I admit. I’m not your typical baseball fan. I get my rocks off by writing chick lit and blogging about beauty products. And as far as my own athletic prowess goes? Let’s just say I don’t throw like a girl. I throw like an infant. When I play catch with dogs, they just look at me and bark, "Come on, honey. Try a little."
But nonetheless, I passionately love the Mets. In the past two seasons, so far I’ve been to 20 games at Shea, and the team’s won 17 of them. See? I’m a lucky charm. 85% winning percentage!
I’m a lifelong New Yorker: Brooklyn born-and-bred, now living in Manhattan. But against all odds, my super-fandom began when the Mets had nearly the worst record in baseball. Picture it. July, 2003. Art Howe’s first season. Piazza out with a groin injury. Jason Phillips just not producing. Pretty much the team having trouble producing. Except, it seemed, for my soon to be favorite player in any sport ever: Cliff Floyd.
Aw, Cliff, you had me at first limp. You could barely walk with that Achilles’ heel injury, and yet you seemed to be the only Met who knew how to hit a ball. It was my first game at Shea, and The Boyfriend had chosen a Brewers game because–duh–we had to be able to beat the Brewers, right?
Yeah, shut up. July 28, 2003. The Mets got 2 whole runs, one of them Cliff’s, and watching him play just touched me. On base, every time someone fouled, he’d have to run, and you could see how much it hurt him. When everyone else had returned to the dugout, Cliff would still be limping across the field. But man, he could hit. And even more impressive? He was there. When the team needed him, when their star, Piazza, was down for the count, Cliff said: Hey, I’m your man. The man’s got so much heart, there’s some to spare.
And Cliff? He spreads it around! He’s a lynch pin of the current team, mentoring the young stars, defining the team’s now famous comradery. As Ben Shpigel wrote in the New York Times, "Floyd rarely makes it from the clubhouse door to his locker without punching Jose Reyes on the shoulder or cackling at David Wright’s wardrobe." Sure he’s got his cocky moments, but always earned and always funny! Funny man you are, Cliff! You go and wear your big diamond earrings and crocodile loafers all you want. Even when Cliff slumps, he does it in style. Cracking jokes that he wasn’t on TV so much because "They check your stats before they put you on."
Alright. I know you’re sneering at me now. The girl’s all heart, no numbers. But come on. Cliff’s last season was a dream, and I know he’s coming back strong. Plus, when he’s not hitting, he gives some great defense–whether an outfield assist or a great catch. He’s there to help the team. Period.
And as for next year? With Milledge waiting to stride up to the plate? Let’s not talk about that yet. Cliff’s value to the team is immeasurable, both on the field and off, and I’m excited to see what he’s gonna do when he gets off the DL. The man puts his all into it. And his all can be pretty **** fantastic.
I’ve got a lot more to say about this awesome team–and the whole Shea experience. I hope you’ll stick around with me to see it.