A Two-Day Journey Into The Life Of A Mets Fan

A Two-Day Journey Into The Life Of A Mets Fan

See, I might sound like a crazy obsessed dramatic fan, but when you are a Mets fan, the team will give you so much agita, so much heartbreak and disappointment that even a walk-off win is painful, stressful but fun all at the same time.

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It is May and somehow, I feel as if I have lost at least 10 years of my life... why is that? Well, it might sound crazy and a little over the top for some people, but it is because of two nights of New York Mets baseball. Let me tell you something really quick, this team gives me, and I am sure other Mets nothing but agita.

Listen if back on March 25th right before the season started someone came up to me and said the Mets would be 15-14 on May 1st if you just sign here, I would have signed in half a second just because it was a winning record. But if I knew how they would have gotten to this 15-14 record, I think I would have run away in half a second if that same proposal was offered to me. I cannot specifically tell you what has made this start so frustrating for me, or what has made this team so frustrating other than its just the Mets. I also think the timing of me writing this article is not necessarily ideal in regard to my emotions towards the team but let me paint the picture for you.

April 29th I am driving back home from school and I am listening to the game on the radio, the Mets fall behind the Reds 4-0 and somehow find a way to tie the game 4-4. Sounds nice right, no. The team left 13 MEN ON BASE. Now I am sure if you are a baseball fan you have had a time where you have listened to a game on the radio and the suspense of every pitch is so frustrating. Just multiply that frustration by 100 when you have to sit and wait to hear what happens on a pitch when your team is in a 4-4 game there are runners on second and third and it's a 3-2 count. (You know just writing about what I went through Monday is giving me anxiety, like some type of sickening New York Mets PTSD.)

But WAIT, it gets better. As I finally get home it is the top of the 9th inning and the Mets send out arguably the best closer in baseball, Edwin Diaz. Diaz gets the first two outs with ease, then, well Keith Hernandez happened. See I do not believe in the announcer jinx, but when Keith Hernandez, Mets announcer says "Gary, lefties are hitting triple zeros(.000 batting average/no hits) off Diaz this year," then a lefty steps into the box, I feared what was going to happen in that still 4-4 game. I almost wanted to turn off the tv and just go to bed but I did not, and I should have because the first pitch Diaz threw ... gone forever. Reds go up 5-4 the Mets go down 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the inning and that's all she wrote for that game. See I try not to let a Mets loss in April get me pissed off, but a game like that, yeah, I woke up the next morning almost wanting to fast forward to 7:10 p.m. just to get the next game going and forget about the loss.

Alright so its April 30th now and it's game two of a four-game series with the Reds, the Mets are sending arguably their worst pitcher to the mound, Jason Vargas, and are going up against arguably the best pitcher in baseball so far this season, Reds ace, Luis Castillo (and that name does not sit well with Mets fans, if you know, you know). As I am watching the game, thank god, because it avoids some of the frustration of having to listen on the radio, I just fully expect a blow-out loss hoping the Mets can somehow win the next two with deGrom and Syndergaard pitching and keep their same record.

But then the Mets do what the Mets do best.

When you expect them to lose, they make you believe they are going to win, and when you expect them to win, they lose. They somehow find a way to get a 3-1 lead into the ninth inning, they get some help in the eighth inning from a Joey Votto baserunning error and even though our favorite reliever Jeryus Familia is pitching they have pretty good control on the game. THEN, when Familia strikes out the first two batters of the 9th inning I am REALLY confident, I literally said to myself "alright now, there is no way they lose this game." UNTIL THEY ALMOST DID.

With two outs Familia, walked a man on 4 pitches, hit a man, gave up FOUR STRAIGHT HITS and before I knew it I was staring at a TV screen that said 3-3 top 9 bases loaded two outs, with Drew Gagnon coming in, a pitcher who I frankly knew very little to nothing about. The Mets did it to me again, I'm now laying on the floor with my head in my hands, tweeting "I hate being a Mets fan" literally only the Mets can do this to a fan back to back nights. Once the Reds tied the game, I then told myself "no way they win this game." Isn't that sickening, within 10 minutes I went from believing they had no chance to lose, to no chance to win?

