Friday, October 30, 2015

Surprised by....The Mets

I have no personal connection to the New York Mets whatsoever. Nor do I have any emotional ties to New York City sports, to players on the team, nothing. I was looking forward to an open October. I thought I would have loads of free time in a way that I haven't (three times in the past six years). It's an odd year, so my beloved Giants are resting and getting healthy. They saved my pocket book from running on empty and my calendar from filling up. And then something happened....Tuesday night, to my total surprise, I found myself rooting, cheering and rising (and falling) with the New York City Mets. 

I never thought this would happen. Even though they are a National League team, and I'm an NL fan/NL girl, I wondered: Why do I care about this team? As an American Studies major, I find New York City fascinating, but with that same degree, I find equal, if not more weight in supporting a city amidst the heartland. One of my favorite athletes—Bo Jackson— got his start with  the Royals. I got to know much more about what makes them talented and exciting to watch from the 2014 World Series. The Giants emerged victorious in the seven-game dog fight. It's hard not to respect Ned Yost and his squad and yet, I find myself rooting not for the Royal blue...but the royal blue and orange. Here's why.

1. Bartolo Colon
Let's start with this bad boy. First, I support any active player/professional athlete who is older than me! At 42 years of age, Colon is allegedly the "most flexible" man on the team. Perhaps you caught sight of that in his remarkable defensive move earlier this season I should love him that much more for taking down my LA rival, but Colon is already admired for serving as a great mentor on the team. He has stated that he has no plans for retirement.
To look at Colon, you could easily add to the argument that baseball players aren't great athletes. But, your claim would be short sighted. Colon throws but one pitch—a fastball. And he does so remarkably well. I'm sorry he took the loss during Game 1. Those things happen.

2. Dark Knight
Who doesn't love a good nickname? Baseball is rife with them and the one assigned to former All-Star, starting pitcher Matt Harvey is a good one: Dark Knight. If you're a movie buff, you can probably put two and two together. "The Dark Knight Rises" was released in 2012. One year later, in his All-Star season, Harvey earned that moniker.

Fred Owens writes,
On May 7, 2013 in a game against the White Sox Harvey pitched with a severe nosebleed but retired the first 20 hitters before Alex Rios managed an infield single. That night he pitched  nine innings giving up one hit before leaving the game. 
The next issue of Sports Illustrated (May 20) featured Harvey on the cover with the headline "The Dark Knight of Gotham."  Harvey said that it fit his latest Halloween persona and was honored by the SI article according to to his tweet.
You may have seen fans at Kaufmann wearing an orange Bat Man mask to support the starting pitcher of Game 1. As mentioned before, I love good sports fan. Great pick-up Mets fans.

3. Man Crush
A friend recently admitted that he has a man crush on Dave Wright. I immediately responded "I get that." In fact, I support it. When I went to a game at Citi-Field, I was blown away by the number of fans wearing #5 Wright. The 32-year old third baseman has played his entire 11-year career with the Mets. Bottom line: any Phillies fan who can admit his feelings for a rival team's hot corner? That's worth supporting...

4. Mr. Met
Speaking of man crush, honestly is there a cuter mascot in all of baseball? Granted my nieces love Screech, the bald eagle that serves as the Washington Nationals' mascot and Baby Screech even more, but it's worth noting that Mr. Met is not single. In fact, according to Wikipedia,

In the 1960s, Mr. Met occasionally appeared in print with a female companion, Mrs. Met (originally called "Lady Met"), and less frequently with a group of three "little Mets" children; the smallest was a baby in Lady Met's arms. Mrs. Met was debuted in a short lived live costumed form in 1975 before being reintroduced in 2013
Mr. Met appears on ESPN Sportscenter commercials and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. In fact, on April 30, 2012, Forbes Magazine listed Mr. Met as the #1 mascot in all of sports. Props to the baseball head.

5. Daniel Murphy
Seems like most covers of Sports Illustrated today are regional ones—but not this week's. Look in your bodega or grocery store and you'll see the Mets outfielder turned infielder Daniel Murphy gracing the cover.
It should go without saying that I appreciate any athletes who takes it to the Dodgers. And Murphy did. So much that when he was asked about how he beat Greinke, he credits his calm and peace of mind to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It may have sounded strange, but if you know anything about Daniel Murphy, it's authentic. I enjoy seeing what SI reports as "a very normal looking guy" do extraordinarily well.

6. Team Colors
Lastly, I love a good story behind a logo, team name, the number an athlete wears, etc.
In "What's In A Name? What's the Story Behind the Symbol?" I address why I never look at the Mets in quite the same way once I knew a little more about their history. Great call in keeping the orange (Go Giants) and although it won't this year—long live  "the curse of royal blue"

C.S. Lewis' semi-autobiographical novel "Surprised by Joy" sought to 
to identify and describe the events surrounding his accidental discovery of and consequent search for the phenomenon he labeled "Joy." We find joy in everyday people and in everyday things. I happen to find it in a game. That game is baseball. And for the World Series 2015, it's in cheering for an unsuspecting team from an unlikely city. Go Mets.

Photo Credits
Mr. Met
Mets Logo
Matt Harvey

No comments:

Post a Comment