Hartley: Take me out for the ballgame, for Mets’ sake | AspenTimes.com

Hartley: Take me out for the ballgame, for Mets’ sake

Most of you probably don’t know this, as it’s not the sort of thing I’ve had much occasion to crow about for about 30 years, but I was once upon a time a huge New York Mets fan.

I was born and raised about a half-hour drive from Shea Stadium, my family and I would watch the Mets games every night on channel 9 and hanging on the wall in our kitchen there was a picture of my brother, me and two friends with Mets legend Tom Seaver in the tunnel behind home plate at Shea. I mean, I was all about the Mets, despite being a godawful baseball player myself.

Where I grew up, in the shadow of the Big Apple, people were assigned baseball fandom at birth. For most people, that meant being a Yankees fan, but my father, who’d grown up there himself, was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan and didn’t care for the Yankees. When his team fled for Los Angeles, my father kept his loyalty to the National League and was granted a team to root for, the Mets, in 1962.

So I was born a Mets fan, and now that I think about it, I just might have been conceived the night they won the World Series in 1969, which was almost exactly nine months before I was born.

Mostly, it’s been a long slog for my 45 years. Oh, there have been some ups, like this year and, of course, 1986, but other than that, it’s been a tough run — not like the Cubs or anything, but not a whole lot better. It would be nice to see the Mets win a third World Series this year. The problem is that in order for them to win the World Series, I can’t actually see it.

That’s a bit dramatic, I guess. I can watch most of the series, but I have to miss the most important moment for my magic to work. I’d hoped this wasn’t going to be the case, but apparently it is. I know this because it has now happened three times total and twice in one game at the biggest moments in Mets history.

I used to think it was just a coincidence, but now I have proof: The only reason Bill Buckner flubbed that grounder in ’86 is because I didn’t see it happen. I had already gone to bed in dismay after the Red Sox scored two runs in the top of the 10th inning, only to be awakened by my brother, who burst in to my room to tell me I’d missed the most incredible play in baseball history.

In 2000, the next time the Mets made it to the World Series, they didn’t face an elimination game in the playoffs, and then they got clobbered by the Yankees in the series four games to one. There was no opportunity to utilize my magic.

This year, however, has been different. Just last week, the Mets found themselves in a do-or-die Game 5 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, and I found myself sitting at the bar of a restaurant in Aspen watching the game on TV.

If you’ll recall, a week ago, I’d just finished my seven-day Larabar cleanse. I had a big breakfast that morning that tasted so good, I just kept on eating. By the time dinner at the restaurant came around, I was already full, but we had a gift certificate we needed to use, so I had a steak and about three or four glasses of Coke.

Unsurprisingly, that brought on a serious attack of gastrointestinal distress, and I went to the men’s room to relieve myself with the score of the game 2-1 in favor of the Dodgers and things looking bleak for my guys. When I came back, I learned that the Mets’ Daniel Murphy had stolen third base and then scored on a sacrifice fly to tie the game.

Two innings later, my digestive issues flared up again, necessitating another trip to the men’s room. This time, I got back to my seat just in time to catch the replay of Murphy’s home run that won the game 3-2 for the Mets. I’d been sitting on the toilet; thus the Mets won. I guess you could say I was taking one for the team.

So I’m going to watch this year’s World Series, but I want you Mets fans to know that if there’s a big moment when the Mets look like they’re cooked, I’m sure I’ll find a reason to miss it. You can thank me later.

Todd Hartley is the top-rated over-45 MLB prospect in Basalt, Colorado, according to Baseball America. To read more or leave a comment, visit http://zerobudget.net.


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