Sunday, September 13, 2015

Ya Gotta Believe in DC

I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that there was some significance to heading down to DC for the 3rd game of the Mets "Labor Day" series with the Nationals, but when I bought the game tickets I definitely wasn't thinking about it. It didn't really hit me until I stepped out of the car in the parking lot and realized I was parked in the very spot where Joe and I had parked with Domani 4 years ago.

Domani with Joe at the Mets v. Nationals game on 9/4/2011
Maybe my memory is off by a spot or two but it was close enough that it made me stop in my tracks and catch myself against the car. It had been Domani's first Mets game, also one of the Mets "Labor Day" series games, part of a weekend getaway that we made a priority as Joe's health was beginning to decline. We had things we wanted to do as a family and even though the Mets were less than impressive, finishing 77-85 and 4th place in the division that year, seeing them was one of those things. Joe and I were long suffering Mets fans. But we suffered and celebrated together and it was a wonderful thing about our relationship.

For the last month and a half I've been pinching myself over this amazing Mets run and wishing more than anything else that my Joe were here to share it with me and Domani. What a year 2015 would be if he had been here cheering along with us. When I'm home watching the game, I glance at his empty recliner. When I'm at a game celebrating, I think about his aversion to high fives and how in REALLY exciting moments you could squeak one out of him. Inevitably I come across old Mets pictures of us. I think back to the best season we shared together - 2006 - and then many frustrating ones.

I drove to DC on Wednesday alone in my car with so much of that on my mind. This year has felt different to me for awhile, but it has really felt amazing for the last month and a half. That's been great, but it's also been hard. So, when I arrived at the parking lot and found myself leaning up against the car catching my breath and holding in the tears, I finally just allowed all of that to sink in. What's happening is a perfect storm for me and perhaps one more stage of grieving to move through.

With Susie before the game!
With Tom after the Mets won!
Once I arrived at Nationals Park I met up with Tom, a friend from NJ and Susie and Matt, friends from the DC area (and Nationals fans). For part of the time while Strasburg was shutting down Mets batters I was hanging out with Susie and Matt near a whole bunch of Nats fans who were acting like they had won the World Series with every out. But, Tom and I were lucky enough to be sitting with a few other Mets fans so there were plenty of high fives to go around when Strasburg gave up the game tying homerun to Kelly Johnson. Then, when Matt Williams decided to bring in Storen to replace Strasburg in the 8th we had good company for the Stooooren chant and subsequent high fives after the inevitable Cespedes homerun.

And then Familia shut it down. And there were Let's Go Mets chants in Nationals Park. And I got a little teary and thought of Joe. We lingered for a few minutes soaking in the victory and then made our way out of the stadium. Tom and I were still talking about baseball, and "I can't believe Yo" and that Rendon won the internet by actually bunting for a hit this time. Then he headed off to the Metro and I went back to my car which was parked in the very same spot where Joe and Domani and I had parked four years ago.

Mets win.

Let's Go Mets. I've got a feeling this is our year...

With Joe at the NLDS in 2006. Definitely dreaming of October baseball again....