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27 May 2011

Back to Blogging — First Stop: The Mets (Again)

My ticket stub from Game 6
 of the 1986 World Series
When Keith Hernandez flew out to make the second out of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, I picked up my hot chocolate, wrapped up my blanket and forcefully asked, at age 12, if my mom would be willing to leave Big Shea before the final out was made. We were sitting in the far reaches of left-field, in fair territory, surrounded by hoards of Boston Red Sox fans who just wanted to yell and scream for their team, which hadn't at that point won a championship since 1918.

I wanted no part of this — at all.

"Kevin, sit the f*** down right now," my mom said, screaming above the cheers of the Boston fans. "It's not over and we're not going anywhere."

Much to my chagrin, I stayed. We stayed. And the rest, as they say, was history. Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell, Ray Knight and Mookie Wilson did their work. And Calvin Schiraldi and Bob Stanley, well, they didn't.

Wow was I happy afterward that my mother didn't give in to my requests. If she had, we would have missed perhaps the most exciting game in baseball history.

Fast forward to 2011 — 25 years later — and it's unfathomable to believe that aside from a few moments of drama, that day, Oct. 25, 1986, was one of the last days of importance for a franchise that resides in New York City.

There weer some great moments after, sure. Like in 1999 when, on yet another wild pitch, the Mets clinched a Wild-Card tie at Shea in a dramatic game against the Pirates. There was Todd Pratt's series-ending homer against Arizona in the 1999 NLDS (I refuse to call it a 'walk-off'). There was Bobby Jones's one-hit shutout in the 2000 NLDS against the Giants. There was Mike Piazza's improbable homerun in 2001, just 10 days after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. 

And sadly, the good memories — aside for the aforementioned few — have been hard to come by. At all.

This is a team still without a no-hit, no-run baseball game pitched. This is a team that epically collapsed twice in the last 2000s with leads that would have sent them to the post-season as NL East Division Champs. This is a team now more associated with Bernard Madoff than it is the game of baseball, and quite frankly, it's sickening.

When the Wilpon Family sold part of their team for $200 million the other day, one might have thought this was a sign of good things to come. Yet how could it be?

Much of that money will be spent to pay down old debt. Some will be spent to make this year's payroll. None, likely, will be spent to make the team better. In fact, we're told it might get even worse than this before it gets better.

I'm at a point right now, as are so many others, where I'm asking myself on a daily basis why I bother continuing to root for this team. It's made even more impossible to enjoy this team as a fan of two other organisations that are run more professionally than any others in sports — the NY Giants and NJ Devils.

Year after year, I'm back. Year after year, the frustration grows.

Year after year, I pray the Wilpons will sell the team.

The finally did — but too small a percentage of it.

And until they sell a majority of the team, it's now gotten to the point where I refuse to spend a penny on anything Mets-related.

Are you ready to join me, or have you done so already?


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