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Cross-posted: My (slightly dysfunctional) summer family - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
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captainsblog
Cross-posted: My (slightly dysfunctional) summer family
Three seasons of sport essentially ended today. As for two of them, the less said, the better.

The Bills lost. While they are only a quarter done with their season, the past two weeks have produced ugliness that portends yet another quiet January in our local lives, and probably yet another rebuilding campaign beginning in 2015.

Derek Jeter played his final game today, on the road in Boston. His final days in the Bronx were so over-the-top, I envisioned the Yankees providing him with a chariot of fire and horses of fire that would take him to heaven in a whirlwind and then return him for the final three at Fenway.  He was a good guy, but I'm just happy we won't get a third straight year of overpriced adulation from Team Steinbrenner next year.

Which brings us to the final finale- the meaningless Mets win today, which ends an eighth straight year with them going (in this case, staying) home at the end of the regular season with no Games That Count for more than half a calendar. The past six of those seasons- all of them under their new Citi Field umbrella- have been sub-.500 years, although this time they came their closest and wound up tied for second in their division, way behind even the one-and-done wildcard contenders.  I will not bore you with the reasons for their demise or the made-up (or Madoff, depending on who you believe) reasons for their lack of any real hope of improvement next year.

Rather, I want to talk about the group of fans, the group of friends, who make it all worthwhile to keep this team on my radar, and favorites list, and once-annual pilgrimage list, despite all of that.

"My Summer Family" is what a blogger friend Taryn called them, back when her rels had real and regular Shea Stadium season ticket seats.  These posts came as the demise was already under way, and ended not long after the move to pricier quarters next door broke up the assemblage.  But the term still holds, for me at least, even from this distance.

To put it in perspective: the Bills have already played two home games 15 miles from my home. I know dozens of people, in real life and/or online, who attended, or could easily have attended, those contests. Not a one of them ever asked me if I was going, or wanted to go. For the product, or the pre-game experience? Erm, no- both involve substantial risks of regurgitation.  But for the camaraderie, the shared experience? Yeah, I'd risk the loss of voice (if not the loss of cookies, as I would not drink during tailgating) to be with people I care about.

On the other hand? In the week prior to today's final Mets game, 400 miles from my doorstep, no fewer than four fellow fans specifically sought me out and asked if I'd be there.  (I held out remote hope through as recently as yesterday morning, but the funds to justify it did not arrive, and thus neither did I.) We'd have been holding down separate sections- from bleacherish to beaucoup-buck- but we'd all meet during the game, usually on the Shea Bridge connecting the first-and-third-base sides of the stadium, and reminisce about the better times behind and ones we hope will lie ahead despite the prognostications.

We're professionals and creative types, moms and dads of everything from college graduates to cats to stuffed bears. We all detest our team's owners, tolerate its frustrated managers of general and field, and live and die with the ragtag band of, mostly, the Very Very Old (one of whom won the final game today) and the Very Very Young.  We are blessed with the two best play-by-play men in the business not named Vin Scully and marvel at how they can make even the most pedestrian of this team's losses seem far more magical than they really are. We manage to have a good time confined to the Emperor's Club sections of the ballpark, yet somehow do just as well if not better when staring in from the cheap seats.  We mock the opposing teams and fans but do not hurt them.

I went an entire season without posting a single entry on my Met-oriented blog, despite following the outcomes of all of them, watching more than a few of them, and attending one of them not quite two months ago. As with the game itself, there's a rhythm you have to get into, and the injuries to so many players during the year, the absence of farmhands from Western New York, and the general stupidity of ownership all contributed to that silence.  Yet through all of it, the connections to those who make up that Family have meant as much to me as ever, if not more as we go through these times together. To our blogger contingent- Greg and Jason, Taryn and Ed, Jason and John, Susan and Andrew (I'd better stop before I name all twelve disciples;), I thank you whether you've made me smile every morning or just once or twice. To the fellow sufferers from East Meadow- another Susan, a returning Bill, and of course Dennis- I thank you for being there. And to those who maybe just posted a photo of a moment where you declared your love for this disease I cannot cure myself of- thank you for trying us.  We have cookies:)

Next year, the Mets open on the road, and the promise of a new season will not return to Flushing until April 13. We're hoping it will be a Harvey Day- something unseen in 2014 but full of a prospect of hope that was also rarely seen this year.  Yet we still laughed, and yelled, and tweeted, and threw out first pitches and called out "play ball!"- and when any one of us did it, we all did.

For we are Met fans. And we're stupid that way.
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