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More Than Half a Lifetime

The 8,702nd day of my life was October 27, 1986. You will almost definitely recognize that date as the last time the Mets won a World Series — and perhaps as Jon Niese’s birthday. Back then, in the aftermath of that blessed event of which I was cognizant, I figured the next episode of the Mets winning a World Series would come in 1987 or 1988 or soon enough. That would make it roughly 365 days until another Mets world championship was secured. Or approximately 730 days if it wasn’t done at the next available juncture. Whatever it would be, it surely wouldn’t be long.

Miscalculation on my part. The days that would pass would, by July 23, 1989, reach four digits — a thousand days. Another thousand days would go by as of April 18, 1992. And so the thousands would come and the thousands would go.

The bottom line is the next Mets world championship has yet to arrive. What’s come since October 27, 1986, instead, is, as of today, July 25, 2010, 8,703 days. That equals literally more than half of my life waiting for another Mets championship.

Though the mathematics are mine, this is not a solely personal lament. If we’re at least as old as Jon Niese, we’ve all waited 8,703 days for another title. If we’re no older than Josh Thole — born October 28, 1986, the day of the ticker-tape parade that followed the World Series — we’re waiting for just one. This is 8,703 days on the debit side of every Mets fan’s ledger.

Tomorrow will be 8,704 days. Tuesday will be 8,705 days. That’s partly a function of the baseball calendar; you can’t win a World Series in July. But we’re going to get to late October, early November, whenever it is this year and, the way things are going, we’ll be pushing 8,800 or so days since the last time the Mets won a World Series. Mets fans a little bit older than me will, by then, be able to say what I’m reluctantly able to say today:

More than half a lifetime has passed since my team reached the pinnacle for which I hold out hope daily — every day as long as I live — that I will get to see them reach again.

Other teams’ fans have waited nearly as long or even longer, but that’s for abstract consideration. In tangible terms, we don’t care about those other teams’ fans. We care about us.

And we’d sure like us to get another sooner than later.

For the record, the Mets won their first World Series on the 2,482nd day of my life, better known to you as October 16, 1969. Seeing as how I’d only found out about the Mets in earnest no more than 60 to 75 days earlier, I can’t legitimately say I was actively waiting all that long. Yet even if I am to consider myself a born Mets fan who was, on some innate level, yearning for that first World Series from the word Go (along with the words Let’s and Mets), 2,482 days is cake compared to 8,703. The personal wait for me to get to miraculous Championship No. 1 was 28.52% as long as the wait has been for hypothetical Championship No. 3.

Fast-forwarding from October 16, 1969, I’d be at 2,483 days and counting on August 3, 1976 — marking my first experience with having gone more than half a lifetime waiting for the Mets to win another World Series. From there, it would take more than a decade to luxuriate in the Promised Land. In all, it would take 6,220 days for the Mets to get from their first world championship on 10/16/1969 to their second world championship on 10/27/1986. The wait for resounding Championship No. 2 was 71.47% as long as the wait has been for unattained Championship No. 3.

The Mets equaled the wait between their first and second titles when they arrived at November 7, 2003 sans a third ring. The wait since then has piled an additional 2,483 days of yearning onto the tab. That’s one more day than I waited from birth (muttering not “papa,” not “mama,” but “Metsie! Metsie! Metsie!”) to land wide-eyed upon the wonders of October 16, 1969….which was the day I unknowingly signed a waiver declaring I was willing to be put on hold indefinitely where the Mets would be concerned.

Anyway, it’s been a while for all of us and the way things have been going lately, it figures to take a while longer. Although our hairtrigger reactions to various and sundry setbacks may indicate otherwise, I would say anybody who’s given thousands of days over to waiting for another Mets championship demonstrates a remarkably patient soul. Nevertheless, I would beseech the Mets to bestow upon us that third world title they’ve been hiding from us as soon as possible. Cats and reincarnationists notwithstanding, we each have no more than one lifetime to spend waiting for them.

Seriously, that’s it. I’m not doing this again in the next lifetime.