Friday, May 31, 2013

How Sweep It Is

As I was leaving Yankee Stadium last night a couple of Yankee fans tried to stop the Mets fans' celebration by reminding us this wasn't the World Series. It didn't work. We knew this might turn into the highest point of a trying season so we cherished the moment. We cheered in a rival's home ballpark, high-fived people we didn't know, watched as our favorite team took one week to crawl out of the ratty closet beneath the stairs. 

This week the Mets were not the red-headed stepchild of New York sports. Even if they reclaim that role in the upcoming week, I will be happy to take pride in the fact that they were king for any period of time. 

I have attended a Subway Series game at Yankee Stadium every year since 2007. In the most recent years I haven't expected the Mets to win. Most years I would leave the stadium with that sinking feeling, jealous of all the happy fans around me, hoping one day I'd actually be the one enjoying a victory. 

This year I walked into the stadium confident. Even if the Mets didn't win the game they had already won the series, and I would have something to celebrate.

I didn't get to the stadium as early as I would have liked, but I was able to see some batting practice from the front of my section in left field. I watched as Jeremy Hefner chatted with kids watching from above the scoreboard and tried to get a baseball for each of them. After BP concluded I listened as he talked to a group from Oklahoma, as they discussed the horrible tornados and how they affected their hometowns. He seemed genuinely grateful every time somebody congratulated him on the previous night's victory. He was as patient as ever when my brother and I struggled with my camera after I asked for a picture. He stayed and signed an autograph for every waiting fan. And to top it off, he replied to my tweet thanking him less than 10 minutes after it all happened. 

As a Mets fan I have learned to appreciate as many smaller events as possible, and yesterday I knew that would've been finding out firsthand how much of a sweetheart Jeremy Hefner is, and winning the series. Winning the game would be icing on the cake.

By the fifth inning my superstitious side had kicked in. I clapped the same amount after each Dillon Gee strike and strikeout. I similarly clapped for each ball taken by the Mets. I didn't expect Gee to pitch as well as he did. I didn't expect to actually see Scott Rice pitch for the millionth time this season. And I certainly didn't expect Bobby Parnell to close the game with a 1-2-3 inning. 

The day that started with dreams of finally walking out of that stadium joyfully ended with those dreams becoming reality. 

You know, even if they hadn't it would have been a pretty good day. 

Let's Go Mets!

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