Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wait, They Were Still Technically In The Race?

I know what you're thinking. I was shocked, too. Yesterday afternoon I received what would otherwise have been the potentially devastating news that the 2011 New York Mets were officially eliminated from playoff contention.

It's ok. We know it hurts. Let it out.

Ok, I'm good. And actually, like most of the human race, I had no idea that the Mets technically could still have made the playoffs. Of course, we have to use the term "technically" pretty prominently here, considering making the postseason would have required the Mets to run the table for the rest of September, and for the Braves and about five other teams to lose out, which -- and I'm not doctor -- probably isn't going to happen. Just a guess.

And so we write the final chapter of a year that started with so much promise and so many possibilities. So much promise, in fact, that at the time of its beginning I actually forgot pitchers and catchers had reported that week. Yes, it was an ambivalent six months or so in Flushing this season, and right on cue the Mets celebrated their early offseason with their fifth-straight loss, a 2-0 whuppin' from the world beaters that are the Washington Nationals, and the news that the best person the pitching staff, for obvious reasons now that any chance of a playoff berth has been snuffed out, will go the entire year without stepping on the mound at Citi Field.

This is all a pretty tragic development considering there was so much uplift Tuesday when the Mets hosted Star Wars night at Citi Field, a tremendous display of cancer-fighting nerdery. That the good vibes coming from wookies and storm troopers traipsing around the stadium should be sullied by the Amazins' tremendous ineptitude is a shame for everyone who lovingly wears the blue and orange. On the plus side, we can get cheered up slightly by the fact that Dr. Sean McNamara was walking around the field for some reason before the game. I imagine he was there to help the Mets players change their appearances in case they were too embarrassed to be seen with the uniform on.

But even in this torrent of the Mets letting down their fans, Dr. McNamara and George Lucas in one week is the optimism that comes with a new season, and almost like clock in hopes of distracting dismayed Mets fans from the fact that one season had just ended, Major League Baseball released its preliminary 2012 schedule yesterday morning in a flurry of team-specific e-mails which, as someone who has bought tickets from multiple teams I got about six of them. Of course I was only interested in one of them, and if there's one great way to stop thinking about the 2011 season, the first on in years in which I didn't see the Mets somewhere on the road, it's figuring out how to get back on the horse and see what city I want to follow them to in 2012.

So, people, where am I going?

As we found last year, the plans don't always come through. This season's schedule included a trip to Texas that I was rather keen on attending, but that, alas, did not come to pass. Apparently it's difficult to convince someone to sit outside for three hours in Texas in June. I can't imagine why.

This season has far fewer moments of intrigue for me on the Mets road schedule, namely it does not include the rather convenient double of Arizona to San Diego, which I was tentatively planning on for this season, nor does it include trips to Pittsburgh or Colorado at convenient times. One of just two out of town series against the AL is in Tampa Bay, a place I've already attended a game in and am in no way inclined to make a return trip just yet.

But there is one semi-jewel on the slate in the form of a mid-May weekend jaunt to Toronto where the Mets will face off with the Blue Jays in a rare visit to the Rogers Centre (nee Skydome). I have decided that in no uncertain terms this will be the road series for the Mets that I work feverishly to attend, and there are plethora of reasons as to why it's an ideal spot.

For one, I have never actually been to Toronto. And I hear it's one hell of a place. For another, it's in mid-May when the weather should be gorgeous, even in Canada. In addition to all of that, Toronto, in case you hadn't heard, is home to the Hockey Hall of Fame, which I've always wanted to go to. So for all those reasons and more, including a need to continuing progressing this silly journey of mine, I've staked out Toronto as the place I plan on making a baseball trip to in 2012.

But it is important to note that 2011 is not yet over. In fact, really, 2011 is just getting started. There are several trips remaining to be made, including a big one this weekend that I'll get into tomorrow, but it is really November when the fun starts. Not everything is set in stone yet, but the end of the season is expected to take me to New England for the Giants and Patriots on Nov. 6 before I head out to San Francisco the next weekend to see the Sharks and 49ers. In addition to that I'm still toying with trips to either New Orleans or to Denver that could leave me with as many as six pro teams not yet knocked off the list and yet to be seen this calendar year.

And to make things even more exciting, my tickets to the Sharks-Coyotes game at HP Pavilion on November 12 arrived this week, with pretty sweet stubs featuring the immortal Ryane Clowe. If you know your hockey, he's actually pretty good.

So now I begin the process of counting down the days until I hit the road again for another exciting round of sports ventures. The fun, and the exhaustive planning, never really stops.

Unless it involves the Mets. In that case it pretty much stops about this time every year.

No comments:

Post a Comment