The most striking feature of Citi Field isn't the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. It isn't the Pepsi Porch or the Center Field food court either (though the black and white shake at Shake Shack is almost worth the 20-minute wait).
The most striking feature of Citi Field is the brick walkway outside of the Rotunda.
If you have 15 minutes to kill outside of the ballpark, do yourself a favor and take a look at those bricks. Every little 10-word inscription on every little brick has a story to tell.
A story about the time they saw what Paul Wilson could have been or what Tom Seaver was. A story about how loudly they cheered when Mike Piazza hit that home run after 9/11 or how loudly they booed John Rocker after he said what he said.
Those bricks share stories about the good times and the bad times. Perhaps acknowledging the fact that there have been more bad times than good.
Most importantly, those bricks talk about how some of the most special relationships in their lives revolve around 25 grown men who are paid to dress up in a blue and orange uniform and play a child's game. The Mets are important to so many people for reasons that go far beyond winning and losing.
There is something fitting about all of those bricks packed together.
You probably won't find a more tightly knit fan base in the entire league. Sports finds a way to take people that otherwise would have nothing to do with one another and bring them together.
I find this especially true with Mets fans, there might not be another writer in this community that can relate to my life.
But if I want to complain about Mike Francessa or the obnoxious Phillies fan I almost fought on the subway platform, you all know exactly where I'm coming from.
My favorite scene in Hoosiers is the preseason pep-rally when the crowd starts to chant for Jimmy Chitwood—the team star who decided he didn't want to play basketball that season. Coach Dale quiets the crowd by saying: "I hope that you will support us for who we are, not who we aren't. This is your team."
Right now, Mets fans, your squad is depleted beyond belief. Blame Omar Minaya if you want.
Though if you are going to do so, please get your facts straight. The team's lack of depth can be attributed directly to the Johan Santana trade. Would you rather have depth or the best pitcher of this generation? Also, did you really think Ollie would be THIS bad?.
Blame Jerry Manuel, blame the trainers (please fire Ray Ramirez), blame whoever. But, please, support this squad for who they are—an out-manned group that is still in the pennant chase.
It's a team of has-beens, never-weres, stupid players and choke artists that people can't wait to see fail.
It's a team that is routinely torn to shreds by every member of the local media. It's a team that is laughed at by most of their home town and is universally loathed by the rest of the National League.
Yet nobody has asked out. Not one player has asked to be traded or looked to void his contract. How can these guys enjoy their current no-win/must-win situation?
The reason is the fans.
The fans that pay their salaries, the fans who feel like they are all qualified to run the organization, the fans to whom baseball means maybe a little too much.
These guys know that without the loyal support of the team's many die-hard fans, the Mets are not in a position to win every year.
The Mets are about to embark on a 30-game stretch. Twenty-six of those games are against opponents with winning records. This could very easily get ugly.
If we want the players to live up to their potential then we have to live up to ours as well.
This means not doing the wave in the eighth inning of a one run game, not letting any visiting fans have too good a time in our park, not getting on a player unless its absolutely warranted.
We can't outwardly predict doom if the Mets have something good going or wrongly act entitled if they meet our lofty expectations.
Consider this a call to arms Mets fans. If you want to call yourselves the best fans in the National League, now is the time to prove it!
Like I said, this could get ugly and if your not up to it, then the rest of us will be happy to park the bandwagon and wait for you to get off. Your absence is only going to bring us closer together.
Anybody who has ever been to a big game at Shea knows the power the Shea faithful can have on this team. Let's be the rock for this team to lean on.
Better yet, a brick.