(grumble) At least Hubie Brooks was on the left side of the defensive spectrum! (grumble now ovah)
The neuroscientists might say that, in 1969, I formed certain internal neural structures associated with the Mets, which are forever after pleasant to reactivate. We have a bias toward things that are familiar and especially to those things that were familiar when life was new: the old house, the old hometown, the people, smells and sounds we knew when we were young.
I’d say my attachment to the Mets is more like an old friendship. It’s not as intense as it used to be. I watch about 40 games a year, mostly on TV, and read blogs like Amazin’ Avenue and Metsblog.com. I’d like the team to thrive and win championships. But I really just want them to continue to be one of the allegiances that enrich life. I want them to continue to provide vivid moments.
...There’s a core American debate between “On the Road” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” “On the Road” suggests that happiness is to be found through freedom, wandering and autonomy. “It’s a Wonderful Life” suggests that happiness is found in the lifelong attachments that precede choice. It suggests that restraints can actually be blessings because they lead to connections that are deeper than temporary self-interest.
The happiness research suggests that “It’s a Wonderful Life” is correct and “On the Road” is an illusion. So I’ll die a Mets fan, exaggerating their potential, excusing their deficiencies. This week, in Florida, I even detected new virtues in the team. In the early days, the Mets were lovable losers, then miraculous winners, then, in the 2000s, big-spending disappointments. Now they are young and frisky, enthusiastic and charming. I’ll enjoy following this team and exaggerating its promise. I have no choice but to love the Mets. Just as I have no choice but to hate the Phillies.