Published on July 3rd, 2013 | by Ernie0
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Thanks to a family member, we have the opportunity to take our kids to CitiField for their first ever MLB game. As excited as I am for the prospect of taking my kids to the ballpark to enjoy overpriced junk food and America’s Pastime, I fear for them. I fear that their sports fan fate will be as dismal as my own.
See, I was probably about my son’s age when my uncle took me and my brother to our first professional sporting event, let alone baseball game. It was a bright and sunny day and being that my family was from Queens, it only made sense to go to Shea and watch the Amazin’ Mets. Not to mention that it was only a year or two removed from their historic run in 1986, so the Mets were still the power of the NL East.
Regardless, we didn’t stay for the entire game, but as we were leaving and walking around the circular rotundas to get from our seats back to the ground floor, Darryl Strawberry hit a home run. For those not familiar with the Mets, a home run is a celebrated event for any baseball team, but when a Met hits one at home, well the Big Apple comes out of the hat. As an adult, it’s not that spectacular. But to see it as a kid…well right then and there I knew the Mets were my team.
Fast forward from the late 80s to today and the Mets have brought nothing but heartache to its fanbase. Since 1986 the Mets have only won the division twice. That’s a span of 25 years. Sure, they’ve played in 1 WS and lost 3 other NL Championship series in that time, but they also had monumental collapses in 2007 and 2008. It was as if when Carlos Beltran watched Adam Wainwright’s curveball for a called strike 3 in Game 7 had a ripple effect in the following seasons.
That kind of heartache is something that I should want to spare my kids…right? Don’t get me wrong, the Mets isn’t the only team to have a Stomach Punch moment. They’re just the only team baseball team I happen to be a fan of.
I guess my problem is that living in the shadow of the Evil Empire, sows a jealousy in my sports fandom because there are teams that exist where the annual hope isn’t to just make the playoffs. The annual expectation is to be in the running for a Championship. It’s the same expectation that the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies hold each season.
Am I potentially scarring my kids by forcing my fandom on them?
Eh, who am I kidding? As long as there’s cotton candy and popcorn, they’re not going to notice.