Baseball for you, people.

To make it worse, instead of just losing the game in 9 innings, they make you believe that they might still win this game by somehow getting it to extra innings. Then, with two outs in the top of the 10th Gagnon walks a guy, then an error on the infield and suddenly the Mets are faced with first and third with two outs, I am literally ready to break the tv. But guys, once again the anxiety is not over... Gagnon gets in and out of the Jam and the first batter of the 10th inning is JD Davis. JD then decides to have a 10 pitch at bat where he fouls off 6 pitches, only to end up lacing a double in the gap. THEN Jeff McNeil comes up and first pitch swings at a ball in the dirt(something he rarely does) and I'm now thinking "we are going to get a leadoff double and leave him there" clearly the Mets are capable of doing that since they left 13 men on base the night before! McNeil on the second pitch then ropes a single and I'm thinking finally the game is over, but of course, it was hit too hard for Davis to score from second so now our rookie Pete Alonso who is 0-4 in the game is up with 1st and 3rd nobody out. Now I am thinking "okay NO SHOT THEY DON'T SCORE HERE THEY HAVE TO WIN THIS GAME" ... Alonso looks at two straight strikes and I am suddenly back thinking the worst.

Luckily for me, still laying on the floor with my head in my hands I did not have to live through that, as Alonso hit a deep fly ball to right and the Mets won the game.

See, I might sound like a crazy obsessed dramatic fan, but when you are a Mets fan, the team will give you so much agita, so much heartbreak and disappointment that even a walk-off win is painful, stressful but fun all at the same time. I guess that is the problem with the team so far this year, every win has seemed difficult, and I know winning in professional sports, in general, is difficult but the Mets, well as you can tell based on my very in-depth description of two consecutive nights take it to a whole other level.

P.S. they did it to me again the next night giving up a two-out solo home run in the ninth and losing the game 1-0 oh and then three days later when they went 18 innings took the lead 3-2 in the top half of the innings then lost 4-3 in the bottom half. HAHA.

The pain... but no matter what I'll still forever bleed Orange and Blue.

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To The Coach Who Took Away My Confidence

You had me playing in fear.
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"The road to athletic greatness is not marked by perfection, but the ability to constantly overcome adversity and failure."

As a coach, you have a wide variety of players. You have your slow players, your fast players. You have the ones that are good at defense. You have the ones that are good at offense. You have the ones who would choose to drive and dish and you have the ones that would rather shoot the three. You have the people who set up the plays and you have the people who finish them. You are in charge of getting these types of players to work together and get the job done.

Sure, a coach can put together a pretty set of plays. A coach can scream their head off in a game and try and get their players motivated. A coach can make you run for punishment, or they can make you run to get more in shape. The most important role of a coach, however, is to make the players on their team better. To hopefully help them to reach their fullest potential. Players do make mistakes, but it is from those mistakes that you learn and grow.

To the coach the destroyed my confidence,

You wanted to win, and there was nothing wrong with that. I saw it in your eyes if I made a mistake, you were not too happy, which is normal for a coach. Turnovers happen. Players miss shots. Sometimes the girl you are defending gets past you. Sometimes your serve is not in bounds. Sometimes someone beats you in a race. Sometimes things happen. Players make mistakes. It is when you have players scared to move that more mistakes happen.

I came on to your team very confident in the way that I played the game. Confident, but not cocky. I knew my role on the team and I knew that there were things that I could improve on, but overall, I was an asset that could've been made into an extremely great player.

You paid attention to the weaknesses that I had as a player, and you let me know about them every time I stepped onto the court. You wanted to turn me into a player I was not. I am fast, so let me fly. You didn't want that. You wanted me to be slow. I knew my role wasn't to drain threes. My role on the team was to get steals. My role was to draw the defense and pass. You got mad when I drove instead of shot. You wanted me to walk instead of run. You wanted me to become a player that I simply wasn't. You took away my strengths and got mad at me when I wasn't always successful with my weaknesses.

