Keep Fit: The New York Mets – Ya Gotta Believe

Kelly and Sean Laffey outside Game 3 of the World Series
Kelly and Sean Laffey outside Game 3 of the World Series

The best part about being a Mets fan is the number of people who text you “Congratulations!” when the team is doing well. It feels like I’m in the lineup, and that supporting them throughout my 27 years has played a significant role in how they do.

People whose contact information had long since been lost due to phone upgrades came out of the woodwork. My best friend’s ex-boyfriend was one of my biggest confidants during the series. (It’s okay. I didn’t betray any rules of female friendships. She’s married now and he’s engaged.) I hadn’t talked to him in years, but the Mets have a way of bringing people together.

Each World Series game started at 8:07 p.m. I watched the first two games with my dad, sitting in the same chair in the same position as I did when the team swept the Cubs in the National League Championship Series. This is how you play baseball at home. The team knows and cares whether you watch from the left couch cushion or the right couch cushion. And for those two-plus hours, the world stopped. I’ve long since learned that not everyone pays attention to every pitch, every play. But it’s comforting and also exhilarating to know that I have an army of people who do at my fingertips, people who understand why I would just send a series of question marks and exclamation points.

The worst part about being a Mets fan is that it feels like I’m a part of the team, and I take this week’s World Series loss personally.

The late Yogi Berra famously said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” The quote directly applies to the New York Mets. The Mets don’t play baseball like a “regular” team. They don’t hit the ball and score runs and get the win. There’s an element of magic in every game they play. And this past weekend, their magic ran out.

But, for one glorious day, it was in full force. And I was there to witness it.

My brother and I bought World Series tickets for Friday’s game. I wavered back and fourth about getting them but ultimately decided that it would be the experience of a lifetime, and that couldn’t have been closer to the truth.

The Mets in Game 3 of the 2015 World Series
The Mets in Game 3 of the 2015 World Series, Photo: Kelly Laffey

The afternoon started on the Hampton Jitney, when I spent the first few minutes changing out the laces in my white Converses to be blue on the left shoe, orange on the right. Upon disembarking at 42nd Street, the guy in front of me told me that I had inspired him to buy tickets. He saw my Mets shirt and spent the trip into the city changing his plans to attend the evening’s game.

We took the 7 Train from Grand Central to the grand entrance of the Mets–Willets Point Station, arriving at the stadium with throngs of fans dressed in orange and blue, minutes after the gates to the parking lot opened.

Truly, the best part of the evening was walking into the stadium. Because that’s when it hit me: I was about to enter the first World Series game ever played at Citi Field. I was about to witness my all-time favorite team play on baseball’s biggest stage. The trip was a generation in the making.

My brother and I made friends with the people who shared our standing-room-only section. Mets fans are good people, and a group of five of us alternated between enjoying three front-row seats and saving spots when someone had to run to the bathroom or grab a hot dog.

The game started with Billy Joel’s rousing rendition of the National Anthem. He hit the high notes, but the Mets hit them higher. Two home runs. Thousands of people dressed like Thor, the Norse god who bears a striking resemblance to Noah Syndergaard, the Mets starting pitcher that night. The stadium was electric. My rally towel was waving the entire time.

We didn’t win the series, but they reminded me why, come 2016, I’ll still believe.

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Kelly and Sean Laffey take a Mets World Series selfie
Kelly and Sean Laffey take a Mets World Series selfie, Photo: Kelly Laffey

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