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What Baseball Means to Me
Mets thoughts. Baseball thoughts.
This was a project I was turned onto by a friend, accompanied by a book suggestion. Ideally, my hope is that this will evolve into a series for all to chime in on, regardless of team rooting interest or even content outlet affiliation. We shall see. Enjoy…
Shea Stadium—the only place my mind went when I sat down to write this—was methodically dismantled following the 2008 season, with all salvageable parts sold off to the highest bidder. Enough memories to fill a 57,000-seat ballpark a million times over, meticulously collected by a multi-generational, seen-it-all-twice fan base, relegated to living only in the sanctuary of our minds. Forever.
As if being a Mets fan wasn’t hard enough…
Thankfully, littered along the roads of our brain synapses and tattooed behind our eyelids, that long-obsolete feat of then-modern architecture still lives. Ramps and all. Remember the Let’s Go Mets chants heading down each level after a big win? Walkways so perfectly sloped that almost felt as if you were walking on air heading down to the overjoyed madness ensuing in the lot?
That’s what baseball means to me. That sense of community. The jolt of electricity spreading through our hearts and directly onto our patched sleeves when everything goes just right. You can feel it whether you’re in the building or not. It’s ingrained in us. A 1969th sense, if you will.
Even those dejected head nods between two blue-and-orange-capped fans at the supermarket or in the deli after yet another season is extinguished all too abruptly, it’s all woven into the fabric of our collective experience. And, to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Learning to deal with the buckets of heart-wrenching failure that were consistently poured over our heads by this team for so many years gave us a unique perspective from which to absorb 162 every year.
We know anything can happen. We know that *on paper* doesn’t mean a gosh darn thing. We know the natural pendulum of this game rules the land. Get hot and the dream lives. Lose that magic and it’s over before it begins.
We know that everything can come crashing down in approximately the amount of time it takes Keith Hernandez to let out a sigh in the booth. We also know the trajectory of an entire season can change with the arrival of a bright yellow parakeet to the ballpark on a mid-summer evening. I absolutely won’t be convinced otherwise. That thing was magic.
We know how hard it can be when things fall apart. We also know great it feels when things work out. And we certainly know how long we’ve been waiting to see how high this thing can actually go.
Going solely on what we know at the current juncture, it’s tough not to be confident in what the future holds for this team. Our team. That’s all very exciting to me.
That excitement for Grapefruits and Cactuses to return to our season vernacular, the time of year when hope can’t do anything but spring eternal, that’s baseball to me.
That excitement for the next homestand, coming off a solid road trip with the division getting tight and the house expected to be bouncing, that’s baseball to me.
That excitement of your eighth-inning reliever getting out of a bases-loaded jam with the middle of your lineup coming up and a two-run deficit to negate, that’s baseball to me.
Allowing your love for a children’s game to take you as high or low as you want it to over the course of a lifetime of fandom, that’s baseball to me.
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