Thursday, October 05, 2006

I Can't Wait for 1986

About two weeks from now will mark the 20 year anniversary of my first – and all-time favorite – World Series.

I remember my brother and I decking out the hide-a-bed with Roadrunner sheets, laying in front of the den TV, permission to stay up way past our bedtime, rooting for the Mets ‘cause they were my father’s hometown team.

I remember the unfamiliar, but instantly contagious, excitement that emitted from the screen. Sure, I didn’t quite understand the game (I’m pretty sure my brother had to narrate a lot of the action), nor fully understand the gravity of the situation. To me it was simply something to see, I loved it all.

I remember the roster. I still run the names through my head like flash cards, making sure I haven’t forgotten anybody. Repeating their names is a sort of TM chant for me – syllables bestowing such a calm and focus to make the Dalai Lama’s head explode. Backman. Carter. Darling. Doc. Dykstra. Fernandez. Hernandez. Knight. Orosco. Straw. And above all, Mookie.

I remember particular moments more than actual games. Dykstra’s lead-off homer in Game Three; Carter’s two homers in Game Four and his goofy-ass expression of joy after Orosco’s struck out the side in Game Seven. That slow grounder of Mook’s that caused Buckner to fall from grace. I’ve seen so many highlight clips over the years that I can barely tell which are my true memories.

I didn’t live near a National League town, so I never got to see my beloved Mets. It wasn’t until 2001 that I finally got caught a Mets game at Dodger stadium. Much about them were different – I think only the name and logo remained the same – but the giddiness I felt at seeing them play was nearly identical to what I remembered from 15 years prior.

Unfortunately, I also remember the 1999 Series, their embarrassing display of ineptness against baseball’s Great Satan. I didn’t root for the Mets as much as watch, as I imagine most fans did, with bemused fatalism; nothing of note except the clean sweep. (In my mind the only series that has approached the excitement of 1986 was when the Diamondbacks trumped the Yankees. My friend Mark and I watched game 5 in a shitty Hollywood cafeteria – a far cry from my parents’ den – and it was the first time since that I felt the same on-your-feet-with-clenched-fists anticipation. Giving credit where it’s due, the 2004 ALCS was pretty kick-ass as well.)

I hope the Mets make it this year – certainly they have the tools and talent. And if they do, I’ll be rooting for and with them whole-heartedly, but not without a touch of melancholy, because I won’t be cheering for the 2006 Mets entirely. I’ll be cheering a team that won’t ever be equaled: a group of belligerent, pill-popping assholes that began my love affair with the game.


Blogger Dr. Uetz said...

Thank you.

2:09 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home