Saturday, October 24, 2015
My heart bleeds blue..........
Well......it appears that the world series for 2015 is set. The #%@^!&* Kansas City Royals against the New York Mets. While I have no doubt that this is going to be a very interesting world series, honestly I was hoping for a Toronto Blue Jays vs NY Mets world series as those are both of my favorite baseball teams. I've always been a die hard Blue Jays and a die hard Mets fan since I was 9 years old and I grew up in the middle of Pennsylvania and with the area I lived in, you're either a Pirates fan or a Phillies fan. I didn't really like either of those teams. It was the players that got my attention of both of the teams that I liked and one of those ball players that stood out to me was a Mets player named, "Mookie Wilson."
The reason I liked "Mookie" so much was because I really liked his style of batting (he was a switch hitter) and honestly in 1983 who else ever really heard of a guy with the first name of "Mookie." I thought at the time maybe he didn't like to be called, "Bill" or "William" as that was his first name. But truly though, another reason I liked Mookie was because like most other kids at that age, Mookie played center field just like I did on my little league ball team and I used to think I could be like Mookie. It was then at that point and time in my life, in the very beginning of the summer time of 1983 that I decided I was going to follow Mookie Wilson and the NY Mets and I have never looked backed.
I can remember when the time came I had decided I was going to tell my mother who my favorite baseball team was and when I did finally tell her she didn't try to persuade me to switch to another team or even have me like her own favorite team (New York Yankees). She just simply said to me, "follow your favorite player and the team that you like and stay dedicated to the team whether they win or lose. Especially if that favorite player goes to another team. Well that was painless and simple coming from Mom I thought to myself. Surely Dad is going to probably say the same thing I thought at the time. Then it came time for me to tell the Old Man who I liked and I remember it exactly how it happened as he was sitting on the end of the couch reading the newspaper (The Daily Item). I remember telling him that I remembered when we both talked about liking baseball and what teams there were and that I decided on a team I was going to follow. I told him that I liked the NY Mets. He slowly lowered the newspaper onto his lap and he just gave me that weird vibey far off stare (the same kind of stare that cats have after they get done licking their butt). You have to understand that my Dad was a Phillies fan......all the way to the bone! So, after a long two minute far off stare (which seemed like eternity), he asks me who it was that I liked from the team and I told him, "Mookie." Now at this point I can remember him looking at me with one of those really head piercing brown eyed stares and then he raised his hand and then pulled his pack of Viceroy cigarettes from out of his rolled up shirt sleeve (he always kept his cigarette packs in his left sleeve rolled up) and took out a cigarette and lit one up in front of me. He still didn't say anything at this point and what seemed like forever he finally broke the silence and said spoke after the first long drag on his cigarette. He looks at me and tells me, "Mike Schmidt is a better ballplayer than Mookie will ever be and that I should be a Phillies fan and try to support the local fans and not the fan folks that live in another state. If that's who you're going to pick (he does a long drag on the cigarette at this point-(they say kids never notice what their parents do-hogwash!) then you have to realize that people will pick on you for that so just remember to ignore them the same way that I ignore who your mom likes.....those damn Yankees (he says in a yelling voice loud enough for mom to hear)." My Father took a long drag again and then just gave me that crazy eyed stare again and picked up the newspaper and resumed reading it. As I started to walk away into the dinning room on the way to the kitchen I heard him say to me from behind the newspaper, "You know the Mets are not that good of a ball team son!" I simply replied as I was walking into the kitchen, "Love you Dad!" Needless to say his so called "advice" that he was giving to me was advice that I didn't quite care about or understand all that much but it seemed to have made him bothered and for that last very strange reason I liked it. I knew my Father didn't like who I picked and thus began the latter stage of a child's life that every parent dreads..........the rebellious years (que star wars music)!
The funny thing is that's the only time that I can recall my Father ever saying anything at all to me about my selection of sports teams. Perhaps at that time maybe I had broken the old man's heart and crushed the hopes and dreams he may have had of me being a Phillies fan like him and that I was robbing him of that tradition of passing down the father's "like of teams" to the son so to speak. I often wondered if Dad ever knew that even though I was liking the Mets, I was silently rooting along with him for the Phillies the very few times we would sit together and watch the Phillies play on tv. I remember the last game we had watched together was shortly before my parents divorce on my tenth birthday and during the game Mike Schmidt had just crushed a home-run ball into the upper deck of veterans stadium and I turned toward Dad and all I said to him was, "I bet Mike Schmidt is probably the best 3rd base baseball player in baseball." He looked at me with that infamous "far off stare" for about five to ten seconds and then he just simply smiled. He didn't question me or make any movements. He didn't say anything else during the game we were watching together. He was just sitting there on his chair, smiling.
My Father has never said anything else ever about my selection of my favorite sports teams in the last 32 years since that day I expressed to him who I liked in terms of a baseball team. Of course he's never really discussed it with me since then and I have never really asked him about it. My Father and I have never really spoken all that much after the divorce. Oh we've talked a time or two every 10 years and I've always left the door open in hopes of a reconciliation. It's a relationship that is broken and to this very day is still unfortunately broken. Perhaps though one day my Father and I can make it to a Phillies/Mets ball game and just simply enjoy a seventh inning stretch together. And it doesn't really matter who wins or who loses but know this.......my heart bleeds blue for the Mets, but silently I would be rooting for the Phillies.
ON DECK: How I became a Blue Jays fan