to the professor. So I wrote about – what else – the Mets. I wrote about trying to capture the essence of Mets fandom in words. I wrote about the beauty that is a 162 game season, and the ebbs and flows of emotion along the way. I wrote about the heart and soul of baseball in New York and America.
The professor loved it. Almost on sight, I got a spot in the class.
Then there was Fiction II, which also required a writing sample. I didn’t have anything prepared that directly involved the Amazin’s – well, I did, but none of that stuff is quite polished yet – so I submitted something else, a story I wrote for a Creative Writing class my senior year of high school. Old friends meet up 40 years later, one suspects the other is a mobster – your standard little short story. Only this one starts on Long Island in 1967, and being who I am, I couldn’t resist throwing in a few Mets references during the original writing.
So, my two main characters “had both been Dodger fans and switched over to the Mets,” and sometimes, when work was slow and both were young, would “turn on the radio and listen to a batter or two of a Mets game, celebrating over the success of young Tom Seaver and groaning over the offensive ineptitude of Jerry Grote.”
Later on, as the two see each other for the last time in 1967, before meeting again in the present, they drive home, and because it’s the summer of ’67, when Long Islanders were Mets fans if they had any common sense, the Mets are on the radio. “The radio was on, and we listened in silence to Don Cardwell shutting out the Cubs,” says the narrator, and shutting out the 1967 Cubs, who won 87 games and finished third in the National League, was no small deal. Don Cardwell really did it, that night: from 1967 to 1969 with the Mets, he went 20-32 despite a 3.14 E.R.A.
And now, after a day of absolute absurdity, my schedule is almost completely set, and believe it or not, it’s a pretty normal college kid schedule. There aren’t four classes on baseball history – not that that class is offered, because if it was, I’d be there, but it’s not – but four normal classes that, unless you’re someone like me, have absolutely nothing to do with the Mets.
So, it’s that time again – time to forget about the Mets for a while, buckle down, and get some sleep. Because I’ve got class at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. Philosophy.
Which, for me, is a class on why I love the Mets so much.
So no, I wasn’t serious about that last line. The day I forget the Mets? That’ll be the day I write the same ol’ writing sample that everyone else does, all about how I want to expand my horizons and experience personal growth through heavy use of buzzwords.
In short, the day I forget about the Mets is the day they no longer matter to me. And if you know me, you know that day isn’t coming any time soon.