Monday, March 31, 2014

Let's Try This Again....

It's another Opening Day and I'd say it's time for another attempt at blogging.  Admittedly I haven't tried to do this since back in 2012.

Life got busy, I ended up getting not one new job, but two since my last post, ending up more disenfranchised with the Mets and then as time progressed, the Islanders as well.  In between that time, the Isles made a playoff run and then regressed back to being god awful.

But it's another Opening Day and despite my misgivings, I'm cautiously optimistic about the Mets.  Work demanded the use of a DVR for the game, but I'm watching it as I type this and felt like relaying a few thoughts as time progresses over the course of the game.

Thoughts On The Game -


  • Kiner's Korner - It's going to be weird not to hear Ralph Kiner talk about the old days every few days or every few weeks in the booth with Gary, Keith, and Ron.  The guy was such a fixture in the Mets family, and now he's gone.  He was a colorful and outstanding man and lived a good life though.  And kudos have to go to the Mets, who often do so much wrong, for doing something right.  I'd like to see them name the left field corner Kiner's Korner though.  It only seems fitting.
  • Curtis Granderson - Guy is extremely well spoken and you have to expect a Home Run hitter like him is going to have alot of strikeouts go along with it.  Hopefully he'll learn, as the season progresses to turn things into more HR's as opposed to strikeouts.  He's also got some speed and could be a pretty heads up outfielder.  The thing is, know what you're going to get with him.  There's going to be plenty of offensive production and alot of strikeouts.  Better to deal with that now.
  • Pitching - I'm not as worried about the starting rotation this year, even with Harvey out of commission.  That said, all pitchers, starters, relievers, and closers, NEED to stop giving up so many home runs.  Citi Field is a pitcher's ballpark.  The Mets can't afford to keep blowing leads on a long ball or giving up solid leads.
  • Andrew Brown - I like this guy.  He has some pop.  He's a guy from the farm.  And he did plenty with his shot today just with the first run homer.  
  • Ruben Tejada - How is this guy still on the team?  He got a decent line drive in the 2nd Inning, but I have zero faith in him at this point and his fielding ability isn't that great, and later in the game I saw him getting back into old habits already with a lazy fly ball and a strike out.
  • Ike Davis - His ground outs in the 1st Inning and the 6th were hit pretty solidly.  I still think the guy can turn it around, but him and Duda both need to be kept on a short leash.  Either way this giant question mark at first needs to be answered sooner rather than later.  It was definitely nice to see him be more selective in his second at bat.
  • First Pitch Swinging - I like that there are more guys being aggressive on the first pitch and I think that has to do with Granderson's approach.  They just need to make sure they don't go crazy about it and remain at least a little selective.
  • Juan Lagares - I like this guy's approach alot.  He's a natural opposite field hitter.  He's got some speed, and he makes crazy plays in the outfield.  I know he's still young, but something about him reminds me a little of Beltran.  When he hit that HR in the 8th that should have been the ballgame.
  • David Wright - He's looking consistent and he's sticking his tongue out again.  :P
  • Travis d'Arnaud - Here's a guy I really hope comes into his own ASAP.  I like him alot.  I mean, the kid grew up idolizing Mike Piazza.  That alone, as a Piazza fan, is good enough for me.  Then he got to work with Mikey P during spring training.  Hopefully some of that hitting experience rubbed off on him.
  • The Bullpen - This is going to be a problem this season.  And it has plagued the Mets for the last several years.  They've done nothing to correct it.  They bring in a bunch of has-been's and maybe's as stop gaps.  They gave up the lead several times over the course of the game, and even though Collins needs to learn how to manage his pitchers better, these guys are going to need to step it up if the team has any hope of winning.
  • Jose Valverde - I like the guy's enthusiasm.  He was the lone bright spot out of the bullpen today it seems, being the sole guy who was able to get somebody out in that atrocious 7th inning.
  • Anti-Smoking Commercials - They're still awful and god damn disgusting.  And far more vile than half the stuff parents complain about on TV.  They seem to play even more of them during sporting events and I can't stand them.  Thank god I finished dinner by the time I forgot to hit fast forward and skip a commercial.
  • Bobby Parnell - If he can't get his velocity back up, he's no use as a closer.  He needs to get it back or go down to the minors until he does.  1 save attempt, 1 blown save.  This game was his to close out and he blew it when he was 1 out, just one out away (1 strike, even).
  • Terry Collins - Needs to learn to manage his pitchers and be more proactive than reactive about bringin in a reliever.  I know our bullpen sucks, but that doesn't mean you wait until there are runners on 2nd and 3rd to pull the pitcher.  The clock is ticking on you, Terry.


