Sunday, October 24, 2010

Season Phinale

To the extent that the team makes it possible, I am a New York Mets fan. The first game I saw in person was at Shea Stadium and since it was 1969, I paid some attention through the end of the Mets' World Series championship. For the most part, however, I continued to think of sports as something a person did, not something one watched. In 1986, I undertook a home renovation. One task was tedious and time-consuming and to break up the monotony I listened to a lot of Mets games. My girlfriend of the time, who I later married and eventually got divorced from, came from a suburban-Philadelphia family who watched a lot of sports and I started to as well. We went to Shea a few times that year, excited again by a championship season. The Mets became a part of who we were as a couple. For a few years we bought a "six-pack" ticket package, then doubled-down with a Sunday plan, and went on to split a Tuesday-Friday plan with two other people. From time to time, we went to Veterans Stadium with family or friends ("phamily or phriends?") to see the Phillies.

The Phillies have been the National League Eastern division champions the past four years (while the Mets finished a collective 326-322) and I have rooted for them in the post-season. Friends who are Mets fans find it sacrilegious that I cheer for the team most think of as our division rivals. When the Phiillies played the Yankees in the World Series in 2008 and 2009, numerous people insisted that as a New Yorker, I had to root for the local team, a geographic imperative that borders on feudal. A female Phillie fan ("phemale Phillie phan?") came to my local watering hole in jersey and cap for last year's decisive Game 6 against the Yankees and suffered innings of abuse from a bullet-headed bodybuilder. He backed off after I told her his nickname is "Fluffy" and she suggested he "go walk himself." My ex-wife is from Philadelphia and so is my dad. I've seen more baseball in South Philly than the South Bronx. I'll root for whom I want (as should everyone else).

Last night was the Phillies season finale (or, in their case, "phinale") as they lost the National League Championship Series to the San Francisco Giants, two games to four. The game probably will be my season finale as well. I had hoped for a Phillies-Twins World Series; I have no emotional investment in a Giants-Rangers match-up. (Melvin declared a lack of interest after the division series.) This was a good year of baseball——the April trip to the Gulf Coast; some Mets games in the first half of the season; the Ohio trip at the end of July; the Newark Bears and New York-Penn League all star game in August; and leading up to post-season, the Phillies, Brooklyn Cyclones, Twins and Brewers . It was kind of like a banquet spread out over several hours; the food kept coming but I never felt full. When my ex-wife and I had the Sunday and Tuesday-Friday plans at Shea, we saw around 15 games there and a half-dozen or so elsewhere. I still consider myself a Met fan, but I find inverting the ratio much more satisfying.

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