I've lived long enough to see the Mets move to their new ballpark. As I get excited to head out to Citi Field (the brain almost typed “Shea” for not the first and last time) on Friday night, the word that keeps popping into my head is “karma.”
We're all Mets fans, we all bleed orange and blue (and some of us unfortunately, black.) We love the Mets, but if we're being honest about our beloved Metsies, this franchise has boiled down to two types of teams:
Last place and second place.
Yes, there have been four trips to the World Series, if you've read this far you don't need me to recap...but for the most part, what is Mets history?
It starts with the worst, and then some of the worst teams of all-time. If you think finishing fifth stinks, try finishing twelfth.
Then Seaver shows up and works some magic for five years.
Next, the franchise sells The Franchise and everyone else, and Shea was miserable. Back to last place (or second last depending on how horrible the Cubs were).
Some young pitching showed up and we thought we had a dynasty on our hands. Some bad luck, some drugs, some injuries, some bad karma and Davey's boys spent more time in second place than they did in ticker-tape parades. Does 1988 mean anything to you now?
Then Bobby Valentine showed up. Bobby has some mystique over Metsdom. His teams were always under-prepared, got off to horrible starts, and finished second. Fortunately for Bobby (not so much for Davey) Selig changed the rules so the Mets could pretend they were winners. They really weren't.
Then some more losing, and now this horrible new culture of choking. (2006 has also become meaningless thanks to 2007 and 2008.)
That's the franchise in a nutshell – glimmers of hope surrounded by dreadfulness.
I'm hoping this new building changes things. I'd like to see a manager stay ten years. I'd like to see Wright, Reyes and maybe even Dan Murphy all play 10+ years together. Wouldn't it be nice if someone good actually played their entire career in Flushing?
I'd like to see “the Mets” mean something. Unfortunately the building already has Dodger blood in it and a tarnished name, original sin that a few championships can hide. Championships, not wild cards, not second place, not division titles, not losing in Game Five at home to the Yankees. Championships.
Here's to a new beginning. I wish them well. See ya in the Promenade (that sounds weird) Friday night.
(Originally published yesterday as my weekly column for Flushing University )