Final Thoughts - So I think what I'm going to do during the season when I'm talking about a game is give some thoughts at the end of the game and a few while watching it as well.  Look at this as kind of your Happy Recap or your summary.  Anyway, all in all, there were some things I saw that I liked and if they can have the production they had today, the Mets can definitely win some games.  The thing is, the pitching absolutely has to get better for that to happen.  This has been a problem for a while now, and all that Sandy Alderson has done, by corporate mandate, is to go dumpster diving for the dregs of free agency.  Case in point I just saw on Metsblog that they signed Bobby Abreu to a minor league deal.  I guarantee he'll be up with the team within a month instead of them going out to find more arms for the pen or figuring out what the situation is with first base.

All in all, this loss is on the bullpen.  The only guy who didn't let up a run today was Jose Valverde.  If Parnell needs time to get his velocity back, maybe Valverde needs to be the guy until Parnell's ready.  And when you look at the bullpen being the issue, you then turn your attention to Terry Collins for not recognizing when his guys just didn't have it.  First it was Dillon Gee getting tired.  And then it was the rest of the fiasco in the 7th.  But then you look further down the pike and it's on Alderson for not getting the necessary guys to fill those roles and on the Wilpons for not opening up their wallets.

It's one game, though.  If they keep producing offensively we'll see what happens.  It's still too early to tell, and you never know if all these guys who should now be on thin ice will go out and do what they have to do.

On Deck - So here's what's coming up for Bleeding Blue and Orange in the coming weeks.  I want to do this with every post too so that I can set myself goals for what I want to write about as well as sharing what I have planned.

I'm going to be headed back down to Long Island and going to the game on April 19th.  It's Commemorative Shea Stadium Painting promo day, so that should be cool.  Another picture for my wall.  I'll be sure to blog on that and the whole experience since I haven't been to Citi in about 2 years now.

I'm also probably going to start touching on the Islanders and the rumors swirling around about a potential change in ownership.  I want to wait til we see some more concrete info in the news, though, rather than going by hearsay.  Any change in ownership, at this point though, is likely to be a good change.  I'm not happy with where the team's at, and we'll get into that when the time comes as well.

In the meantime, it's a new baseball season.  The weather should be (hopefully) getting better soon.  And there's new grass on the field. Let's try this again...





Monday, March 5, 2012

Back From Hibernation In Time For Spring Training

So, attempt #1 at Bleeding Blue and Orange fizzled out due to the Islanders fizzling out.  There wasn't much too say at some points, but somehow as crazy as it sounds, the Islanders are only 5 points out of a playoff spot.  There are a number of teams between them and that spot though, so I wouldn't hold my breath, but stranger things have happened.

Even with the team not being world-beaters this year, there were definitely some positives to this season:

     1) Matt Moulson proved he wasn't a fluke

     2) John Tavares is a beast.

     3) Evgeni Nabakov actually turned around and decided he likes Long Island.

Now, whether or not anything else comes of this hockey season remains to be seen, but keep watching regardless.  You never know.

That said, though, as I sit here with a chicken roasting in the oven, it's t-minus 45 minutes until game time for the first Mets spring training game of the year.  As much as I have been furious and disgusted with the Mets over this off-season, somehow I'm finally in the mood for baseball.  I think it's because it's just been long enough where I'm ready for the first sign of spring...baseball.  I think the soreness of the Reyes deal is finally done and over with.

But the big question is, what do I expect of the season?  I think that if I go in with low expectations, I might be pleasantly surprised.  With the potential of some of the young pitchers like Matt Harvey, who some people expect to see by the All Star Break, and the return of Johan Santana, depending on how the chips fall, the pitching could be good or terrible.  The same can be said for the offensive part of the team.  With the departure of Reyes, this team definitely needs to shift from a speed based offense to one more revolving around power.  With guys like Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, David Wright, and Jason Bay in the lineup consistently, this team really could show some signs of power.  Especially with the changing of the field's dimensions.  Even Lucas Duda could turn into a hell of a ball player.

