I have a friend whose mother is a huge fan of the New York Mets. Sadly, she’s been losing the battle with Alzheimer’s, can no longer live on her own, and often doesn’t even recognize the face of her own son. This is familiar territory for people my age. We’re watching our parents get old, get sick, get terribly confused, and pass from our lives.
Anyway, my buddy tells me, “You know what’s funny? She still asks about the Mets. She may have forgotten most of her life, but there’s some part of her that still knows the Mets are important.”
And I get that, I get it completely. For starters, my mother is the same way. And I’m the same way, because I’m my mother’s son. In 1969, at age 8, I attended Game 5 of the 1969 World Series — the day the Mets won it all in that miracle year. It remains a central, vivid, defining event for me, a North Star in the constellation of my life.
As I posted on our Mets blog yesterday, I even remember going into school the next day with a knot in my stomach, fearful of my poor excuse for an absence. I missed school for a baseball game? I didn’t think that would fly.
“The following day in class I tried to appear as sickly as possible. But unbeknownst to me, my mother had sent in a note explaining my truancy. Mrs. Thompson came to me and said, “I heard you were at the baseball game!” I confessed that, alas, it was true, figuring myself for a dead man. But to my relief, Mrs. Thompson smiled wide and told me that I was a lucky fellow. And I was lucky, even I knew as much, but I had never expected a teacher to realize it, too. It’s like when you are a kid and ASTONISHED to see a teacher at, say, the supermarket. You’re like, “You’re a human being? That eats . . . food?!” You just didn’t see them as people, exactly. That’s how I felt about Mrs. Thompson. I never figured her for a fan.
The simple truth is, I’m still a huge Mets fan and, down to my bones, “a baseball guy.” Which is a long way of telling you that I’ve cooked up a new side project, a blog about the New York Mets. I’m partnering it with my friend, Michael, mentioned above. It’s called 2 Guys Talking Mets Baseball.
If you’re a fan, come on by and check us out.
What’s that great quote from Jim Bouton?
“You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball
and in the end it turns out
that it was the other way around all the time.”