Sorrow and Consolation


Not much time has elapsed since the Mets went down to defeat and the Kansas City Royals captured the World Series.  Living on Long Island and being an avid Mets fan has made the “days after” most difficult.  Not only am I in mourning (maybe Hallmark should consider developing a line of sympathy cards to send to fans whose teams have lost) but I have also to console friends and family, some of whom are grief stricken.  (If you are engaged in similar activities I suggest you start by referring to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ classic “On Grief and Grieving”.)

The worst is my eleven year old grandson.  He’s angry.  “Don’t talk to me about it”, he barks.  Trying to avoid any references to the Series he’s stopped tuning into ESPN and MLB (Major League Baseball).  Usually a daily consumer of the sports pages he’s abandoned them.  Who knows how long he’ll stay this way.  Totally devoted to the Mets it will take time before he comes to terms with their defeat.

My wife presents a different picture.  Her only interest in sports derives from the fact that many family members are so involved with “their” teams.  She hates to see them depressed.  But she is also hurting once she discovers how the Mets “gave away” some of the games to K.C.  “It’s not so much that they lost”, she remarks, “but the way they lost.  Their relievers are awful, their fielding stinks.  They’re like the Mets of old”, she says, “always doing something stupid so that they lose.”  One of my daughters insists the Mets remind her of “borderline personality” types who endear themselves at first but then pull the rug out from under and turn against you.  “They don’t deserve to win”, she added.  My friend Don lamented the fact that the Royals had won at Citi Field.  “I feel violated”, he growled, “to see those guys celebrating on our field.  Sticking it to us.”

My daughter Deborah from Port Washington is one of the most committed Mets fans I know.  (She thought she’d recovered from her addiction when several years ago she moved to Chicago but became hooked once more after she returned to Long Island.)  The loss hurt and hurt bad. But her powers of recovery were, in this instance, quite remarkable (including relief that after a series of late night stands she’d finally be able to get some sleep.)  Speaking to her after little more than a day had passed, she already had constructed an upbeat narrative.  “They gave away two games,” she groaned, “and don’t forget they were ahead in all five of them.”  But then she conceded that their bats fell asleep, that they failed to hit at crucial occasions and that their middle relievers made her cringe each time they came to the mound.  And yes, the Royals were a very good team and maybe the Mets had overachieved, i.e., “advanced too much, too quickly.”

And then she launched into the familiar refrain well known to baseball fans – “Wait until next year.”  She promptly assumed the role of General Manager:  “We’ll let Cespedes go, maybe  Murphy; teach d’Arnaud how to throw out runners.  And maybe put Niese into relief and perhaps trade Zach Wheeler for a big bat.  If Clippard was injured we’ll give him another show and also consider Colon for the bullpen.”

Deborah had recovered( or at least had wanted me to believe that).  More good news from her.  Because the Mets season had extended into November, much longer than usually the case, the lengthy period before pitcher and catchers had to report to Spring Training (february 2016) had been reduced considerably.  She also reported that her husband Tim, who had for years been largely detached, barely tolerating her Mets mania, had seen the light, been swept up by their magical year,and  post-season success and seemed prepared to sign on as a fan (whether this was a gesture of support, a temporary affair or an enduring affiliation only time would tell.)

Finally, would you believe she reminded me who the Mets play to open the 2016 season.  You’d never guess – the Kansas City Royals!  Revenge is just months away.

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