All in all, it's a matter of being able to see what happens.  I'm hoping to at least be entertained and not have to turn off the game in disgust.  I think this team may be capable of that, and then some.

Either way, it's time for baseball.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bitter Rivalries and Brighter Futures

For almost as long as the Islanders have been in existence, there has been a seething hatred between us, the fans and the fans of that other team in Manhattan.  If anything over the years that rivalry has only grown more fierce with each time both teams face one another.  Obviously we know where this blog stands on the issue.  (As if there were any other possibility.)

Sure there's a bit of a rivalry between the Mets and the Yankees, but up until the 90's the teams didn't really square off against one another on a yearly basis the way the Yanks did when the Dodgers and Giants were still in town.  There's also the Knicks and the Nets, but if there's a rivalry there, I've never heard much about it.  Only with the Islanders and the Rangers can you really have as distinct a possibility of a brawl in the stands as there is of one on the rink.

But let's take a look at some of the things that created the rivalry and keeps it going as strongly as it is.  The obvious reason that first comes to mind is geography.  It's nearly impossible to have 2 teams so close to one another, let alone three (if you want to count the Devils).  By nature, proximity dictates that there are going to be comparisons between the two teams since they share media, spotlight, and fan bases.  And of course, hockey being the passionate sport that it is, amplifies the situation.  There really is only so much room for a top dog in regards to hockey in New York.  There's almost a mentality like the old movies say. "This town ain't big enough for the both of us."

Then there's the people these teams represent.  Largely when the Islanders arrived they became the symbols of suburbia and its blue collar workers and average Joes while the Rangers were all of the stuffed shirts, white collar guys, and corporations.  They were, in their own eyes, hockey royalty, a sentiment you can see still exists sometimes.  Meanwhile, if the Rangers were royalty, then the Islanders were (and some would contest still are) the black sheep of the NHL.  Of course fans of the two teams would be at odds with one another.  Sometimes it's not just about hockey, but about the guys you have to deal with that root for the other team.

And then of course, there's the history itself.  A newborn hockey team creating a dynasty in New York that the Rangers fans had never witnessed when their team hadn't (at the time) won the cup since 1940.  A lowly Islander team knocking them out of the playoffs in 1975.  Islander alumni getting pissed off when Rangers fans would flood the Coliseum during a game between the two teams (still a point of frustration for Isles fans).

For the Islander fan's part, we've tried to grin and bear it through the tough years, dealing with the jokes and the poking from Ranger fans more than any other team's fanbase.  This is because, for whatever reason, through every event, every victory, and every great moment for the Islanders, the typical Ranger fan seems to get a little bit more bitter. If the Islanders win a game, a typical Ranger fan might say something about the team moving, or about Rick DiPietro's contract, or about how the refs handed the Islanders the game.

Meanwhile, their team's payroll is significantly higher than that of the Islanders.  Perhaps that is why they get so angry when their team loses to the "lowly" Islanders.  Either way, here's to hoping that we continue giving them more reasons to be bitter.

A brief message to Ranger fans before we move on, however.  I know some of you out there keep saying you can't wait til we move to KC, and that you hope to see us go away.  I hope for the opposite.  You folks don't deserve the reprieve.

Speaking of rivalries though, there's another game coming up with the potential of being the next step in the creation of a rivalry.  It's the game, aside from the Rangers, that everyone has been anticipating since last February.  Call it what you will; Black Friday, Black and Blue Friday, the day the Isles stood up and said, "Enough," or the day the Islanders beat the holy hell out of the Penguins.

That's right folks, Pittsburgh's coming to town soon.  After all of Mario's crying and threatening to leave the NHL and the Islanders being pressured to cancel a showing of a prideful moment of Islanders Hockey over the summer, we're a season removed and looking at a situation where there is a true potential for another fierce rivalry, especially if the Islanders continue on their current winning ways.  I'm not exactly hoping for Fight Night, Part II, but I would like to see a strong game from the Islanders that night.  I might even pick up some tickets and attend in person.

That kind of leads into another point though.  The team's looking pretty good so far this year.  Yes it's early, but after a crumby first game and a victory that was kind of a slow start, they are showing signs of playing a much better game of hockey this year, improving on the success and fine points of last year.  I don't want to get my hopes up just yet, but as an eternal optimist I really can't help myself.

