Fresh after ending a big freelance project, I am temping today. Temping is sometimes fine and boring, and rarely excruciating and boring, but my agency folks are very good to me, so I can’t complain. But for this very moment, with my personal email unavailable and my pricey temp skills not needed, all I have to do is think…and blog.
So about them Mets. We’re in a valley. Not a crevice, mind you! Just a valley. But let’s take it for what it’s worth–another moment in Mets lore, another obstacle for us fans to overcome that will make our bonds and our narrative stronger in the end. For instance, I became a Mets fan in 2003. Remember 2003? The Mets sucked. Piazza wasn’t even playing much, with his groin all old and cranky. We had Uncle Cliffy, whom I loved, but really who else is worth mentioning? Still, when I tell people when I became a Mets fan, they all get the same look. “Really? Oh, we sucked then.” And I get a pat on the back–I became a fan when we weren’t anything near frontrunners. Because if there’s anything a Mets fan hates…it’s a frontrunner. A fair weather fan. A…well usually…a Yankees fan.
For a while there, we had hope. Tons of hope, lasting all season! Only to be dashed at the end. And yes, that’s harder than having no hope at all. But look where we are now! Measured expectations! We’re suddenly marginally satisfied by mediocre play instead of really crappy play. It’s still a punch in the gut when steady-Freddy Livan Hernandez amasses an ERA of about 30 over his last 3 starts. It’s still an “oomf” moment when K-Rod nearly gives up a save, and trust me, I’m going to swat a hand at the TV every time Ollie walks a batter. And yes, we still yell with exasperation when each Met gets his turn to drop a pop up. But in five years, we’ll be saying, “Remember 2009? With the injuries and the complete lack of fundamentals? Oh, that was a toughie. But we made it.” We’ll react to 2009 the way people react now to 2003 when I tell them my Mets fan origin story. And things will get better.
Even in 2005 we would have taken our current position, 5.5 games back at the All-Star break-ish, with a nod of–if not acceptance, at least not of despair. We’re 4 games below .500. We’re not a good team right now. But there’s still time to come back! There really is! Every non-Nationals team in the NL East is still in the running. And here we are still in the running with mediocre expectations. So maybe we’ll be surprised? Maybe the worst has passed? And they’ll get their acts together? And maybe sooner rather than later–maybe in September!–we can pat each other on the back again and say, “Man, remember the first half of the season? That sure sucked. But we’re still here!”
I haven’t given up on 2009 yet. At best, our lowered expectations will pay off with surprise gutsy wins. And at worst, we’ll have a year to commiserate over in the future. We’re Mets fans. As I’ve learned, that’s what we do.