1986

Monday, February 07, 2005

Patriots won…again. I get somewhat amped, as a Jet fan I learn to just cheer for the AFC period because the Jets won’t win it all. The thing that bugs me is that Robin is a Masshole, you know? We’ve been together for 5 and a half years and in that time she’s celebrated three Super Bowl victories and a World Series.

I just want that feeling. The Jets haven’t made it into the Super Bowl in my lifetime. The Knicks…the past few years have been so bad for the Knicks I don’t even remember anything about them from my childhood. They could have been good. And the Mets. The Mets, the Mets, the Mets. My first love. I have one moment with the Mets, 1986 World Series. I was eight years old.

To the rest of the world the Mets are the red headed step child of the Yankees. They’re the “other” New York baseball team. The ones with the ugly ballpark, ugly uniforms and ugly history. They’re the bums that took over when the Dodgers left.
Brooklyn, Queens and half of Long Island; if you grow up in any of those three areas the Mets are fucking magic. Talk to anyone who grew up there and they’ll have a Mets story. Those areas go nuts when the Mets are doing well, on every stoop and in every backyard you see people barbequing with the TV running from a long extension cord draped from the second floor window. It brings the neighborhood together. Even when they’re doing bad we still watch all the games, we just don’t celebrate as much.

1986. Mookie, Nails, Backman, Dr. K, Straw, Carter, Keith Hernandez, Ray Knight, Sid Fernandez, Ron Darling, Rafael Santana, Hojo, Mitchell, Bobby-O, Aguilera, Sisk, Orosco, Foster, Heep, Hearn, Mazzilli, Teufel, Elster, Jefferson, McDowell, etc. It was a great time to be a kid in Brooklyn.

Now, my father’s family (the loud Puerto Rican one) used everything as an excuse to throw a party. We would get together every Friday night, my father and all 6 of his siblings and their friends and children and we would just party. Many a fond memories from Friday night Rodriguez get-togethers, I’m sure they’ll come out in due time. In 1986 we partied for every playoff game against the Astros (even the 16 inning marathon but everyone was pretty sloppy by the end of that) and every game against the Red Sox.

Game 6. Mets down 5-3 in the tenth, the Red Sox 3 outs away from their first World Series Victory since 1918. My family was DEPRESSED. My whole neighborhood was. It was all so quiet. All you heard were the TVs, not a single cheer, a clap or a “come on, Mets, you can do it.” We collectively lost hope. In 1969, when the Mets won their first World Series, Tug McGraw said of the Miracle Mets, “Ya Gotta Believe.” It became our official motto, but despite the slogan, at that moment we no longer believed.

Two out, no one on base. We’re already getting out stuff to go home. Carter singles, Mitchell singles. We hang out a bit, a home run will win.

0-2 count to Ray Knight. Jackets are on again. Single scores Carter, Mitchell to third.

Mookie Wilson receives ten pitches, most of them foul balls. Jackets are off, we’re all on our knees praying. With every foul ball we cringe.

Wild pitch brings the count to 3-2, scores Mitchell and brings Knight to third. The game is tied.

And then came the miracle. Mookie’s routine grounder to first, the game was going into the 11th inning.

The ball went through Buckner’s legs. Knight scored, the Mets were going to game 7.

And that’s what defines the Mets, that type of play. You heard screaming and cheering everywhere, the entire neighborhood exploded.

I exploded, my tiny eight year old fists flying through the air…and connecting on my mother’s chin, breaking her tooth. My mother screams, we all think she’s cheering with us. Slowly we see the blood coming from her mouth, her face going pale. Her shaking hands clutch her face as she cries.

We didn’t know what to do, this was our moment. I remember my father asking my mother if she was alright. She didn’t respond with a yes or no so that was good enough for him. She went into the kitchen, about thirty seconds later my father went after her. About five seconds later he came back and told me to get some ice for my mother since I was the one that punched her tooth out. He went back to the celebration.

That’s what the Mets mean to us. That’s why they’re my first love. It’s that feeling, that feeling so great that if your mother/wife is suffering you don’t even care. You happiness for the team transcends petty pain. People get hurt all of the time, the Mets win once every twenty years or so.

I’m sure that before I die I’ll see the Mets win another series. Hell, they have a good shot at it this year. But honestly, nothing will ever beat that feeling I had in 1986. That was the embodiment of baseball, Brooklyn and the Mets all thrown into one.

By the way, I think I’m going to update 5 days a week, I don’t get enough hits on the weekend to warrant a weekend posting and people are complaining that they need to catch up on Mondays. And something about my posts being too long. Whatever.

read a book, fanboy: Light in August

turn off the metallica, fanboy: Paid in Full

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posted by Jason at 3 Comments


3 Comments

Blogger Jorge Vega said...

Far Rockaway, Queens (my hood) went nuts in 1986. Licked all types of shots in the air when the Mets took it. Good times had by one and all.

1:09 PM  
Blogger Chris Fabulous said...

Dude, I'm just jealous that ANYONE reads your blog. I kinda gave up on mine a while back when I couldn't tell if anyone was reading it. Now I just use it for the occasional link or musing, and to update on my projects.

Your shit is really good, though.

CF

5:15 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Gray-
I don't think my neighborhood bucked shots but I was kind of young. Despite Red Hook being one of the "bad" neigborhoods in Brooklyn my block was always on the tamer side and we were far enough away from the projects to avoid the real bad shit.

Chris-
I'm amazed too. But it could be that email I sent out when I first started that said "Read my blog and post comments." I'm certainly one that needs constant feedback. Moderately insecure, I cant' just write to an ether. But I like what I'm doing here enough to keep it going.

7:36 PM  

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