The crazy fan in me wants to believe that Tavares is well within his means to score 40+ goals this year.  It wants to believe that if the team continues playing this way we can, in fact be playoff bound.  It wants to believe that we could even be an outside contender for the cup.

I know it's still early in the season, but it's fun to dream.  The dose of reality here is that the team started off good in the first stretch last year too, but something is tangibly different this year.  They feel like an improved version of what we saw in the latter parts of last year rather than the team we saw during the dreadful 20 game stretch.  Jack Capuano is doing a great job so far and hopefully he keeps up the good work.

The future is almost here, folks and it looks good.  Not only do we have a solid young core of players in the NHL right now including guys like Tavares, Moulson, Grabner, Nielsen, and Hamonic, but we've got guys who will, within a year or two be ready to take their stabs at adding to that core.  There are guys like Strome who has already started lighting it up again in juniors, Calvin de Haan who could pan out to be a solid defenseman, and of course, Nino who is potentially up with the big boys for the long haul this year when he gets off the IR.

Things are looking up folks, not just for this year, but for years to come.  It's good to be an Islander fan for once.  Enjoy it, revel in it, and keep your heads high.  If nothing else, at least it'll piss off your Ranger fan friends.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Goalies, Jerseys, And Other Ramblings

Alrighty!  We're a week into the season and two games are under our belt Islander Country!  All in all, things are still trying to click for the team, but we're 1-1-0.  It could be worse.  A win is a win is a win.  So, with that in mind, let's go at the Bolts tonight hard and get another win.

Before we get into everything else though, I'd like to tell you guys that if you didn't get a chance to check it out on MSG+ before opening night, try to find the episode of MSG Vault that played that night.  It was called the birth of the Islanders and was really a cool watch.  They talked to Bobby Nystrom, Bill Torrey, Al Arbour, Clark Gillies, Dennis Potvin, and Ed Westfall about the franchise's start.  They also had film they had unearthed of the very first playoff appearance of the New York Islanders in 1975 against the Rangers.  Apparently this was essentially the birth of the rivalry between the two hockey clubs.  Like I said, a great watch, find it if you can.

On to more modern business, though.  Al Montoya seems to be getting all the chances in the world to show himself as a #1 goalie and apparently his timing couldn't be better due to two words.

Rick DiPietro.

This poor guy cannot catch a break.  If it's not one body part breaking, straining, tweaking, or getting surgically repaired, it's another.  This year it didn't even take one game for it to happen.  I really do feel for the guy since he does appear to want to try as hard as he can to make it back to the form he once had.  He legitimately wants to be on the team.

However (and you had to know that was coming) at this point, as much as it might hurt the guy's pride to say, he will have to sooner or later know when to say enough is enough.  This has been going on now for several years.  It's safe to say that regardless of what part of his body it might be, it cannot handle the strain of being a goaltender anymore.  Hell, he got hurt in practice.

Look, I don't wish ill on the guy, and I think it's sad to see this as the potential end for him, but sometimes you really do have to feel like his injuries sidelining him might be what's in the best interest of the team.  He may very well not be up to form and yet again he has to be re-evaluated.  Not to mention we've got several young guys waiting in the wings as well as Montoya and Nabokov ready to go on the NHL level.

I think at this point, even Rick might be beginning to see that and be willing to accept it.  When this all comes to a head, who knows, but hopefully it happen gracefully and with class.  Thank him publicly for his time, his service, and his loyalty to the club, and in the next breath announce that he has been asked to fill a role in the front office or in the play by play booth.  Given the guy's personality, he would probably make for an interesting third man in the booth with Howie and Butch.

As always, however, only time will tell.

In the meantime, let's tackle a much more trivial issue.  The third jersey.  Realistically, the Islanders have not had a very good track record from about 1993 onward when it comes to jerseys.  We had the fishsticks jersey that was probably more hated due to the on ice ability of the team at the time.  Admit it, they weren't that bad, but they looked a hell of alot better with our team's logo on the front.  Then there were the navy jerseys that weren't bad.  They really were quite nice actually.  Then Reebok came around and suggested everyone change their jerseys, from what I can tell.  And out came the pajama pants jerseys were just WAY too busy.

Somehow, though, they got something right and released a vintage royal blue jersey as our third.  They saw how fans clamored over it and made it our home jersey, followed by a white counterpart as our away jersey.

