“The Mets, who are desperately in search of a victory,” I just heard Gary Cohen say in the truncated version of Sunday’s rebroadcast, “have had their ace step up big-time,” which got me thinking, “Well, I wouldn’t call me their ace…”
All right, I knew he was talking about Johan Santana, but c’mon — the Mets desperately needed a victory, I went to Citi Field, and they got one. Johan was on the mound, I was in a seat. I’m not taking the credit, but…OK, I am taking some credit, but can you blame me? I mean, thirteen wins in a row, my friends.
Is it really coincidence?
Considering the element of chance involved and the amount that my mere presence has to do with it, I don’t mean to be impressed by my 13-game Citi Field winning streak. God knows the results on the field are not my doing — I neither pump up the home team nor psyche out the visitors all by myself. Yet I show up and the Mets take care of business, much as they did Sunday, much as they had done a dozen consecutive times from April 19 through July 6 when I was there.
I swear I don’t know how this is happening. July 11 may have been No. 13 for me, but it also happened to be the 37th anniversary of my first-ever game at Shea. That one was a loss and I conditioned myself from that day forward to never expect a win out of any game to which I’m lucky enough to hold a ticket. Perhaps it’s a defense mechanism. Perhaps it’s a variation of the theory that it’s worse to lose than it is great to win. Whatever it is, it still takes me by surprise when the Mets emerge victorious with me in their immediate vicinity.
Though maybe I’m getting just a little used to it after it’s happened 13 times in a row.
Whenever the inevitable next loss materializes, I suppose I’ll be able to handle it. I suppose even without an impending victory I’ll be able to enjoy a summer’s day like Sunday; the company of a friend like Joe, my Shea/Citi companion for nearly twenty years; and the wry observations I make in my head to fill the space between pitches (“they gave us Jason Bay bobbleheads today and the likeness is spot-on — the doll doesn’t do very much, either”). I’ll take note of oddities like the black and gold butterfly that hovered in our section for several innings, a row or two from the guy in the Pirates CLEMENTE 21 t-shirt as if the butterfly was determined to find Pittsburgh. I’ll adamantly tell some kid kicking the seat behind me, “son — stop doing that!” I’ll wait for the A/V people to cue up Bobby Darin’s “Sunday in New York” if, in fact, the game is taking place on Sunday because Sunday in New York is always enhanced by “Sunday in New York”. I’ll tell myself that no matter what happens down there on the grass, it’s been fun up here in the Promenade.
I have a feeling, however, I’ll be lying to myself a little. Going to a Mets game is much better since I came down with this case of chronic winning. Johan winning is better than Johan at a loss. An Ideal Save from Frankie Rodriguez is far more the Way To Go than K-Rod’s pitches piling up en route to enemy batters filling bases. Ike Davis slugging is preferable to Ike Davis flailing. Alex Cora filling in nicely beats the hell out of fretting the uncertain absence of Jose Reyes. The Mets defeating the Braves outpaces the alternative immeasurably. Even the self-imposed pressure of “gotta get to thirteen, the streak’s gotta keep going” far exceeds the helpless acceptance of “It’s still fun even if we’re gonna lose.”
Someday “we’re” gonna lose when I’m one of the in-house we. A streak is called a streak because it’s not an enduring reality. It’s just a streak. My Citi Field winning streak is at thirteen and counting. I’m not counting on anything except that until it’s over, I’m really enjoying this strange twist of fate.
TONIGHT is AMAZIN’ ALL-STAR MONDAY, with Marty Noble and Howard Megdal. Come out to Two Boots Grand Central at 7 PM. It’s in the Lower Dining Concourse of Grand Central Terminal, 42nd Street and Park Avenue, accessible via Metro-North as well as the 4, 5, 6, Times Square Shuttle and, of course, the 7 train. Phone: 212/557-7992. Full details here.