Blogging Like I've Never Blogged Before

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Johan Santana threw a no hitter on Friday night. I should have been ecstatic. I should have been jumping up and down in my living room. I should have been texting and Tweeting and Facebooking all of my Mets friends. But instead I was hoping the Cardinals would get a base hit. Because I should have been at the game.

Thursday night, my cousin asked me if I wanted to go. My lady and I had plans to do some wedding planning, so I chose not to. In her defense, she told me I should go. But since I've been kind of shitty in the wedding planning, I thought, No, I'll stay home and go through the guest list and do whatever else we needed to do.

Every time I think of going to a Mets game, or have been offered tickets to a Mets game, I usually have a thought of, "Well, I should go because tonight could be the night." Whenever I decline to go to a game, I'm secretly happy when I see that they've given up a hit. I still have a chance.

The bigger fear for me, though, was to miss it completely. To come out of a movie theater or something, turn on my phone and see texts from friends like "NO HITTER MOTHERFLUBBER!" To completely miss it, I thought, would be the worst thing to happen.

Now I'm not so sure.

For some reason, the thought of missing the no hitter never even occurred to me this time. Maybe it was because they were playing the Cardinals, not the Pirates. Not a team you expect to no hit.

We got back from dinner tonight, I turned the TV on, and looked at Twitter. I saw a Tweet that said something like, "The last time a Met had a no hitter through the 6th was..." Holy shit. It's going into the 7th inning and Johan has a no-no going. It's okay, I thought. These are the Mets, and they are going to Mets the shit out of this.

But then Mike Baxter made that catch, and I realized something special might very well happen. And I'm not going to see it live, like I should be.

At this point, Tania said to me, "So we're watching this until it's over, right?" Yup.

So I'm watching this game. One part of me rooting for a Cardinals base hit. The other part of me giddy at the fact that there might be a no hitter, and at the very least, my cousin is there and he will get to see it. So good for him and the other fans there. But still. This is about ME! And my Mets hat. Look at this thing. It looks like I'm wearing a duck that was in an oil spill.

Tonight was the weirdest moment I've ever had as a sports fan. I know at some point I will be happy. But right now I'm just mad at myself for not going.

Tania has been great, though. There was that Beltran "hit" that was called foul. So, if there was instant replay, this would have been a one hitter. Every time she passes by me and sees me looking sad and shaking my head, she yells, "ASTERISK!"

So yeah, asterisk. The next time they do it, I'll be there. Or I'll at least be watching it on TV, when it's a game I had no intention of going to. I'm just glad I wasn't sitting in a movie theater or on an airplane (those are the only two places you shouldn't have your phone on, right?).

But still, I should have been sitting in section 516 with my cousin. Not sitting on my couch silently hoping Rafael Furcal would get an infield single (he's on my fantasy team).

In the end, this is kind of the perfect way to witness a Mets no hitter. The Mets have filled me with joy and disappointment ever since I was an 11-year-old kid who watched them win the World Series. It's only fitting that the second greatest Mets moment in my lifetime is a perfect combination of joy and disappointment.

I realize this makes me seem selfish, but rooting for a sports team is selfish. You root for the team that you chose to root for when you were a kid. Sure, you're happy for that grizzled veteran who has played his whole career and finally won the big one, but you're mainly happy because you feel like that team belongs to you, and them winning makes you a part of it. You picked the right team. You won.

Tonight, the Mets won, and I had a smile on my face here and there, but the whole time I was imagining myself jumping up and down at Shea (I know), taking pictures, sending texts, high-fiving strangers, riding the 7 train home and not caring that it's crowded and smelly and drunk.

And then I thought of Bob Murphy and Gary Carter and my grandfather. I hope there is an afterlife, and I hope they watched this game, and they all had a Rheingold. It made me a little happier. But it's going to be tough to get over this one.

All material © Mike Toole; 2003 - 2006