My parents' faith was shaken when the Dodgers abandoned them, and there was no special joy from April through October, no anticipation of the day pitchers and catchers reported to spring training like their own personal Omer count, and no more rallying cries of "Wait Until Next Year" to get them through the winter.
Their faith was reawakened when the Mets were set forth before them as a beacon of a happier life on earth and everlasting joy. No amount of losses could shake their fervent embrace of their new religious leaders. They were born-again.
These are the people who raised me, and I carry their religious fervor long after their deaths. I admit to flirtatious affairs with hockey, football, and basketball, but my heart remains pure and light whenever there is a Mets' baseball game to behold. Except for my family, baseball satisfies my soul like nothing else. I know that as long as I adhere to the principles of good pitching beats good hitting and a double play is a pitcher's best friend, I will never stray from the path of goodness. The sports pages are my gospel, and Howie Rose and Gary Cohen are my preachers. I do not wear a religious symbol around my neck, but I do proudly wear my "VAMOS METS" T-shirt when I make my pilgramages to Shea Stadium.
Yesterday, while making the trip to worship on the holiday known as "playoffs", the radio sent forth a message that shook my belief in the religion that sustained me for all my days on Earth. Ball players are not invincible, said the newscaster. Ballplayers are men, and their immersion in baseball does not guarantee them long passage on life's roadway to happiness ever after. As I mourned the loss of life, I realized: baseball does not offer me anything more than entertainment. And yesterday, as I and thousands of fans at Shea turned around in the mud and left behind the formerly glistening gates of the stadium, I finally learned that I had worshiped nothing more than a game.