The Mets Are Killing My Relationship

Something new and wonderful and awful is happening.

In the three years that Danielle and I have been together, by June, the Mets have fallen out of the playoff hunt. Often during those three years, they have been borderline un-watchable. This has been great for our relationship, because although I have continued to pay a cursory level of attention to the goings on on the field for fantasy baseball purposes, I have not felt a longing to actually watch any of the games (you can only watch Mike Pelfrey get shelled so many times before you become numb to it.)

Unfortunately for our relationships sake, this is not the case this year. As a Mets fan, I could not be happier. Not only are the Mets in the thick of the playoff hunt, they are fun and entertaining to watch. They are young, they play hard, they pitch well and as evidenced by their 11 runs against the Phillies last night, they can hit the crap out of the ball at times. R.A. Dickey’s starts have become must-see-TV. Johan has already thrown a No-Hitter this year. Jon Niese gets better with every start (as does my fantasy team thanks to his pitching). David Wright is the MVP of the NL in the first half of the season. They are so good, it almost makes you forget about that guy who used to play short stop and wear uniform #7.

What this means for our household however, is that my attention is clearly not focused on being anything close to a good partner. At the Jazz Fest Saturday (check out Trombone Shorty!) I was more focused on the fact that Johan had given up only two hits in 8 innings than I was on enjoying our night out. Twice in the last week, Danielle has said something to me that I heard none of because I was thinking about the pitching match-ups in the Mets upcoming games.

They say the first step towards recovery is accepting that there is a problem. I am 100% aware that this is a problem. I am also 100% aware that until either the Mets fall flat on their faces and drop out of the race (I actually do not see any possibility of this happening) or the season ends, I am not going to become less interested in this team. There was a magical feel to the 2006 team, and looking back this feels very similar.

For now, I am going to stick to my “three games a week” rule and choose wisely which games I decide to watch.

Johan Santana

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I started watching baseball in the summer of 2001. Prior to that I could not cared less about the sport. I was working building pools before I left for college and when I got home every night the Mets were on MSG.

I knew very little about the sport, aside from the fact that I hated the Yankees. So every night, I watched the Mets. They were not all that good. This was during the Mo Vaughn, Jeremy Bernitz era.

I lost interest during the Art Howe Dark Days. I naturally love an underdog, but that team was so bad, “underdog” didn’t really apply.

We go to Cape Cod every summer and around ’03 I started moonlighting as a Red Sox fan. This was during the Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez era when the Sox were fun to watch.

Around 04-05 when David Wright came up, watching the Mets became fun again. 2006 felt magical. Every other game was a walkoff win, or a come from behind miracle. It felt like our year. Endy Chavez made what should have been the greatest defensive pay in Mets history. The stars were aligned for something special.

Then something went terribly wrong. Carlos Beltran stuck out looking, and with that curve ball, the Mets became a running joke.

Collapses in ’07 and ’08 left me wondering if the universe was getting us back for Buckner. I had very little hope for success this year. I just wanted to enjoy watching this team play baseball again.

They have so far delivered on that promise. Last night was magic. Johan Santana is a bull dog. Coming off of shoulder surgery that should have ended his career, he was able to do something last night that no other Mets pitcher in 51 years has been able to do.

Watching the last three innings last night was the best sports viewing event I have witnessed since the Buccaneers Super Bowl win. I feel like the universe is righting itself. It has been a long, dark ten years of sports for me. Johan undid all of that last night.

My heart was racing during that 9th inning last night. My greatest fear was a walk to Freese and Molina getting a hit.

It was pure magic. Thank you Johan.

Mets Baseball- 4-0

I feel like I have been here before.

I actually started this post yesterday, and the title was “Mets Baseball- 3-0.” I had to change it this morning, because this team just keeps winning.

Look, I am not an idiot. I realize there will be a time in the next few weeks where this team loses 3-5. But, right now they are doing all the little things right and winning by playing good baseball, pitching well and getting timely hits.

They are fun to watch. They are young and hungry (enter Raheem Morris joke here).

I thought last night, as the wheels started to come off for Mike Pelfrey, that we were starting to see what this team would really be. Then something unheard of last year happened. Big Pelf calmed down, and battled through 5.2 innings allowing 3 runs and striking out 8.

There is something going on here. I am not prepared to announce that this team is a legit contender in the NL East. Due to the nature of the baseball season, you cannot read too much into any one game. You have to judge a team on 7-10 games at a time. I will reassess where the Mets are at the end of the week. But right now, Steven Strausberg v. Johan Santana Wednesday it must watch TV,

Lets Go Mets.

Opening Day- It’s Only One Game

Yesterday was opening day, and yes, it was only one game in the big scheme of things. The Mets are 1-0 on the season and in first place.

But, when I think about it, I wrote that first sentence wrong. It wasn’t only one game in the big scheme of things. In the little scheme of things, it was one game. In the big scheme of things, it was a giant leap away from what this team has been for so long. It was a massive stride away from the last five or so years. It was a breath of fresh air in a room that has been so clouded and stuffy for so damn long.

All I need as a Mets fan is a little bit of hope. Don’t give me a ton of hope, just a shot glass full. Too much hope is a problem, because with it comes expectations that too  many times this team has failed to meet. Just a little bit of hope fills me with just a little bit of excitement, and that is right where I want to be with this team.

I would be lying if I didn’t follow every one of Johan Santana’s 89 pitches yesterday on MLB Gameday. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t totally engrossed in the end of the game at the bar for happy hour with my coworkers.

The reality is, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till I am freakin’ dead, I am stuck with this team. If I am stuck with them, I am going to make the best of it. I am going to watch and enjoy the games, because for the first time in a long time, these guys seem to care. They are young. They are not 30-year-old millionaires. They are mostly guys making the minimum looking to get that first big contract. They are Ike Davis, Lucas Duda and Jon Niese, and they are fun to watch.

The last few seasons, I didn’t go in feeling like this (or did I?). Like a battered spouse, I always forget about the bad times. They only do it because they love me, right?

Yes, it was only one game. And in the big scheme of things, it was a huge step in the right direction.

Fantasy Baseball… This is Not Good

I am finding myself in a very unfamiliar position. We are almost a week into March (the best month of the year by far) and I have not done a minute of fantasy baseball research.

There was a moment last spring, when I was taking two Masters level education classes, three on-line classes that the State was telling me I needed to complete my certification, on top of work and everything else. I went to Danielle and said, I have all these classes, plus three fantasy baseball leagues, there is too much on my plate. Her advice to me, drop a league.

I dropped a class.

I won two out of three leagues and reaffirmed to myself that if there is one thing I am good at in this world, it is picking an imaginary team of baseball players that will out perform 10 to 12 other guys imaginary teams of baseball players over the course of a season.

As this season is quickly approaching, I realize that I am in to position currently to repeat as champion. I usually have binder of information that I have stockpiled. I usually know whose 20-year-old first baseman is going to have a monster season. Right now I am clueless. I am more anxious about my upcoming drafts than I am that I have not planned anything to teach this week. My one track mind has been singularly focused on P90X2.

So here I sit, thinking Ike Davis is going to be the second best first baseman in the N.L after Joey Votto, when I find out he might have Valley Fever? At least one thing has not changed, the Mets cannot catch a break.