That brings us to where we are now.  Apparently the powers that be either at Reebok or the front office decided the Isles needed a third jersey again so soon after getting it right again.  One would assume that whoever is in charge of this stuff would learn from these past experiences and come out with something that the fans would finally like and give their stamp of approval to, no?

No.

If you're reading this you've probably already seen what the third jersey reportedly looks like.  It's a black base, with block style lettering on the front saying Islanders.  The only place the team logo appears is on the shoulder patch in the midst of a 40th anniversary season.

Truth be told it looks like a 1999 Mets Jersey.

Did anybody do any market research on this?  I mean come on.  I liked the black Mets jersey at one time but that was ten years ago.  The whole black jersey thing is done and over with.  Even the Mets are reportedly dropping the black jerseys next year in favor of a royal blue one with orange lettering.

Truth be told there are alot of fan designed jerseys out there that look alot better than what was designed to be the actual jersey.

If you want my advice, folks, don't buy the jersey.  Frankly, just like the goal song, I don't care much so long as they win, but if you don't buy the jersey, they'll change it.

And when they do, try to push the idea of having a fan designed contest.  Let them see the possibilities and then go from there.

Anyway, that's it for now.  There's a hockey game on tonight.  ALCS?  NLCS?  Pffft.  Baseball season's over.  It's hockey season.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Great Goal Song Debate & Sports Entitlement

Happy New (Hockey) Year!  That's right, the first puck of the season has been dropped, there's teams playing in Europe (really?), and Islanders Opening Night is just a day away.  First off, let me say that whoever thought it was a good idea to schedule the Islanders Opening Night on Columbus Day weekend AND Yom Kippur in one of the most densely populated Jewish areas in the country is an idiot.  But, I digress.

Tomorrow's opening night will also feature a new goal song.  With the departure of Zenon Konopka, that god awful Live is Life by Opus is going with him.  So, the Islanders presented Matt Moulson with the task of picking some candidates for the song, which was then further narrowed down to four songs.  These four, now being voted on over at the Islanders website are Kickstart My Heart by Motley Crue, Hell Yeah by Rev Theory, Heaven Can Wait by Iron Maiden, and The Crowd Chant by Joe Satriani.

Now, here's the thing, the goal song isn't the be all, end all of a hockey team.  What it is, however, is something to get the fans involved and enable them to celebrate in a way unique to each team upon the scoring of a goal.  The Islanders had a pretty good one in the form of Rock and Roll Part I by Gary Glitter.  Most people don't even realize a part of that song had lyrics, but most Islanders fans did as we were the only team to use that portion of the song.  The story goes that the Islanders first stopped using the song because the team or parents at the game were not happy with the people chanting "You Suck!" after every "Hey!"  Another reason later given, and more valid, was that Gary Glitter is a kid toucher and they didn't want to associate with him.  I say this is more valid, but the song itself is associated with sports in general, not with Gary Glitter surfing for kiddy porn.  If you don't want him to get royalties, you could always find a cover, of which there are some out there. Either way, since dropping R & R, the song has been in a state of yearly flux, some worse than others.

Let's talk about the current options though.  Kickstart My Heart, I could see working, but doesn't provide for all that much crowd interaction or celebration.  Hell Yeah by Rev Theory could also possibly work, but again, fans will be confused and mumbling when trying to get involved.  Heaven Can Wait is just god awful, and I have no idea who even suggested it.  Finally we come to the most plausible of the bunch, if edited right.  Crowd Chant by Joe Satriani definitely works the best as far as what I feel a goal song should sound like.  It's got some chanting, time for celebration and cheering, and a point where fans can even chant, "Hey!" if that's what they're looking for.

Ultimately though, they could play Bea Arthur and it would sound great if they got the chance to play it early and often.  We'll find out what wins the poll tomorrow night and hopefully get this ridiculousness behind us.

There's something else I'd like to talk about though today before I let you go.  Yesterday the Yankees lost in the first round of the playoffs.  I'm not going to bash the Yankees or gloat about it.  The Mets didn't even have a winning record this year (or the year before) so there's really no room for me to say much of anything.  I do understand, however, that fans are upset.  But I feel like there are a few here and there frothing at the mouth like the world is ending and the team hasn't already won 27 World Series Championships.