You did a lot more than just take away my strengths and force me to focus on my weaknesses. You took away my love for the game. You took away the freedom of just playing and being confident. I went from being a player that would take risks. I went from being a player that was not afraid to fail. Suddenly, I turned into a player that questioned every single move that I made. I questioned everything that I did. Every practice and game was a battle between my heart and my head. My heart would tell me to go to for it. My heart before every game would tell me to just not listen and be the player that I used to be. Something in my head stopped me every time. I started wondering, "What if I mess up?" and that's when my confidence completely disappeared.

Because of you, I was afraid to fail.

You took away my freedom of playing a game that I once loved. You took away the relaxation of going out and playing hard. Instead, I played in fear. You took away me looking forward to go to my games. I was now scared of messing up. I was sad because I knew that I was not playing to my fullest potential. I felt as if I was going backward and instead of trying to help me, you seemed to just drag me down. I'd walk up to shoot, thinking in my head, "What happens if I miss?" I would have an open lane and know that you'd yell at me if I took it, so I just wouldn't do it.

SEE ALSO: The Coach That Killed My Passion

The fight to get my confidence back was a tough one. It was something I wish I never would've had to do. Instead of becoming the best player that I could've been, I now had to fight to become the player that I used to be. You took away my freedom of playing a game that I loved. You took away my good memories in a basketball uniform, which is something I can never get back. You can be the greatest athlete in the world, but without confidence, you won't go very far.

Cover Image Credit: Christina Silies

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As A Cardinals Fan, I Let Albert Pujols Go A LONG Time Ago

They say time heals all wounds, but is that the case with St. Louis Cardinals fans and Albert Pujols?

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It's hard to properly encapsulate what Albert Pujols meant to the city of St. Louis. He's without a doubt in my mind, statistically, one of the greatest Cardinals players of all time right up there with names like Bob Gibson, Ozzie Smith, and Stan Musial. His list of accolades in a Cardinals uniform is borderline unbelievable: Rookie of the year in 2001, 9x All-Star (8 consecutive from 2003-2010), 3x MVP, 6x Silver Slugger and 2x Gold Glove winner. Not to mention, he was an integral piece of two World Series victories in 2006 and 2011. The recipe was right there to continue his career as a Cardinal and retire an immortalized legend, but things somehow took a turn for the worst after the 2011 World Series.

Pujols was up for free agency in 2012, and even though the city was celebrating its 11th World Series title (second-most of all time) but the future of the team was in the back of everyone's mind. For context, Cardinals Manager and 3x World Series Champion Tony La Rusa announced his retirement in early November, just days after the victory parade.

Nearly a month later, Pujols announces that he decided to sign with the Los Angeles Angels for a record-breaking 10-year, $254 million contract. To say Cardinals fans were perplexed and shocked is an understatement. What could the Angels offer that St. Louis couldn't aside from more money and better weather, especially coming off of a World Series win? Regardless, the Cardinals never seized on the opportunity to sign Pujols to a contract extension, a mistake they didn't want to repeat with newly-acquired superstar Paul Goldschmidt.

I think what hurt most about Pujols leaving St. Louis as he was a Cardinals-bred player through and through. He was drafted in the 13th round out of the 1999 Amateur Draft by the Cardinals before making his MLB debut in 2001. That's been the Cardinal manifesto for nearly the entire Modern Era: draft or acquire young Minor League talent, develop them before implementing them into the Major League system. It felt downright hurtful that Pujols would opt for the bright lights of Los Angeles over a city that had every intention of supporting him

But with most things, time passed and Pujols eventually became a peripheral point for Cardinals fans like myself who would briefly re-enter their lives on the occasional article or ESPN highlight. So when it was revealed that the Angels will be playing the Cardinals in June at Busch for the first time since Pujols left, he was suddenly back on every Cardinals fan's radar again.

So Angels and Cardinals media outlets were abuzz, prompting this interview with Graham Bensinger during Spring Training and the way Pujols frames the negotiations were really peculiar to me. He said he didn't feel truly wanted by the franchise, but we'll never know the whole truth unless we were actually there. I do know one thing though, every Cardinals fan wanted Pujols to be a Cardinal for life and he would have gone down as one of the greats without a doubt in anyone's mind. He spent his best years in St. Louis though and helped bring us two World Series' and for that, I'll always be grateful.

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