Marrying the Mets
To an outsider, I look like another single male. However, many are unaware of my committed relationship of nearly 21 years.
Who's the lucky lady?
The New York Mets.
This relationship, like any other, has seen its fair share of ups and downs. We have laughed, cried and fought more times than I can count. Some of my best and worst memories are shared with the Mets.
It was love at first sight. Our little league team sat in the last row of Shea Stadium and what do we see on the Jumbotron? Aliens. Ricky Henderson was green. Robin Ventura had antennas. Mike Piazza was in the same screen as a UFO.
Bobby Valentine kept our relationship spicy, showing up with costumes just as things became too bland.
This team had character. They knew how to make me laugh and smile. I was hooked.
Just like most relationships, the start was a lot of fun. We spent countless hours together, either in person or long late nights over the television. I would fall asleep to the Mets, struggling to keep my eyes on theirs until I couldn't anymore. It seemed like we would both leave satisfied every night.
I experienced feelings I never knew were possible. The Mets were winning and even went to a World Series, where they met the girl from a few towns over.
This was when our first fight occurred and it was heated. Armando Benitez, how do you blow a save in game one of the World Series? And Timo Perez, why on Earth are you jogging in the biggest moment of your life?
My friends were telling me the Mets were no good. I should just dump them and get together with the Yankees. If I thought I knew happiness before, the Yankees would rock my world.
They were that one girl over at the corner of the bar I wanted to approach but couldn't.
The Mets were my first love. I couldn't walk out on them when they needed me most. Oct. 2000 was a difficult month for both of us, but I stuck with them. Little did I know it would just get harder.
The Mets started taking advantage of me. I gave them access to my credit card, and what did they come home with? Mo Vaughn - a 35-year-old weighing nearly 300 pounds - and 34-year-old Roberto Alomar. I was furious. They tried to explain how this was a smart purchase. In 1997, three years earlier, it would have been.
I began to question their intelligence. I must admit I thought about straying. That team in the Bronx was really sparking my interest. They had the financial means to provide me with a better life and always ensured I had the best and the most current jewelry.
I couldn't will myself into leaving. We had too many memories over the years to throw it all away for somebody else.
Even Paul Lo Duca's horse racing-filled suite of border-lined legal age girls couldn't upset me.
Then the Mets showed a new level of stupidity and proved how gullible they can be. An "investment" opportunity showed from a man named Madoff, resulting in a loss of over $100 million dollars. I had a few choice words for them after that decision.
Why do I keep up with this nonsense, you may ask? For the same reason anybody else sticks out a relationship for a little too long. It's all I know. I have accepted the Mets for their flaws, but I still think I can change them.
I see myself as the fixer of this relationship. I just want to help in the worst way to make them better and more successful, which will make sailing off into the sunset much more enjoyable. I believe my continued support can make it possible.
Until it happens, I must take the good with the bad. I must cherish the happy moments, like Shea shaking after Endy Chavez's iconic game-seven catch.
But then I remember Aaron Heilman giving up the game-winning homerun in the ninth and I become enraged. And Carlos Beltran staring at strike three, followed by the Cardinals celebrating on our field.
Around this time every year, things turn around. Our relationship blossoms as if we are embarking on a new beginning. They tell me how everything will now be different. They apologize for their mistakes and I - the hopeless romantic I am - am back in their arms. The past summers have resulted in more screaming wars than quiet nights, but I think they are serious this time.
One day, the Mets will get me the rock they have promised to put on my finger.
When it comes down to it, you gotta believe!
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