Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Andiamo, Mets

So there's going to be a game 7 tomorrow night. I've loved the Mets since I was in New York. Since I was in high school, I've followed the White Sox. But when I lived in Brooklyn, you could take the F train from my Italian immigrant neighborhood to Shea Stadium, buy a ticket for 5$ and watch the Mets lose. It's a tricky situation now, where loyalty is with the Mets and if my friends in Jefferson City knew this I might be out of a job.

I'm not surrounded by sports fanatics of any type in southeast Missouri. You don't see Cardinals bumper stickers or even the honorary Dale Earnhardt "in memoriam" stickers on truck windows. High school football isn't a religion like it is in the south and I really don't know what the basketball season means down here. I'll be watching the "young, inexperienced" Blazers over internet satellite all winter.

The Showmakers visited me yesterday from Charleston. They come by about once a month when they make their "visiting" rounds to all the elderly folks on the road. They bring brainteaser toys that Mr. Showmaker makes in his wood shop or even little math puzzles, exercises in vector diagrams, to keep the old folks' brains busy. They remind me of my grandparents, always wearing their Sunday best to do their visiting. Mr. Showmaker wears these grand old ties in double Windsor knots and jingles change and keys in his pocket. Yesterday he wore a brand new Cardinals t-shirt that his son gave to him on top of his dress shirt. This was the first time I have seen any loyalty to a sports team since I have been down here, and Mr. Showmaker looked as uncomfortable as Al Gore in St. Louis in his starched t-shirt. Missouri voters rejected the proposal years ago that would require taxpayers to pay for the new Busch Stadium. To pay for the genuinely lovely new stadium, tickets to Cardinals games were really expensive during the season. Add to it the public desire to see a game in the new stadium and a good team, tickets to regular season home games were selling on EBay for $1,000, if they were available at all. My Brooklyn neighbors, most of whom came from Sicily after World War II, wrote letters to the Mets organization when they raised the cheap seats from $5 to $7.

Tomorrow night will be a big night in Queens. Even this week's New Yorker has a very 1930s illustration of a Mets player on the cover, while for the past few years they've featured the celebrated Yankees. Unlike my neighbors down here, I have a vague loyalty to the home state Cardinals, but for the sake of my neighbors in Brooklyn, I really hope the Mets win tomorrow night.

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