There’s No Room for Fair-Weather Fans in Baseball

1986-ws-celebrationBaseball has long been known as "America's pastime." While football is arguably the most popular sport in the country today, there is still a certain romantic aspect of baseball that other sports can't match.

There's something special about showing up to watch a game, smelling the fresh cut grass and hearing the crack of the bat and the pop when the ball hits the catcher's mitt.

The other great thing about baseball is that come opening day, hope springs eternal for every fan that their team will make it to the World Series.

There simply isn't any room for fair-weather fans in baseball. Speaking as a fan of the lowly New York Mets, whose last playoff appearance was in the 2006 National League Championship Series, you need to stick with your team because you never know what can happen.

The hope is there for bigger and better things because, like Mets pitcher Tug McGraw shouted in a team meeting back in 1973, "Ya gotta believe!" Those three words have been a rallying cry for the team ever since.

Being only 23-years-old, I wasn't around to see the Mets in their glory days.

I've only heard about and seen highlights of the 1986 World Series against the Boston Red Sox.

Famous scenes like Ray Knight, Mookie Wilson and the late, great Gary Carter rallying the team to win game six of the series.

Or when pitcher Jesse Orosco tossed his glove in the air after closing game seven and winning the Mets their second World Series title. The "Miracle Mets" improbable first title is also something I've only ever heard about. Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Art Shamsky, Tommie Agee and the rest of the Gil Hodges-led team beat the Baltimore Orioles in five games, as hall of fame broadcasters Ralph Kiner and Lindsey Nelson helped call the action for fans watching on television, with Nelson wearing one of his trademark multi-colored, plaid sports jackets of course.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson predicted that his team would win 90-games this year. Any realistic Mets fan knows that the team would be lucky to win 70 or 80 games this season, let alone 90.

But I believe, along with most other Mets fans I'm sure, that our teams luck will turn and we will be able to relive those glory days of '69 and '86 eventually. Remember, when your team is at the bottom, the only direction they can go is up.

The season is only a few games old and Mets fan showed up in droves on opening day at Citi Field a few weeks ago, wearing their orange and blue jackets, caps and the jersey of their favorite player; either from one of their two championship teams or players from their current roster.

Some might call these fans delusional, while others might point or laugh. I'd call them optimistic because every team is undefeated when the season begins. Everyone starts off with the same record and clean slate.

So whether you root for a struggling team like the Mets or a team like the Yankees that always seem to be playing when October rolls around, you can't be a fair-weather fan.

You've got to stick with your team through the good and the bad, and be a loyal fan.

You've got to have some optimism about the upcoming season. And above all else, "Ya gotta believe!"

PHOTO TAKEN from studiousmetsimus.blogspot.com