One of my least favorite conversational tics is somebody rebuffing me with, “Don’t get me started.” We’re having a conversation. We’ve by definition started. Don’t get you started? It’s too late, Billy Crystal . We’re already in progress.
I got started on one of the longest conversations of my life eleven years ago today, February 16, 2005, when Faith and Fear in Flushing signed on the air. We’re still talking. We’re not stopping. Why would we?
Truth be told, valued reader, you are getting only part of the conversation. It’s not as if I’ve been intentionally holding back; rather, I just don’t write everything down. The deepest oral history of the New York Mets as regards their past, present and future (but mostly their past) has gone unrecorded, for it consists of me wandering around at any given hour of the day or night talking to myself about the Mets. These sessions usually occur when I’m on the verge of doing something else, but instead of doing it, I put it off because I’m too heavily engrossed in a spontaneous Metsian monologue that would pass for a dialogue if only it wasn’t just me going back and forth. This spoken stream of consciousness usually spans a multitude of things that happened many years before, though occasionally a handful of things that are due to happen scant hours from now, whenever now happens to be.
The subtopics are varied, but the umbrella subject is inevitably the Mets. Even when it begins about something else, it transitions into the Mets. The Mets are what I’d rather think about, so the Mets are what I tend to wind up talking about, even if it’s only the furniture, the cats and my inadvertently present ears that end up hearing it. For all I know, these talks might be vastly entertaining. They might be better than TED Talks  and at least as good as Teddy Martinez talks . I’m too much in the middle of them to objectively assess.
I’ve been co-authoring a blog for eleven years, yet I still talk to myself much of the time about the Mets. If I didn’t have this outlet, I suppose I’d be doing it all of the time. So thank you for making my behavior on the whole at least marginally socially acceptable.
It’s no coincidence that our twelfth year of conversation commences with the onset of another preseason. The pause button that was tapped no more than lightly in winter gets its definitive push ahead. Press play. Follow the favorite mantra  of Texas Ranger minor league invitee Ike Davis .
Start us up. If you start us up, we’ll never stop.
We love a sport in which the clock plays a marginal role, yet we love to count down. We count down to Pitchers & Catchers (increasingly a misnomer, since a majority of Mets, regardless of position, flock to Port St. Lucie ahead of instinctively ballyhooed reporting date). We count down to the first exhibition game, a.k.a. game that doesn’t count. We count down to the first real game. We count down Magic Numbers when we’re lucky enough to be dealt a stack. Baseball may be timeless, but ain’t it funny how time keeps slippin’, slippin’ into the future?
Predictions and projections dot the landscape. How are the Mets gonna do? How many are they gonna win? How many are they gonna win by? How many will they have to win in order to have a shot at winning more than they won the year before, when they almost won it all? Much as we pretend what happens in Spring Training counts for a ton, we pretend to have a handle on what will happen when the games really do matter.
And we don’t know. We just don’t. Sometimes that’s frightening . Sometimes it turns out to be exhilarating . All of the time it keeps us engaged, whether it’s in the welcome company of others who share our preoccupation and conversation or quietly to ourselves when nobody’s listening, except for ourselves.