So when I went away on my vacation, during the All-Star break, the Mets were 51-44. Shortly after I left, they poked their heads into first. They’re now 58-53, three games behind the first place Phillies and a half game behind the second place Marlins. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the Mets while I was away, because when I’m traveling, I’m doing something else. I checked in to see how they did each day, but that was pretty much it. I’m reading old articles now and blog posts, trying to get a sense of what happened during the last two and a half weeks. I see the ups and downs, the excitement and the disappointment that people must have experienced day in and day out. So now I’m back, and all this happened, and the Mets are still pretty much where they were: in a tight race between three flawed teams. They were 7-9 while I was gone, but they’re still 16-9 over their last 25. There are reasons to feel bad and reasons to feel good. And you know there’s no right or logical way to feel.
I’ll bet you know the feeling I have right now. Maybe you’ve gone away too, this summer, last summer, any summer, and taken a little vacation from your ordinary life and from the Mets. You come back, and things are pretty much the same as when you left. But you missed the day-to-day roller coaster and you can’t help but ask yourself if you actually missed anything. There were good games and bad games, but with this team in this era, there are always good games and bad games. So what would you have now if you had been around, by having paid day-to-day attention? And if I’m not sure if I would have anything, does it really make sense to start paying close attention to every game now that I’m back? Is there an argument for not paying attention until the end? Each individual game you watch tells you almost nothing about how a season will turn out. Stuff only makes sense over a long run and even then it doesn’t really make sense. In fact, if you go away for two and a half weeks, you can get caught up about everything that happened in an hour or two. And yet if I hadn’t gone away, how many hours would I have spent watching games and going to them, reading articles and blogs, or listening to radio? Would that really have been worth it? Coming back home, and getting caught up, I can’t help but feel real doubt about the value of being a baseball fan.
I know that the reason I am a baseball fan is somehow contained in the answers I would give to the questions I’ve asked above if I knew what they were. I don’t know what the answers are, but I don’t think it matters, because I don’t think they would make any sense. I’m back. I will pay attention. I will let the wins get my hopes up and the losses depress me, and maybe this year will be one of the great ones, and maybe it won’t be and it will just be filed away in the books as a series of details and numbers that will be absorbed in about fifteen minutes by people in the future who did not experience it.