This Guest Blog was written by Kevin Strauss. You can follow him on Twitter.
Let it be known right off the bat that my roots are in New Jersey. I was born there, but my immediate family relocated to Los Angeles when I was just a baby. Family legend holds that I am named after Kevin McReynolds, whose grand slam in the 7th inning the night before (August 30, 1989) finished off a 3 game sweep of the Dodgers on the road only hours before I was born. The Mets are in my blood.
With that being said, maybe it was destiny that we moved out here to LA. Either way, as far back as I can trace, my family has been full of die-hard Mets fans. Growing up in Los Angeles, a city that bleeds blue when the Dodgers win and makes other people bleed when they lose, is tough for any fan that doesn’t “Think Blue.”
So, you might ask, just how hard is it to follow the Mets every season? Well, let’s start off with physically watching games. For us college students, it’s tough to shell out hundreds of dollars for MLB Extra Innings or MLB.TV. On the west coast, we rarely catch a Mets game, especially since TBS and WGN don’t carry Braves and Cubs games anymore.
Along with the price barrier, we have to deal with time. 7pm would be great to watch a game if that didn’t mean 4pm for me. Working until 5 and in LA traffic until 6:30 leaves little time to open up Gametracker to catch the end when I get home. Weekend games start at 10am out here, and the local FOX station only carries baseball at 1pm. Needless to say, it’s rough.
Basically, I’ve taken to buying the MLB At-Bat app for my iPod and watch the condensed game the next morning for most of the year. Your sympathy is greatly appreciated.
It is a family vacation when the Mets make a west coast trip, and we save up time and money to sit in Dodger Stadium for 3 straight nights (gross). This June, I made my first trip down to Petco Park (beautiful) to see Johan throw a gem only to have K-Rod blow the save and Adrian Gonzalez hit a walk-off grand slam. What else is new?
Through it all, the Mets have taught me about life. Sometimes the Benny Agbayani’s and Timo Perez’s can succeed (I should point out that the 2000 Mets are the ONLY reason I have “Who Let the Dogs Out” on my iPod). Guys like Mike Piazza can lift an entire country up with his bat after tragedy strikes. Guys like Endy Chavez can climb fences to make us believe and the Aaron Heilman’s can tear us down from the moment they take the mound.
In the end, it is the moments of agony, hope and excitement that bring us together as Mets fans and give us the emotional range and strength we need to survive in the “real world.” So, for that reason alone I will do whatever it takes to be there for the Mets, despite the difficulties I face being here in California. I wouldn’t trade this rollercoaster ride for anything…except maybe a bat and an arm at the trading deadline.