So yesterday afternoon I tried to sum up my feelings about Jose Reyes leaving the sad, broken Mets for the temporarily nouveau riche Marlins. I wasn’t happy when I started writing that post, and I wasn’t any happier when I finished. I gave it a final read, posted it and promoted it.
But let me tell you what I did after that. It’s a little thing and a personal thing, but I think you’ll see why I’m sharing it, and maybe derive some comfort from it.
It was time to get my kid from school. I changed my shirt, settling after not particularly conscious thought on my orange ’69 Series Game 3 shirt, the one with a Nixon-era Mr. Met on it. Walking across my neighborhood, I pulled out my phone, put in my headphones and cranked a song I love — “Romance” by Wild Flag. This would be an awesome song to play at Citi Field, I thought idly — a conclusion that probably has to do with the line “sound is the blood between me and you” reminding me of the bond that develops, in good times, between a confident team and its hometown fans.
(This is a mildly insane idea. “Romance” is way too indie to work in the vast space of Citi Field. But that’s not the point. Bear with me.)
I listened to the song again, my footsteps drifting along the well-worn route, and found myself thinking of Ike Davis and Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada in their new, much improved uniforms, of balls landing fair and clearing walls in walkoff victories yet to be. I thought about being at Shea for the Grand Slam Single and for Piazza lining a laser beam off Mulholland and how the stands had moved and flexed as we all bayed at the sky. I thought about getting your errands done early for that first weekend spring-training telecast and settling happily onto the couch, knowing that even though it was still vile outside, those players in mesh tops were a promise that kinder weather would be soon at hand. I thought about my family’s calendar defaulting to 1:10 and 7:10 and adjusting to the occasional 4:05 or 8:05 or enduring a hard week of 10:15s.
I walked along in my Mets shirt with all these thoughts playing tag in my head and the music in my ears, and I realized I was happy. I honestly was. I wasn’t thinking about Jose Reyes, or the Miami Marlins, or Bernie Madoff, or any of it. Not by a conscious act of will, but because my mind had wandered off somewhere better.
That’s my story. But if you read this blog, you’re not so different from me, or from Greg. And that’s why this will all be OK.
I’m not going to tell you exactly how it will be OK, or when. Because there’s more uncertainty and dismay and anger to work through before this star-crossed, scar-marked period in Mets’ history ends.
But it will end. There will be new players who we watch grow and learn before our eyes, going from coltish prospects to incandescent rookies to sturdy veterans, and we will love them all the more for having urged them through their early maybes. And even amid the gloom before they arrive, there will be gritty come-from-behind wins and unexpected laughers. There will be rising apples and Let’s Go Mets chants and hunches proved true and statistical glasses that all of a sudden you’re damn sure are half-full.
And even when you don’t feel that way, there will be Mets Classics and DVDs and just reliving the highlight reels in our own heads. There will be reconnections with old Mets fans and meetings with new ones, excited exchanges about first games seen and classics witnessed. There will be new fans drawn to impossible dreams and wise old heads who remember when those dreams came true.
There will even be nights when a little thing happens like a song proving evocative enough to lift you above the gloom and bad news, until you realize you’re happy not despite the fact that you’re a Mets fan, but because of it.
And that’s something nobody can take away from you. Bernie Madoff can’t steal it, Irving Picard can’t repossess it and Jeffrey Loria can’t buy it.
There is something beyond the reach of all these troubles, something that’s the Mets’ greatest strength — and it’s you. You, and me, and Greg, and all the rest of us. We’re the ones who define this franchise, who weave the thread of identity and life and hope even as the uniforms get tweaked and the stadiums go up and come down and the players arrive and depart and the win-loss records wax and wane. No matter how long you’ve been here, you’ve seen bright days of the baseball soul alongside dark nights. On the bright days, we add to the glitter and the gleam. In the dark nights, we are the only source of light. Either way, we’re there. And despite these recent trials and amid these current woes, we’re not going anywhere.
We are the silver lining.