First, a quick recap for those just joining the program. Approximately two weeks ago the Mets dropped a game to the New York Yankees in which two runs scored in the bottom of the ninth on an Alex Rodriguez pop-up to second base. Despite decades of watching the Mets find new and inventive ways to lose, I had never seen anything quite like this. A single moment, as ball hit leather and then dropped implausibly to the grass in slow-motion, encapsulated everything it is to be a fan of the Metros. And I had finally seen enough. I tapped out.
At 11:08 p.m. on Friday, June 12th, I checked myself into Mets rehab. It was a self-imposed two-week vacation. The move was excessive and irrational. It was also completely predictable. You just need to go back to that word “fanaticism.” You see, fanaticism is described as “excessive, irrational zeal.” I have always been fanatical about the Mets, and it is all sorts of irrational.
For decades, the Mets had brought me very little pleasure and great deals of pain. Rehab was perhaps a foregone conclusion. In retrospect, the only real question was when, and the answer was found somewhere in Luis Castillo’s glove (if only for a fleeting second). However, as I began my journey I quickly gained the advantage of perspective. I realized my rehab was more aptly described as “detox,” a temporary cleansing of the system of all Mets stimuli.
Kicking the habit was never a realistic outcome, but a little time off seemed well within the parameters of proper and responsible treatment. So, for 14 days, I abstained from watching any Mets baseball — live or on television. No radio, either. I tracked my progress and learned a great deal about myself, and my addiction.
During that time, the Mets won six games and lost nine. They are depleted yes, but they are also just not very good. My detox was actually quite easy — and rather enjoyable. I didn’t miss them much, which is to say not at all. There were no dejected text messages to my Mets cronies. No rants about their ineptitude on this blog. No hours spent struggling to fall asleep needlessly contemplating how another defeat was inexplicably snatched from the jaws of victory. The benefit of distance also reminded me of a few things that will help me now as I prepare to return to the world of Los Mets.
1. Really good teams typically have good to very good managers. These things seems to correlate. The Mets are led by a painfully average (at best) manager. Hence, the fact they are a painfully average team should not be very surprising.
2. The Mets have two proven pitchers — and one of those is Livan Hernandez. This is not a good omen for a 2009 baseball team that has playoff — or even (chuckling) championship — aspirations.
3. Our team’s most intimidating power hitter is a 40 year-old man who considered retirement back in 2004 and most pundits wondered if he was good enough to make a Major League roster this year.
4. The squad’s franchise player is hitting .244 with RISP and two outs. With the bases loaded, his average is .182. Yes, I know he is second in the majors in hitting. These averages are still notable. They are not good.
5. Clutch pitching. Clutch hitting. Fire. Grit. Hustle. These are not terms one would think to ever associate with this team. This is also not good.
With the above in mind, and the joys of detox fresh in my consciousness, I make a not-so-triumphant return to my beloved Mets with the same loyalty but a bit less fanaticism. The Mets are like a movie you’ve hyped up with no logical reason to do so. Head to the theater with those lofty expectations, and you will undoubtedly be disappointed. Go in hoping only to “be entertained” and your chances significantly improve (except for evenings like last night, which must have been riveting by the way…”one hit? that’s all we got was one g-ddamn hit?”).
Besides, isms really aren’t good, and I don’t believe in them anymore — at least not in a 162-game season. During the fall on the other hand…
Wait, who’s on the mound tonight? Livan vs. Wanger? So, you’re saying there’s a chance? Hello, my name is Cecilio’s Scribe, and I’m a Mets addict.
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About the Author: Cecilio's Scribe is the founder of The Legend of Cecilio Guante and a generally pessimistic fan of the Mets, Jets, Knicks and Rangers. A fine NYC-based gentlemen who hones his marketing skills as his primary trade by day. Husband, chef, father of a newborn and after-hours blogger by night. Proud alum of the mighty Big Red of Cornell. University. Hot sauce devotee. Staunch protester of the continued wussifcation of American sports. Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick.