And Mettily, we roll along.
Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the birth of Faith and Fear in Flushing, coinciding conveniently with the reportage of pitchers, catchers and various uniformed authority figures to right where they belong, on a baseball field; David Wright, apparently, arrived on October 3 and has been presumably playing catch with a wall ever since.
You can’t wait and neither can I. As soon as we hear the first ball hit the first glove — it will echo loudly enough to make its way up the eastern seaboard — we’ll start looking ahead as the rule rather than the exception. But right now, at the risk of indulging in the kind of self-memorialization that a living person shouldn’t do as often as I do, I’d like to reflect.
Has it been a year? I mean has it been only a year? Gosh, it feels longer. I’m surprised our February 2005 dispatches are available electronically (and not just because of the myblogsite conversion disaster of January 30). They seem from a primeval time, as if they should be fetched by a reference librarian’s assistant who has to sternly remind us to be very careful with these pages, they might crumble if we turn them too fast.
Too fast…everything happens too fast. Except winter. That’s glacial in every respect of the word. That’s why it was either brilliant or simply fortuitous that you jumpstarted this thing of ours when you did, on the first day of spring training 364 days ago. Life doesn’t so much begin anew with pitchers & catchers as it finds its purpose and its meaning and its reason to be. Slogging through the snow Sunday, I hated winter, but lousy weather was only the second-most pungent reason I could conjure.
Yet in the winter of 2005-06, it wasn’t that bad. Not the weather, but the lack of ball. We had this right here…our blog and the other blogs and the sites devoted to baseball percolating as if a series with the Cardinals were about to open Friday night. I never felt as immersed in darkness this winter as I did in all the ones that came before it. Just as the 2005 season was special beyond what 83 wins should yield because of the advent of the Metsosphere and our participation within, this winter was that much milder given the games we’ve been playing here the past 4-1/2 months.
Nobody ever does, but if somebody asked me what the biggest difference Faithing and Fearing on a daily basis has made to my existence, I’d answer that it has skewed my thinking about the Mets. Every move they make, every breath they take, all I can think is how I need to express it here. I’ve lost the ability to be apathetic.
The night I knew for sure this was the situation came in July. It was a Friday night, a very calm Friday night by all prevailing indicators. The Mets were winning and I was formulating a storyline as I watched. Hey, nice game, nice start by this particular pitcher, the other team doesn’t look so good…it had all the makings of a very positive, rather unremarkable post.
Then the Mets fell apart, followed closely by my storyline. With each revolting development, I could hear every thoughtful element of that night’s blog collapse. The starting pitcher’s performance? Irrelevant. The opposition’s lowly status? Not so low anymore. Our team’s building momentum? What momentum?
I was dealing with two realities, the one that seemed so sure five minutes ago and the one that was emerging right this very second. I was worried about the game but I was more worried about what I was going to say once it was over. When, in fact, the new, crueler reality rendered the previous benign reality inoperative, I felt I was living through the opposite of a radio commercial I’d heard umpteen times, one in which an ill person is doomed if he follows the wrong medical advice and is saved if he visits the sponsoring hospital. In the Mets’ case, they decided to go against the cure and immerse themselves in the disease.
Whereas in any other season, I would’ve confined my emotions to how awful this was from a baseball standpoint, I was instead overwhelmed by the voice bellowing from my inner editor:
GET ME REWRITE!
The new post that I was constructing in my head hinged both on the sickeningly quick turn of events that ruined the Mets and my tentative first-edition story as well as my decision to cast it in the context of that commercial. I figured following my muse on this was a bit of a risk because I didn’t know if I was the only Mets fan intensely familiar with the idiotic advertisement I was satirizing; it ran all over New York radio but not during Mets games. The headline I came up with referenced a commercial for a different hospital that Gary Cohen and Howie Rose read frequently during the year, and I hoped that wouldn’t confuse matters further.
But by July, I was a confident blogger. My instinct has always been to err on the side of slipping in the potentially obscure reference and minimizing the explanation around it. If you get it, you’ll really love it for having gotten it; if you don’t, it won’t stop you in your tracks…I hope.
The result was my single favorite post of the first year of Faith and Fear in Flushing. Nobody ever asks me that either, but there it is. It captured not just the events of the game in question, but encompassed what it was like for me to be a Mets fan and a Mets blogger in 2005.
I wished we had won instead of lost on July 8, but I can’t say I was unhappy that this was left behind in the wake of agonizing defeat.
So anyway, happy first birthday to us. My continual thanks to our readers, to our commenters, to our e-mailers, to our blolleagues, to my friends who directly and indirectly inspired me to keep writing long enough to find this higher calling, to my lovely wife who reads all of these entries except for those that are too “heavy on baseball” and to the team that makes this blog necessary.
Oh, and to the other half of this exercise: You make blogging fun, and after nearly a dozen years, you still make me laugh about the Mets like nobody else can…except maybe when Diaz goes after a fly ball. Seriously, the only thing I like as much as writing Faith and Fear is reading Faith and Fear when you write it.
Fifty-two weeks ago today, I mentioned that I saw a rainbow outside my window, which I took as an indisputable sign that a new season was at hand. I never would have guessed the rainbow would lead to where we are with this thing of ours, too.