Terrific, albeit too short, article in the NY Times Sunday about the ’62 Mets, undoubtedly the worst team in history.
What really strikes me is how accepted the team was despite losing 120 games, embraced by a city starved for a National League team after the Dodgers and Giants split for the West Coast (where the Dodgers thrived and it took the Giants 52 years to win a World Series).
Mistakes, errors, personal peccadilloes, outright insanity (Casey Stengel, arguing with the umpire after Marvelous Marv Throneberry was called out at third on a triple for not touching second, being told by the umpire, “forget it, Casey, he missed first, too”), fans went along for the ride and were eventually rewarded by the still miraculous ’69 team that had no business being on the same field as the Orioles, never mind beating them.
I have recently weaned myself away from WEEI in Boston, actually it’s been cold turkey for a week and a half now. The Patriots have put together an eleven year run that is by all measures historic and by the free agent/NFL quest for parity standards of the last 20 years or so simply unreal and may very well never be matched . . . the Red Sox broke 82 years of cursed (in every sense of the word) ineptitude, then did it again . . . the Celtics won a title, just missed a second, and became relevant again after years of dormancy . . the Bruins finally won the cup last year . . .
. . . .and the Boston media is all angst, all the time. No enjoyment, just the despair of the day (i.e., Beckett isn’t accepting blame for September; the Celtics should be broken up at the trade deadline to rebuild; Tim Thomas’ political views are killing the Bruins; Maybe Hoyer should take over for Brady(WTF?).
I have said it before, and I’ll say it a million more times in the years to come, but the utter lack of historical perspective permeates our culture in every way – from politics (would Reagan even recognize himself if he heard half the things said about him by Republicans these days?) to Iran, to sports (JD Drew is gone, WEEI blasted him for 5 years without once referring to Buzz Bissinger’s Three Nights in August)
I remember the (empty) dump that was Sullivan Stadium, and I remember buying tickets to the Red Sox in the early eighties and sitting wherever I wanted – hell, in 1990 I bought tickets for a Yankee-Red Sox game at Fenway from a scalper – at less than face value. Those days have been long forgotten by fans and commentators who can not understand that teams lose occasionally – even when they play well – because that’s the law of averages.
I have made the conscious decision to simply watch the games from here out, I do not need to listen to any more mindless rhetoric from people who can not get beyond the day’s sports page as a reference point. Instead, I’m going to continue to listen to Dan Patrick and I’m going to track down those guys in Sharon who spice up their sports show with . . . well, everything.
Time to put joy back into the sports equation.