The Ballad Of Reappearing Mets Jerseys
Mets jerseys haven’t been this popular in fifteen years. This week, during Major League Baseball’s World Series, they seem to be everywhere in New York—some of them are dusty and some are wrinkled, but no less present in a city that’s always been dominated by a pinstripe of a different color. The last year I saw as many proud Amazin’ fans was 2000, and that, too, was during the World Series. At the time, the New York Mets were battling the New York Yankees in what is known as the “Subway Series”. Then, just as quickly as those Mets jerseys appeared, they were gone. The Yankees won the championship four games to one, and New York City was awash in the all too familiar black and white colors of its more beloved team.
As a kid I liked Tom Seaver, a pitcher for the Mets and an eventual Hall of Famer. My neighbor across the street was a lefty and together we played hours of baseball, me as Seaver, him as Tug McGraw, another Mets pitcher. The Mets were a young franchise then, formed in 1962 as a “replacement team” for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants after both teams left for California in 1957 (what a year for NY baseball fans). The Mets’ uniform colors were a nod to the dearly departed—Dodger blue and Giant orange. Back in the 70s, as a kid in the South, I didn’t want to be a Mets fan. But every player I wanted to be wore the Mets uniform. Those guys just made you want to be them.
I’ve learned through the years that a Mets fan is often alone, one person in a room full of “other” fans. During regular season play, you will rarely see two people together wearing Mets jerseys, unless you’re in Queens. In the other boroughs, with the Bombers fans, it’s a different story. If there’s power in numbers, why then is there inevitably just one Mets fan at the end of the bar, a lone orange logo in a sea of black and white? Is it the curse of Robert Moses and Walter O’Malley, the corrupt city official and the shady Dodgers owner, whose dealings led to the Mets existence in the first place? Might this original sin have led to some kind of hidden shame? Or maybe it’s the curse of Bill Buckner, whose little league-level error in game six of the 1986 World Series would forever overshadow the Mets outplaying of the Boston Red Sox and their deserved win. Whatever the reason, it’s time it stopped.
The Mets have played better baseball this October than any other team and, although I’m still not a fan, I will be happy to see them become champions. But win or lose, if you are a Mets fan keep your jersey on, the city could use the extra color.