Don't worry, though. The other three will keep me plenty busy- but not as happily busy as the chance presented by this moment, to comment on the memoir I now don't have to write- for it has essentially been written. If any libraries still exist with the old-style card-catalog cards, you'd look up "Metphistopheles " and there, along with ones like "Twain, Mark" (no pseudonyms allowed), would be a single reference card:
Lest anyone ask the immortal New Yorker factchecker question "Who he?":
(Yes, I'm heavy on graphics this time. At least there are no YouTubes for once.)
Greg came into this world three years and a month behind me, and since that month was December (the traditional kindergarten kutoff in at least this state), he wound up four grades and several Hempstead hamlets away from my own upbringing. Yet by 1969 he'd halved that distance, as he began his Met quest a mere two years after I did, in 1969.
Good timing there, pal.
There's probably no surprise in his recollections of the team itself, and of its forever yet former home, matching mine with near perfection. We did see the same games, after all- he, far more than I did, and infinitely more in person. Yet the extent to which we remembered Same Exact Moments, at least one underscored by the Same Exact Soundtrack of Bob Murphy (page 142 in the hardcover edition, if you're scoring at home), and at least one at the end underscored by the same outpourings of emotion and even Guys Don't Cry But For This They Do Tears (id. at 284 et seq, as they say at my dayjob). He also covers whole slabs of decades that I outright missed, my personal religion allowing for not one but two periods of apostasy. My first, caused by depression and genuine indifference, lasted most of the late 70s and into either 1980 or 1984 depending on your definition of fan. The second, running through the Worst Team days, was more a function of the further distance put between me and the Mets when we moved here, and of initially our (and in more recent pre-SNY days, their) lack of cable. If Greg holds these faults against me, he's never said.
All of that, though, you'd more-or-less expect to read about, and I did, with as much pleasure for the moments I remembered as for the ones I didn't. No, the true beauty of this book, for me anyway, is how it puts that shared fandom in a life context that was and is, in so many respects, my own.
Greg brought me to near tears as he wove in the gaining of his mother as a Met fan, and then his sad eventual loss of her to cancer. She finally succumbed on the cusp of her 60th birthday, a shadow of her former self. This was February of 1990.
I've written here before about my loss of my sister, sad and eventual as well, to a cancerish disease of her own essential choosing. She finally succumbed on the cusp of her 50th birthday, also a shadow of her former self. That was October of 1988.
Both of our loves and losses were, and are, named Sandy.
And both of our Sandys (I think that, not this, is the proper plural) figured in faux-passed balls of attempts to recognize the importance of baseball in each of their younger relatives' formative years. Both involved tschochkes from the Enemy Nation. Greg's is on page 77 of the hardcover. Mine is in entry 24355 of the non-hardcover.
Both of us wound up in academic trouble over our Met-nificent obsessions- he with his Sandy, me with Velma (or was it Thelma?)- my fifth grade teacher who made the Mets part of my Permanent Record card, reported here on 6/6/06 of all days:
(I did better the next year. They didn't.)
It gets better, though.
As Greg was meeting the woman he knew, and knows, as the love of his life in 1987, I was preparing to marry the one I knew, and know, who I met in 1986.
(Greg's book, passim; likewise, my journals and life.)
The 90s brought us both the chance to catch the early wavs and welcome screens of the Internet. He used AOL as a direct gateway into a community of fellow Met fans, one in particular named Jason, which led directly to their now-famed blog and now to Greg's even-famier book. I took a more roundabout road, finding a home with lovers of all kinds of trivia, but just as inevitably wound up on a road toward writing and, eventually, journaling where my journey, eventually, crossed paths with Greg's and Jason's. Three roads. Tri via. Get it?
There are the cats- feral and otherwise. There are the hideous travel experiences with the 'rents. There's at least one embarrassing picture of the kind my remaining sister keeps an entire safe deposit box full of just in case she needs to blackmail me.
The best part, though? That's just me. I fully expect that if you spend several fast and fascinating hours with this tale of a life well lived in orange and blue, you will find your own points of parallel and be smiling, nodding, and occasionally even crying at these, or other, moments in your life that these words bring out and bring back.
Seeing my name on page 304 meant so much more- and yet seemed so less significant- when I got there reading from left to right. As it will for you whether you're there or not.