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When ‘1776’ Met 2018

Good news: the Mets won in Toronto [1] on the Fourth of July. Better news: my wife and I devoted part of our holiday to watching 1776 together for the twenty-eighth consecutive Independence Day, a tradition that dates back to 7/4/1991, coincidentally another of those infrequent occasions when our American baseball team was sent to Canada (Montreal, natural-LEE) to conduct its course of human events. I must admit I skipped the first few innings Wednesday evening in order to complete our annual viewing, thus though I soaked in the five-run rally that provided the Met bullpen a lead that somehow defied blowing, I can tell you very little about how Corey Oswalt looked during his four innings of work. Rarely do I avert my eyes from my ballclub when my ballclub is right there for the viewing — even this edition of my ballclub — but once a year, I reset my usual priorities.

The Mets sometimes lose on the Fourth, but those thirteen colonies always become a nation by the end of the film, which longtime readers will recognize as a point of personal obsession. 1776 is my favorite movie musical, a source of incessant summertime quoting between Stephanie and me (more me at her than she at me) and one of those things that I find makes life worthwhile. The Mets sometimes feel like that. Maybe not that much in 2018, but often in other years.

Given the confluence of good fortune that befell both the Mets on July 4, 2018, and the United States of America on July 4, 1776, let us dispense with the reading of the minutes from the Mets’ 6-3 victory over the Blue Jays and instead explore the many similarities between the dialogue in our movie and the words that perhaps apply just as easily to our Metsies.

Is, “For God’s sake, John, sit down!”…
a) a stinging rebuke of John Adams’s repeated calls for a vote on American independence?
b) how Omar Minaya and J.P. Ricciardi put John Ricco in his place during GM meetings?

Is, “If you left tonight, you could be here in only eight days,” an estimate of…
a) how long it would take John Adams to travel from Philadelphia back to his farm in Massachusetts?
b) the time required to get a Triple-A callup from Las Vegas to New York?

Is, “Those dispatches are the most depressing accumulation of disaster, doom and despair…”
a) how Thomas McKean refers to General Washington’s battlefield letters to Congress?
b) what a Mets fan thinks upon reading about the Mets’ latest loss?

Is, “Never was such a valuable possession so stupidly and recklessly managed”…
a) Ben Franklin’s scathing rebuttal to John Dickinson’s defense of King George?
b) an objective assessment of how Mets ownership has operated during the past decade?

Is, “New York abstains courteously”…
a) Lewis Morris’s polite way of telling John Hancock his colony will not be participating in yet another roll call vote?
b) what Mickey Callaway says when the home plate umpire asks if he’ll be pinch-hitting for his relief pitcher?

Is, “Just a moment. This business needs a Virginian”…
a) John Adams’s realization that the Declaration of Independence can’t be written without input from Thomas Jefferson?
b) somebody in the front office suddenly remembering to add David Wright’s name to the 60-day DL?

Is, “He tucks it right under his chin,” an allusion to…
a) Thomas Jefferson playing the violin?
b) Brandon Nimmo intentionally getting himself hit by another pitch?

Is, “Dear Sir, you are, without any doubt, a rogue, a rascal, a villain, a thief, a scoundrel and a mean, dirty, stinking, sniveling, sneaking, pimping, pocket-picking, thrice double-damned, no-good son-of-a-bitch”…
a) the text on cards Stephen Hopkins has had printed to hand out in response to the epidemic of bad disposition he’s detected?
b) typical of the season ticketholder mail that arrives on Jeff Wilpon’s desk?

Is, “We’ll be setting our own precedent!”…
a) Ben Franklin’s exasperated explanation to James Wilson regarding the effort to form a new nation?
b) the Mets’ reasoning for having three general managers instead of one?

Is, “Never have troops been more cheerful. Never have soldiers been more resolute. Never have training and discipline been more spirited,” a response from…
a) John Adams to Samuel Chase when Chase doubts the Continental Army can defeat the British?
b) Mickey Callaway answering a reporter’s question about all that’s been going wrong with his team?

Is, “To the right, ever to the right, never to the left, forever to the right”…
a) Congress’s anti-independence forces making clear they reject the arguments put forth by the likes of Adams and Franklin?
b) Jay Bruce hitting in such a manner that will never beat the shift?

Is, “Naked bathing in the Raritan River”…
a) one of the many improprieties General Washington catalogues in his latest dispatch to the Congress?
b) a juicy detail from the Page Six exclusive, “The Last Days of Matt Harvey”?

Is, “Are you mad? It’s 80 miles and he’s a dying man,” an incredulous response by…
a) Thomas McKean to John Adams when Adams insists Caesar Rodney leave his Delaware deathbed to provide a crucial vote for independence?
b) Yoenis Cespedes’s agent to the Mets’ request that his client interrupt rehabbing his hip flexor in St. Lucie to visit with his teammates at Marlins Park?

Is, “Is anybody there? Does anybody care?”…
a) a cry for help shared by George Washington and John Adams as each faces his own seemingly intractable crisis?
b) small talk between ushers working Promenade after the All-Star break?

Is, “I begin to notice that many of us are lads under 15 and old men…”
a) how General Washington views the ranks of the Continental Army?
b) the latest update from the Mets player development department?

Is, “It’s done…it’s done”…
a) what John Adams says softly to himself as the resolution on American independence passes Congress on July 2?
b) what Mets fans have been saying to each other about the 2018 season since approximately June 2?