January 28, 2008

What the 2007 Mets Collapse Really Meant...

As regular readers probably read last week, my dad, Al Rubin, passed away a week ago today. In discussing his life with so many friends and relatives, I realized that he was one measly game away from watching the Mets' go to the play-offs, which would have been a far better way to go out then what actually happened...and that same thought made it that much harder to write about the Mets, or for that matter, much else, for the past seven days...I was angry and bitter about how the Mets' had let down my dad and millions of fans, squashing a season filled with high expectations and unwavering support from a fanbase that has been through the wringer for so long with the orange and blue...and then another thought hit me- in 1962, the Mets were a model of one thing- futility! It took seven lean years until they hit gold in 1969, and all throughout those years, my dad loved the Mets come rain or come shine. He loved the 1969 team the best, because he was still young, his kids were young, and together we shared a championship season as a family for the first time, which is always the most special. He put up with all of that losing, and although we complain, most of us have never had to deal with THAT kind of losing...and therefore the sweetness that was 1969 was that much greater to be a part of...

1973 was great, and the years in-between were fun, too, in spite of just missing out of the play-offs a few of those years. 1973 was more meaningful to my family in one way, which was that my younger brother Michael had become, at the tender age of 5, a raving lunatic of a Mets' fan, and he attended his first games that year, which meant, for me, extra salted pretzels to munch off of, and someone that I could start teaching about the Mets' to, under dad's wing, of course...even though we didn't win it all, it seemed like we'd be competitive for a long time to come...but 1974 - 1985 were pretty well filled with futility, and yet we went to just as many games, all the same, as sometimes the three of us (dad, my brother Michael and me) seemed to be the only ones in the stands (practically, anyway.)


1986 was amazing, yet again, and then we were let down every season since, even 2000 (especially 2000)! And yet, we still loved that crazy orange and blue-clad group of ever-changing players, most either not reaching their potential with us, or at all, or having passed their prime, once again, like the earlier days of the team. Coming close seemed to be, or seems to remain, our calling card, which, I guess, makes those actual World Series victories that much sweeter - at least for those of us who were around for both of them! So, I guess, losing out by one game last year was just the Mets being the Mets, and there is, I guess, as much symmetry in that being the last season my dad saw as there was in the Giants beating the Packers again, as they did 70 years ago (for the championship), this time 23-20 instead of 23-17, fittingly the day before my dad passed away. The Giants began his life like champs, and are ending that way; the Mets came in as lovable losers, and, well, last season they did end up losing, if not quite as lovable...
...which brings us to 2008. Willie, like my dad a fellow Tilden High School grad, must take all that he has learned these last three years and manage like he's never managed before; Wright has to repeat his herculean performance of 2007; Reyes, Beltran and Delgado have to bounce back to 2006 levels; Wagner, Heilman, Perez, Maine, et al have to continue to dominate, as they did last season; and, most of all, my main man, Pedro Martinez, has to be similar to the Pedro of old, and then 2008 can become a much more fitting tribute to a man who gave so much to the world for so long, as a soldier, teacher, father and friend...and if we can get Santana on top of that, I'm sure dad will be the first one to do a cartwheel up in heaven - and that would be his second one, following on the heals of Thompson's homer in 1951, but that's a story for another time.

Let's Go Mets means so much more then it even meant last year...and this year, this season, all of the support I've given my beloved team needs to be given back to me for a change...please...!!! So bring on pitchers and catchers...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

well for your family david i hope the mets pull it out this year

Anonymous said...

I hope that the collapse doesn't mean anything exept for some fuel to be thrown into the fire for the 08 season

David Rubin & Jonathan Elfenbein said...

We got Santana, so I think the memory of last season might just about be burned out of my memory...well, not quite, but Omar just helped it swim deeper into the dark recesses of my mind...let's hope it stays there!
DJR