200 Miles From the Citi

October 10, 2010 12:32 AM

Fairy Tale Season


Sunday Paper (Year 2, Volume XLI)

Sometimes when I put my daughter to bed, she likes to hear stories about when I was a boy.

So I indulge her.

Sometimes I'll tell a story about me and my brother and sister, since her aunt and uncle rate pretty highly with her.  Sometimes I'll mix in her grandma and grandpa.

Sometimes the story involves the Mets.

The other night, the story was about the 1986 Mets.

"Do you know what happens," I asked, "when fall starts?"

She shook her head.

"The leaves fall.  The weather turns colder.  It's your birthday.  And it's time for the baseball playoffs.  Do you want to hear a story about the last time the Mets won the playoffs?"

She nodded her head.

"Do you know who was on the last Mets team that won the playoffs?" I asked.

She shook her head.  "Ga....r....." I prodded.  "Gary Carter!" she said.

"Right," I said.  "And on his team were Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Bob Ojeda, Sid Fernandez, Roger McDowell, Jesse Orosco, Rick Aguilera, Ray Knight, Keith Hernandez, Rafael Santana, Wally Backman, Lenny Dykstra, Mookie Wilson, and Darryl Strawberry."

She giggled.

"Yeah, that's kind of a funny name, huh?  But that was his name.  Strawberry.  Well, it was 25 years ago when the Mets won the playoffs.  Me, Aunt Maire, Uncle Matt, Grandma and Grandpa all were so happy that day."  (This might have been a lie.  I don't particularly remember anyone but me and my dad caring all that much.)

"The Mets haven't been back in the playoffs much since.  The last time they played in the playoffs you were a tiny baby and we watched the games together."

"Did I like watching them?" she asked.

"You did.  We had fun together," I told her.

I waited for the breathing to steady and my daughter to fall asleep.  And in that quiet time I thought about the playoffs that were getting underway...and how the winner of the 2010 playoffs would once again not be the Mets.

Then I watched "Four Days In October", that '30 For 30' documentary on the 2004 Red Sox.  That was a special team.  Another team will create special memories this year.  Mine are 25 years old.  I'm about ready for a new special team.  

In the meantime, I suspect I'll be spending some time watching the 1986 World Series DVD in the coming weeks.

*I know you're dying to know what's OK to root for and what's not as far as new World Series matchups.  Here's the breakdown, we'll go from the AL perspective:
-The Yankees are a waste.  They need to be upset - no NL team is a new matchup for them.
-The Rangers would be ideal - they've never been to the World Series.
-The Rays have only played the Phillies - nothing bothers me more than when a rare team appears in a championship only to play the same team in a repeat matchup.  (See: Bengals - two Super Bowl appearances, both against the 49ers.)
-The Twins are also a good bet - as long as they don't play the Braves, who they famously matched up with in 1991.  (And, as I publish this, they are officially eliminated, so never mind.)

*I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it, but when I do, I don't like the fact that TBS has all of the first round games exclusively.

*Last week I was all a-giggle about the fact that the Jets were probably getting healthy Calvin Pace and possibly Darrelle Revis back for the Monday night game against the Vikings.  I totally forgot that it was also the game in which Santonio Holmes would return from suspension.  All the more reason to be excited for the game.

*It really would have been awesome if Santonio Holmes came back in a Sunday game - #10 returns on 10/10/10!  Too bad.

*Really, NFL, you could have helped me out and put the Jets on Sunday night when I have the 3-day weekend.  Now all the rest I'll make up over the weekend will go down the drain when I stay up late Monday night to watch the Jets.

*The NFL and DirecTV are running a promotion through the end of the calendar year for the Ultimate Displaced Fan.  Grand prize is a trip to the Super Bowl.  You're supposed to write an essay about why you are a fan who lives away from his or her favorite NFL team's hometown and goes to great lengths to evidence commitment and dedication to that team.  I don't know that I ever considered writing such a thing.  (Haha...that's sarcasm.)  I'm thinking I should enter, but I'm not sure I want one of the runner-up prizes, which includes Sunday Ticket - do I want to go through the hassle of hooking up DirecTV again and pulling my hair out with the Sunday Ticket each week?  As convenient as it is to watch the Jets at home...I was not a good Sunday Ticket watcher - too much changing channels and distraction.

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