Sunday, December 18, 2005

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Trip To 1979

I was drawn to it by the Billy Joel verse, the same one used by yours truly in a far away blog. So of course, I had to see where the Piano Man was taking me to this time.

What followed was a trip back to my youth.

Folks, for those of you that are into torturous memories, you will not find a better dramatization of the Mets 1979 season as you will here and here, a two part circle of hell which is part Greg Prince, part Wes Craven.

Of course, 1979 holds a special place in my heart because it was the first full season that I followed baseball. I went to my first Mets game in 1976 and saw Tom Seaver. For some cosmic reason, I didn't follow baseball in 1977 and 1978 (go figure). But 1979 I was into it full bore. The cynic in me took many years to incubate, as I remember '79 for the end of the season sweep of the Cardinals to finish the season at 99 losses and not 100. When everyone in your class is wearing Yankee batting helmets and celebrating two titles (again, titles I never saw and don't remember), even small goals are satisfying.

The part of the dramatization that hit me was in regard to Pete Falcone:

"Ya'd think dis'd be good f'me, y'know? When dey brought me here, I was 0-9 against 'em. 0-9! I'm the one guy dey could beat and dey brought me here. Now I don't beat nobody. Maybe it's God's will."
Do you have any idea what the Mets' record was in games that I attended in 1979?

0-9.

I've worn the numbers like a badge ever since. The Scarlet Numbers.

Oh and freakin' nine.

Go figyah!

Any way, you know what the point is...the point is to go read "Faith and Fear in Flushing" right now...and find your moment of Zen.

2 comments:

G-Fafif said...

Holy Fudge, Metstra! I had zero recollection that you used "Blonde Over Blue" yourself. I think it was right before I charged full-bore into your prophecies (which was right around the time I decided that it was OK that there were "other" compelling Met blogs). Unlike Dave Murray, I have not invested in an iPod -- and, for that matter, can't stand most Christmas music -- so I still groove to compilation tapes I made long and embarrassingly not so long ago. Thus, I heard "Blonde Over Blue" on a cassette I prepared in 1998 like two weeks ago and it was stuck in my head when the Hell is for Hebner assignment turned up.

What's that they say about Great Minds? Oh yeah, they root for crappo baseball teams.

Look at that yearbook cover. I remember thinking, "man, could they get any more nondescript than this?" They could've taken a picture of some dirt and it would have had the same effect.

My 1979 record was 1-3. The 1 was pretty sweet, actually. We beat the Cubs even while Dave Kingman hit three homers for the visitors. Mazzilli and Stearns each went deep while the berated Frankie Taveras swiped three bags ("swiped three bags" so much cooler to say than "stole three bases"). I went home thinking something along the lines of "YEAH!" What a waste of enthusiasm.

One fan's personal and chronological list of ABSOLUTE worst Met seasons ever experienced:

1977
1979
1982
1987
1992
1993
1996
2002
2003

Do you want to know how easy I am? I'm so easy that if you give me a little something on which to hang my hat, I'll mark that down as an OK season. Take 2004...please. We swept the Skanks, we had that stretch of winning games started by real good opposing pitchers, we were one game out in July when we had no business being, we won one of the most exciting games that nobody remembers (August 21 in SF, 11-9 in extras when Wright emerged as Lordly and Bonds spanked us but didn't hit one out and Howe, bless his morbid soul, pitched to him every time), we had a bunch of high notes that I never saw coming. That we went from a respectable 59-62 to a miserable 71-91 in a blink (including 1-16 right after that SF game) is somehow secondary to me.

Obviously the Mettle-like elephant on the list is 1987, which generated 92 wins and felt like Excedrin Headache No. 9 all year. What a waste of 92 wins.

I suppose it all comes down to 1979 vs 1993. I'm going to have to think about it before casting my vote. This is what Mets fans do on December 18.

Anonymous said...

Hey Metsradamus....

I think that 1993, 2003 and 2004 were the worst years ever because they all felt like one long season.....

Mario

P.S. Does the hate list have any room for your beloved New York Jets? They are horrible....