Thursday, October 22, 2015

Kings of Queens

Fifteen years ago, I cried as Bernie Williams caught the last out of the Subway Series. Nine years ago, I cried as Carlos Beltran watched three straight pitches go by against the Cardinals. Last night I cried again, this time tears of joy as the New York Mets advanced to the World Series.

I have been a Mets fan all of my life. I remember watching the 1986 World Series on a black and white television with my mother, fighting hard not to fall asleep and celebrating with my friends when they won. I remember running home from school in 1988 when they played the Dodgers in the playoffs and how they lost the series and how Frank Cashen broke up the team after that. I remember the false hope of Generation K and the bad teams of the 1990s. The signings of Vince Coleman, Bobby Bonilla, Mo Vaughn (my mother's favorite) and numerous others who were overpaid and past their prime. I remember watching the heart of our 1986 team lead those guys across the Triboro win the World Series in 1996 while we suffered through a decade where we didn't sniff the playoffs.

Somehow, we made it to the World Series in 2000, but we were outmanned. Things looked like they were turning in 2003. The signing of Cliff Floyd was a complement to the right handed hitting Mike Piazza and Jose Reyes made his debut that June. A year later, David Wright was on the big club. The following winter, we signed Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez and hopes sprung eternal in Flushing. The icing on the cake came in the winter of 2005 when Carlos Delgado and Billy Wagner came to Flushing. The 2006 team was loaded, but ran into a buzz saw named Adam Wainwright who killed our World Series dreams with three curveballs. The following two seasons the Mets playoff hopes were dashed on the last day of the season.

The only highlight of the next 6 seasons was the opening of a new ball park, but once the novelty of that wore off, Mets faithful wanted to go to the playoffs. With David Wright as the only holdover from the last playoff team and a cautious general manager who stuck with his plan instead of caving to the pressure of a big money, high profile signing, the 2015 Mets features a good mix of players who don't lean on any one particular way to win. A young pitching staff that grew up quickly and a team that can hit for power and average gave the team a good shot to compete this year. Not favored to win the division, they jumped out to a big lead and cruised to a division title (thanks to an underachieving Washington team) and entered the playoffs.

Having defeated the Dodgers and Cubs, they now stand 4 games away from a championship and I am excited. Our opponent hasn't been determined yet and I don't care. The way this team is playing now, it will be hard for anyone to beat them. Tuesday night cannot get here soon enough. Until then, i will wear my orange and blue and yell "LET'S GO METS" every chance i get.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Monday Musings: Vegas Edition

1. I have a love/hate relationship with flying. Love the views, hate the lack of legroom. Almost got into it with the gentleman sitting in front of me on the flight back.

2. Avian has got to be the worst tasting bottled water ever sold. Nevada tap water might be the worst in the country.

3. $8 for a day pass to cruise the strip might be the best deal in Vegas.

4. $20 for a buffet and there is no steak and the only seafood is fried shrimp. That's bad news.

5. If they somehow banned smoking on the strip I would be inclined to go every year.

6. Nobody can convince me that alcohol was not consumed during the construction of the Hoover Dam. No sober person is going to agree to redirect a river for 5 years so we can control it.

7. Don't brag about being featured on the Food Network if your food sucks.

8. You don't need to drink a lot, you just need to know the right places to get your drinks from.

9. Don't go chasing jackpots. Take a few small wins here and there and you will go home happy.

10. Don't expect to sleep at normal times. It takes a while to adjust to the time change.