Step back from the ledges folks.  You can't win the World Series every year, as much as every team would love to have that happen.  What I don't get quite as much is the bashing of some of the team's players who didn't come through in the clutch in one game.  ONE GAME!  They did big things for your team all year and you loved them until the one moment they didn't come through.  Remember, everyone was ready to bench Jeter in April.  To be fair, I think the people who blame Beltran for the 2006 NLCS loss because of his strikeout to end it are silly as well.  There were a ton of other factors that cost the Mets that series.

Anyway, just a message to the Yankee faithful.  It's baseball.  These things happen sometimes, even to teams with perennial all stars.  Anything can happen.  The season starts anew in April.  Until then enjoy some hockey or football and quit being so angry.

In the meantime, enjoy Opening Night tomorrow, folks.  Wish I could be there, but I'll be stuck in Albany (where MSG doesn't cover the Isles) for a sweet sixteen.  Guess I'll have to have faith in my DVR.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Life Through The Eyes Of A Fanatic

Hi there!  Welcome to Bleeding Blue and Orange.  After some time of reading all sorts of different blogs and peoples' rants, memories, and thoughts, I thought that it might not be a bad idea to share a few of my own when the opportunity presents itself.

And so, here we are.  Bleeding Blue and Orange is an apt name for the site since the two sports that are my true passions are Baseball and Hockey.  As the title of the blog suggests, the teams I root for in those sports happen to share a color scheme.  Both have had times when they've been losers, both lovable and worthy of loathing, and both have had times when they've been at the top of the world.  These are, of course, my beloved Mets and Isles. 

Now, since baseball season is essentially over for me with the Mets (yet again) out of the picture, and the winter winds are blowing hockey our direction, a lot of the posts between now and, say, March or April (or god willing, May), will pertain to what's going on with the Islanders in the hockey world.

With about 5 days until Opening Night for the Islanders, I thought it would be a fitting first post to talk about my growth as a hockey fan and a few high points of my fandom.

I'm not sure how or why, but I was an Islanders fan from the first time I could remember.  It could be that they were the kings of the NHL during my infancy, so everybody on Long Island was an Islander fan.  Or it could be that I was also being brainwashed into being a Mets fan at the time and the color scheme was the same.  Either way, my fate was sealed.  I don't really remember many of my early hockey games or even my specifically first one.  I do, however, remember that my father, a county employee would get free tickets through his job, and we'd go to the Coliseum once or twice a year, either through his job or through the Cub Scouts.   I also know that I was hooked from day one and even after times when I stopped following it for a while, I was always drawn back.

Oddly enough one of the greatest memories I have of my early hockey years was not even an NHL sanctioned game.  There was an exhibition fundraiser at the Long Beach Ice Rink.  Those of you from Long Island know the one I'm talking about over by the pool.  I think the Rangers used to practice there or something, but really it's the Rangers, so that's a minor detail.  Anyway, that night there was a fundraiser exhibition game between Islanders Legends and Rangers Legends.  So, one of the earliest memorable hockey games I got to see had the likes of Bossy, Gillies, Potvin, Trottier, and Nystrom all playing together again after they had retired or moved on. 

Naturally, the Rangers suffered a thorough shellacking at the hands of the legends of the dynasty years.

At some point, I stopped getting to as many hockey games, and really, I don't even remember why.  I still checked on the Islanders as a kid every time I picked up a newspaper.  In hindsight it probably had more to do with the fact that, at the time, the Isles were still on Sportschannel, which we didn't get, so I wasn't readily able to watch games.  I was content, for the time, to keep track of the likes of Palffy, Turgeon, and many others through the pages of Newsday.

Fast forward to the years when Charles Wang bought the team and essentially plucked them from extinction.  Now, being older, and with better cable, etc, I was ready to jump back in.  I took to watching hockey again like a fish to water.  Baseball in the summer.  Hockey in the winter.  I think what really sealed the deal for me was the party the Isles threw one year at Eisenhower Park.  My brother's girlfriend was going and somehow I got volunteered to chauffeur.  Needless to say, seeing the fans, the players, the atmosphere, all of it, and my fanaticism was secure.  That year I made it to my first Opening Night and have never looked back. 

There are similar stories about my Mets fanaticism that I'm sure I'll share at some point as well, but suffice to say for now, that through good year and bad, terrible coaches, great coaches, wins, losses, playoffs, and basement dwelling, I'll always be bleeding blue and orange.