"If you collect baseball cards, yet you don’t have one of me, don’t fret. Your set is still complete. If you haven’t seen me in your official yearbook, no matter how revised the edition, it wasn’t a misprint. Fast-forward or rewind through any game you’ve saved on your DVR. You won’t find me in action. I say this because if you don’t know me and start to read what I’ve written in the pages ahead, you might be confused, because I tend to slip in and out of a certain pronoun of the first-person plural kind.
We. As in we won, we lost, we beat the Nationals, we went into first place, we were going to the playoffs, that sort of thing. The “we” in question is the New York Mets, a baseball team for whom, as of this writing, 1,007 baseball players have played since April 11, 1962. Chronologically, they encompass everybody from Richie Ashbury to Tim Stauffer...Alphabetically, they run from David Aardsma through Don Zimmer.
However you track your Mets, you won’t find Greg Prince among them. I never could hit, hit with power, pitch, throw or field, not even in my distant youth. I don’t think I’d have made much of a holler guy, either, so you can cross “intangibles” off my scouting report.
What I do for the Mets is root for them. I’ve been rooting for them virtually my entire life and writing about them on a regular basis for more than a decade. My rooting and writing converge at Faith and Fear in Flushing, the blog my friend Jason Fry and I update after every game the Mets play and often when they’re at rest.
We say “we” a lot there. It doesn’t occur to us not to….When the Mets do something, it’s “we” who feel it as much as any Met.
Now and then, someone comes along to scold those of who default to “we” for our use of first-person plural, as if we hadn’t noticed we don’t dress for games in the Met clubhouse. You’re entitled to take these things literally. We don’t. We love the Mets too much to spiritually separate ourselves from their ranks. If we could, we wouldn’t care enough to be so engaged in their daily doings.
When you read the story that ensues in this volume, you’ll be taking it in from the perspective of a highly engaged fan. I’ve written a couple of other books about the Mets, I’ve had articles published in various places and I’m very proud of our blog, but don’t mistake me for a “sportswriter.” I say that with nothing but respect for those who make a living talking to players, watching from press boxes, and banging out copy on deadline. I’m just not one of those people. In case you came here looking for inside information, you’ll come away empty. I was watching the 2015 Mets the same way I imagine you were: as a fan who wanted them to win….this isn’t so much my story as it is the Mets’ story…which is to say that if you are a Mets fan like I am a Mets fan, it is OUR story.
Let’s go immerse ourselves in it again..."
Opening Chapter: "Here We Go."All winter long, I'd randomly watch a highlight reel, or a certain game, or every Yoenis Cespedes home run from 2015. 2015 was being thought of constantly, relived, smiles ensuing, the winter doldrum warmed up, even though it felt like the warmest New York winter on record. It warmed us all up inside while a heavy snowstorm enraged outside the day Yoenis Cespedes resigned with the Mets, and it was fun getting on air to talk about it. I may not have been on a Converted roll, taking the winter to just refresh after a rollercoaster of a season, but I was certainly active in Metsian fandom affairs. It wasn't just a transitional year for the Mets, it was a transitional year for me. Though I guess we all felt it.
|Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports|
As the season started up, I knew I needed to get back into the swing of things on here. I, and we, moved on up in 2015, but we didn't win the big one. We didn't finish it off, though we were in good position to do so. There's always room to improve, but it's a hard road, and fitting that the same formula that failed us in the Series was front and center for the first memory of the 2016 season.
On Monday night...well, really around 3:30 something in the morning of Tuesday...I got into bed thinking I was doing some reading before dozing off for the night. Then, it was 7:30 in the morning, and I had finished the 2015 season once and for all. I had relived it through Greg W. Prince's, and our, perspective. As I had dedicated myself to finishing the book that early morning, I knew I couldn't really sit down to kick off the 5th season of Converted Mets Fan, and the 12th season of being a Converted Mets Fan, without finishing what we had documented on paper through the perspective of our friend, Greg. At that point, it just felt appropriate. I finally got to the acknowledgements, and was not for the life of me expecting to see what I saw:
"...Sam Maxwell, who converted to Metsdom so fully you'd think he was born that way."Though there had been an elusion to conversion earlier in the book when discussing Mets fand-...echem, excuse me...Metsdom, I didn't expect to see my name in print in a book about the Mets. I personally have never written anything, other than a poem in high school that got published in some HS publication, that used a printing press to put my words to paper. And here, the Mets Fan Incarnate felt it strong enough to acknowledge my Converted presence with ink off the presses. It's beyond humbling. And I thank you for it, and reciprocate the affection, sir.
(Oh, also...GO BUY AMAZIN' AGAIN'.)
There's something about We. And it's something I didn't necessarily recognize the second I joined the Metsian river midstream. Choosing to so fully saturate myself in Orange and Blue, for one, was never not an option, for that's how I initially dove into baseball when I first fell in love with it at 13, and that's the kind of Yankee fan I was. And that's just how I am with all my passions. And regarding the term "we," I'm sure I picked that up from other fans over the years, but there's no one particular memory of when I started saying that. It just felt natural from the birth of my baseball fandom to refer to my baseball team as "we" when discussing our baseball fates with other fans. Regarding the Metsian "we", I needed these now 11 years to fully understand the encompassing Metsian experience.
It took closing the book on 2015 early yesterday morning to dive into this new season of 2016. The new year is upon us, and the Mets have won a game.
Though one thing certainly hasn't changed: The only Mets pitcher to beat the Royals in the last 6 months is Noah Syndergaard. Let's just pitch him in every game next time.
So, as we have way too many days off before our next game, and the first of our home scheduling, this Friday afternoon, I leave you with the way Mr. Prince finished the opening chapter quoted above...
"...And Let's Go Mets."
KEEP. ON. PUSHIN'.
LET'S. GO. METS.