April 1st is opening day. All over the country people are flocking to the temples of horsehide and hickory. Me, I don’t trek. I live in the Golden Triangle of baseball. I’m 110 miles from Boston and 110 miles from NYC. Living in the Golden Triangle allows cable companies to carry the Mets, the Yankees and the Red Sox. Today I’m in hog heaven. The Mets are playing San Diego at home and Boston and the Yankees renew their age-old battle. It started as a Bones to baseball relay. I hadn’t seen the Bones episode but loyalty won out. I switched to the Mets and during commercials switched to the NY/ Boston contest. What’s the use, I’m a Mets fan. The Yankees and Sox don’t mean a lot to me. In New Britain CT this is heresy. In my home town you’re supposed to be either a Red Sox or Yankees fan, no exceptions. There were aberrations, like my father. He rooted for the Cleveland Indians. Don’t ask. My mother a Sox fan. My late sister, Yankees fan. Rabid Yankees fan.
Being a Yankees fan is easy. They’ve got the money and until this year a lot of the best players. They’ve had Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, Maris, Rizzouto, Berra and Howard. They were always rich and to the dismay of the rest of the American League “bought” their pennants. Yankee Stadium was revered as a holy place in the pantheon of baseball. My father took me and an uncle and my cousin Peter to a few games. The tickets were courtesy of beer distributors. They used to give away tickets to ball games as an incentive.
The Red Sox had a harder time. Allegedly cursed for selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees they either finished second or tanked. They had stellar players, Yaz, Ted Williams, Carlton Fisk and because I don’t follow them that close don’t remember. It ended in 2004. The fact the won the World Series was secondary. The fact that stands out in Sox fans is that they swept the Yankees in the ALCS. They made the Series again but got beaten by the Mets. Beer distributors gave away sox tickets. The sponsor was Narragansett Beer. It was popular among teen Sox fans because it came in Giant Imperial Quarts for $1.10 at your local liquor store.
Ah, the Mets, my team. They were created in response to petulant New York National League fans irritated by the departure of the Dodgers and the Giants for the left coast. In the beginning they were a motley crew of cast-offs, over-the hill players and rookies. They were managed by Casey Stengel. They sucked, there’s no other way to put it. the wallowed in the cellar of the National League, but they built up a fan base. The errors, losses and general ineptness added to the charm. Seaver, Agee, Gooden and rehabs made them a contender. The Miracle Mets beat Baltimore in the World Series. They curb-stomped American League hearts when they beat the Red Sox. the Theory being “Your enemy is my enemy, city be damned”
The Mets won 11-2 and the Sox won 8-2 in New York.
If you can’t make it to a major league park go to a local minor league, or Little League. Take your kids and friends pack a picnic lunch.
See you tomorrow.