Sunday, October 18, 2015


I’ve been a Yankee fan all my life.  My earliest memories were of Ron Guidry and Reggie Jackson, but as time went on, Don Mattingly was incredible to me and of course, when the Yankees signed Rickey Henderson, my world was complete.  

It continued with collecting the cards and poking fun at ourselves every once in a while too. There was a time when there were players like Dale Berra, Bobby Meacham, but for the most part, even in the dark times… I was a Yankee fan all the way.  

Now it’s true, I’m a baseball fan first.  I remember watching Pete Rose at a very young age and thought he was the greatest ever. But as you grow up, cracking open an encyclopedia, you learn more.  Babe Ruth. Lou Gehrig. Joe DiMaggio.  My dad was a Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra guy, and like I’ve told you all before, my dad was 16 years old and would usher games at Yankee Stadium, commuting by train from Long Island to the Bronx.  And so, the stories he’d tell were always about the New York Yankees.  The Mets? They just didn’t exist. 

As you grow and learn about the history of the game, the Mets didn’t really have that track record. I mean sure, they won it all in 1969, but this was the early 80’s that I was entrenched in baseball, and that was the decade that I was consumed with the most, late 70's, early 80's, playing baseball and collecting memorabilia. The Mets hadn’t even won in 1986 yet, because the early 80’s was still the Yankees coming off of 2 more championships with the hopes that they’d do it again. The teams that won were teams like the Phillies, the Cardinals, the Orioles… Oh yeah and a team called the Los Angeles Dodgers that were actually the Brooklyn Dodgers before they sold out and moved to LA. In other words, the history of these teams ran deep way before 1969, and so, in all my knowledge about great baseball players and teams… the Mets didn’t really ever factor in.

It was just the way it was, and sure Nolan Ryan was in Queens at the time, so was Tom Seaver, but for me… I became more interested in those players and their histories when Ryan was with the Angels, and Seaver, the Cincinnati Reds. To say the Mets were some team with a long history? Well, it was silly… they won once… 1969. 

The Mets were made from the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Combining the colors, while it may look good on paper, never quite resonated with me.  It was ugly, I didn’t get it.  Sure, the teams darted for California, and so what… out of spite they made another New York team?  To what...keep the baseball tradition that the Yankees already had? Really?

They hired a former Yankee manager in Casey Stengel in 1962 to try and keep people engaged in the METS? Come on. Stengel will always be a Yankee.  Reading through the history, I was young ,but almost insulted on how it all came about.  And yes, through it all, I was consumed by the Yankees… win or lose, that was my team. The Mets appear to be posers in their short history, but the Yankees... they were much bigger, and their history was much deeper.  

I collected everything. I loved the Yankee yearbooks, I’d read about the prospects all the time. I’d even collect the Burger King Yankee Cards from the late 70s. 

I’d wear a really bad version of the Yankees cap, trucker style. I’d use electrical tape and literally make a #49 on the back of an old undershirt, put an interlocking NY on my heart and throw a tennis ball at the wall for hours at a time, pretending I was Ron Guidry. I loved the New York Yankees… and they WERE New York!

When the Mets won in 1986, I was happy for them, but it didn’t matter to me if it was the Mets or the San Antonio Tomatoes… the Mets were just another team. But more importantly, for a kid like me who loved long histories of ball clubs, it meant virtually nothing. The 60's weren't the 20's. At the same time, I was starting to wonder in the Yankees, with their rich history, could continue their winning ways...

Then it happened. As I got older, still a Yankee fan, never leaving my club because I loved it’s history, we went on a tear. 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000. We were back, and it was a long time coming since I sat in the mezzanine at Yankee Stadium at Game 1 against the Dodgers in the World Series in 1981. We had a deep history, and now, there were more championships to add to it.

The Mets were the other team, the gnats. The annoying other team that you usually heard people say “Sucked”.  The Omar Minaya era was disastrous for them, and they still paid Bobby Bonilla even though he was long gone.  It was weird, it was brutal to watch, to hear about and to be honest, I stayed on the other side of the street.  Again, with a history of 1969 and 1986, I couldn’t pick guys like Choo Choo Coleman or Danny Heep out of a lineup.  

I mean, I liked Gary Carter, but he was an Expo to me, not a New York Met. George Foster? He was a member of the Big Red Machine.  Again, there was history, and the Mets weren’t in mine.

A few days ago the New York Mets advanced to the NLCS. They started playing the Chicago Cubs last night, winning Game 1. It’s going to be a terrific match-up. Now, I’ve watched as much baseball as possible this post season… something I don’t always do. The Mets look good, but if you know anything about me, you know my baseball knowledge. You also know that I love tradition and a deep baseball history. My buddy’s a Mets fan. He said to me the other day, “I can’t believe you’re not rooting for the home team.” “I’m not rooting for any team officially,” I said, “I'm rooting for the history of the game. “ That’s where I am, that’s where my heart is and that’s where I’ll always be when it comes to baseball. For me, it’s about the long time histories, not teams that show up late to the party. I don’t follow the Rockies, the Diamondbacks and I certainly do not follow the Mets. I root for baseball… but I root for baseball history more. Right now… I think about the Cubs and their fans and what they haven’t been able to do since 1908 and you know what? I feel for them. Chicago needs a win in 2015...that's the bottom line. Does it mean I hate the Mets? No way... hell no. I just don’t care about them. 

No biggie. 

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