Monday, July 29, 2013

Clothes Make The Game

At around 4pm on Friday afternoon, the optimism in Metville was overflowing. After a solid homestand, the Mets went into Washington and smoked the reeling Nationals 11-0, behind a shocking 7 shutout innings from Jenrry Mejia, 5 RBIs from Daniel Murphy and a 3-run Home Run from Ike Davis. This win put the Mets at 46-53, a mere 7 games under .500 and a far cry from the 15 or so games under that they were about a month or so ago. They were also mere percentage points away from leaping over the Nationals and into 3rd place in the division, something few thought possible. And, given the way they were playing, and the general listlessness that their division rivals had shown of late, maybe, just maybe, a second half run towards contention was possible. And to top it all off, they had Matt Harvey pitching the nightcap of the doubleheader, primed to step on the Nationals' throats.

Then, the Mets stopped hitting, Ryan Zimmerman hit a walk-off Home Run to win the nightcap, and the rest of the weekend went down the toilet from there. The Mets managed all of 3 runs in the remaining 3 games of the series and the optimism of Friday was pretty much gone by late Sunday afternoon.

While I was on vacation in Montreal, I'd purchased a Montreal Expos T-Shirt. I'm generally not in the business of supporting teams in other cities, but being that I was in Montreal and the Montreal Expos don't exist anymore, I thought I should get something Expos-related. Also, I think that the Mets and Expos had a good rivalry over their 36 years of existence, and, in general, the franchise got screwed over by a large number of people, not just Bud Selig and Jeffrey Loria. Montreal is a great city and they deserve a MLB team. They have the fan base. They just had a facility that was probably among the worst places conceivable to play Baseball in.

Preachiness aside, I hadn't yet worn this Expos shirt, and on Friday, I was about to snip off the tags and put it on, until I thought to myself, "Hey, should I really be doing this today? The Mets are about to play a doubleheader with the Nationals, and the Nationals used to be the Expos. Isn't that some sort of bad karma?" I put the shirt back in the drawer, saving its maiden voyage for another day. But I wondered if this really was the right thing to do. I posed this on Facebook and several people responded with a variety of comments, which bordered from insightful to completely irrelevant. Perhaps the most useful comment suggested that I should have worn the shirt, because it meant that I was supporting the Expos, and showing appreciation for their rivalry with the Mets. The Nationals, in spite of retaining the Expos team records and statistics, have made little to no effort to acknowledge their years in Montreal. They have even gone so far as to "unretire" the Expos retired numbers, #10 in honor of both Rusty Staub and Andre Dawson, and, of course, Gary Carter's #8. None of the Expos players have any particular attachment to Washington the way they did for Montreal. In the meantime, Montreal continues to honor the Expos by having their retired numbers hang from the rafters in the Centré Bell, where the Montreal Canadiens play, and recently, they named a street for Gary Carter (that said, it is surprisingly difficult to find any sort of Expos-related paraphernalia, and in the gift shop at Olympic Stadium, there is nothing to be found).

Ultimately, I probably should have worn the shirt on Friday. Though I felt pretty smart late in the day on Friday, I now think that by chickening out, I may have actually put a reverse jinx on the Mets by not showing my disdain and disrespect for the Nationals by acknowledging only their past, and not just their past, the past that they, themselves, do not seem to want to acknowledge. Washington comes to Citi Field in early September, and I have tickets to one of those games. You best believe I will be wearing this Expos shirt at Citi Field on that evening.

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