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If a Met Scores in the Forest…

Posted By Jason Fry On August 14, 2005 @ 6:39 am In Main Page | Comments Disabled

I'll admit it: Didn't see a single pitch of Jae Seo's latest glorious outing. (Gerald Williams?! Really?!) We were claimed by the social ramble, which Satchel long ago warned ain't restful. And as I retype this multiple times with only one eye able to open (please excuse any and all typos), I assure you it ain't.

Besides the fact that it's always exceedingly strange to come up cold and see the simple recitation of a ballgame, stripped of all the anxiety and parallel universes and what-ifs, this reminds me of one of the oldest fan hypotheticals: If your team could win the World Series, but you weren't allowed to watch a single game of the season, would you take it?

If you say no, isn't that awfully self-centered? Presumably the team will live on after you've sloughed off this mortal coil, so are you saying you don't care if they go 0-for-the-rest-of-eternity? Are you really so important? Don't you wish them well whether your butt's on the couch or not?

But if you say yes, isn't that horribly bloodless? Aren't you just in love with numbers? What, exactly, celebrates you from the average Yankee fan?

One game doesn't make this argument — one game is like missing one of those small chapters in a 19th-century novel. Eliza visited the vicar, decided his advice was worthless, and returned home to find her youngest sister had become smitten with an officer. You'll probably find out all that again in the next chapter anyway, just as the prelude to Pedro's telecast will include Jae Seo persevering, Castro and Williams coming through and the Mets understandably shying from collisions.

But that said, the larger thought experiment stands, as you and I have argued before. As I recall (I trust your memory will be better), when confronted with this hypothetical you looked in rapid succession amused and wary and concerned, and then asked: “Could I watch the season-highlights video?” To which I replied no — you could never glean any more context than offered on random SportsCenter clips and from the written word. No highlight videos, no ESPN Classic, no cast of characters, no ebb and flow of the season.

My vote is no — it's not worth it. I've got to watch — not every game, witness tonight, but enough of them so the season can become a story, full of heroes and villains and plot twists and a conclusion in the first days of October or (God willing) weeks later. We fans may not be good enough to play or close enough to the clubhouse to understand the psychological work of keeping a team on the beam, but we're part of this family nonetheless, and without us it's a hollow affair. We're the ones cheering when things go right and booing when things go wrong and even (in the case of Shea) booing when we've decided someone's in for a licking, justified or un-. Fans can lift you up and bring you down, be smart and infuriatingly obtuse, but without us it's 50 rich guys playing in an empty park, and no title means anything.

That said, I'll do my best to be on-station tomorrow. A 3-3 road trip — and this whole crazy season, observed or not — remains within our grasp. What that means, I don't know. But it's part of this story, however it ends up being writ. So I'll be there. It's all I can do, but it's not nothing.


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