Yesterday, the World Series got underway. About four weeks ago, I was fairly certain that I would be watching my favorite team, the New York Mets, playing there. Then, three weeks ago, I thought it was still a possibility. Silly me. The Mets, as they are prone to do (you can look up their history, but there’s literally been books written on the subject), lost. They blew it, plain and simple. Now, the film world and the sports world doesn’t always intersect, but I’m as into sports as I am film. In fact, my first planned profession was as a sports radio talk show host. So, I take a loss by my teams hard, especially if it’s baseball or football (where I foolishly root for the Jets). Having pondered my distress over this team, while being (at the time) in the midst of fall festival season, had me intertwining the two. With the World Series on, as well as a unique experience coming up for me, which I’ll get into later, it seemed like a good time to write it out. Follow me here…
First off, I have my bona fides. The last time the Mets won a World Series game? I was in the stands. I was at two of their three playoff games this year. In fact, I was born just a few months after their last championship, in 1987. Hell, my parents called me Mookie (after former Met player and then coach Mookie Wilson) while I was growing in the womb. So, I was sort of around for that title. But, having been born after, I’ve yet to see them win it all with my own eyes. So, I come by this misery with three and a half decades of experience!
Rooting for the Mets is like following a film franchise as it wildly ebbs and flows. In a way, it’s almost the DC superhero movies. There’s occasionally some Batman flicks, like The Batman or The Dark Knight, that are the top of the heap. There’s even The Suicide Squad or Wonder Woman. More often, however, there’s disappointments like Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, or the non Snyder Cut of Justice League. You keep getting excited, foolishly so, only to be let down.
Another analogy could be the Jurassic Park flicks. The original is a masterpiece, like the 1969 or 1986 World Championship teams for the Mets. Since those glory days, however, there’s never been another time where they’ve been the best. Just like how the dinosaur franchise has never gotten back to the promised land.
In a way, athletes on teams you root for are like the stars of films you love. You have the top players on the team, like A-list headliners of a movie. Then, you have the role players, on the bench and in the bullpen, who are like supporting players. Your coach is your director. And so on. You become invested in how the project comes together, hoping this alchemy will be what makes for an award winner, be it Best Picture or a World Series trophy.
I know it sounds silly, but rooting hard for the Mets (though you can insert any team you want here) brings up more emotion than the biggest tearjerker. The Fault in Our Stars made me cry, sure. But the Mets? They can leave you despondent. On the flip-side, success and glory and equal to no other high. It’s rarer than four star reviews from yours truly, but occasionally it does happen.
Now, on to my announcement that ties this all together. Next month, I’m going to be partaking in something fairly unusual. I’m going to be attending Mets Fantasy Camp in Port St. Lucie, Florida. I’ll be down at their Spring Training facility, with other campers, living the life of a big leaguer. You have your own personalized official uniform, a locker, equipment, and are coached by former big leaguers, largely those with notable Met history, too. It’s a very random experience that’s a once in a lifetime sort of thing. To continue this ramble of mine, I’m going to report back on my time there, seeing if actually putting on the uniform and taking the field resembles being in the movies that move us so much, even a little bit. Time will tell, but it’s not going to be boring, I’m sure of that.
There you have it. In spite of the Mets causing me so much anguish, I’m going to be essentially pretending to be a Met for a week. Consider it a version of a set visit, or some kind of cosplay where you can be in the movie. For a week in November, I’m goin go live the life of a New York Met. So, expect me to get injured on a fluke, put up disappointing numbers, and do something foolish. I’ll be a Met in no time. Hopefully I’ll be a lovable one, but for better or worse, I’m doing it…
Stay tuned to hear about my adventures pretending to be an actual player on the Mets!