Thursday, January 19, 2006

Why Be A Mets Fan? / Why Am I A Mets Fan???

I recently applied to become a part of a documentary about Mets fans, being assembled by Kathy Foronjy. Her email address is, if you'd like to apply as well. Here is the letter that I forwared to her: let me know if YOU think I qualify. (The letter has been edited slightly.) Let me know why YOU are a Mets fan...

Dear Kathy Foronjy :

I read about your upcoming documentary regarding Mets' fans, and I would like to submit myself and my best friend for your consideration (by the way- I saw your info on - the best site, in my opinion, for Mets news on the web.) I currently live in Las Vegas, Nevada, having spent the past 11 years in Los Angeles. During my time away from NY (where I had spent the previous 30 years), I have attended a minimum of 10 Mets games per year, including such venues as Florida (including Spring Training for 2 years), San Francisco, Arizona, San Diego, Los Angeles, and, of course, New York.

My love for the Mets goes back to 1968 when, at the age of 4, I was taught, while watching the Mets on tv, to duck every time Nolan Ryan threw a pitch as my grandfather used to kid me that Ryan was so wild he was liable to throw a ball right through the television set. After games, my family used to eat at Lum's Chinese restaurant, where we regularly saw Mets players eating, such as Jon Matlack and Jerry Koosman and their families. 1969 saw man walk on the moon, but, what was a bigger miracle in my family, those beloved patsies of Casey Stengal grew into men under Gil Hodges and our first World Series was won! My dad and grandpa celebrated like there was no tomorrow, and this victory, combined with their appearance and loss in the 73 series would sustain me for another 13 years, until we made it all the way back in 86. That's a story for later on...

I had a Mets hat from the time I was born, and as the son/grandson of two rabid Giants fans, I was earmarked for being a fan of the orange and blue from before birth. My dad lived in Brooklyn, and he was still a Giants fan (ESPN even interviewed him for their 50th anniversary of "The Shot Heard Round The World" show). My grandfather lived in the Bronx, and hated the Yankees- do you see a trend here??

Every year, we went to a minimum of 15 games, whether the Mets stunk or were great. Some years we went to as many as 30 games, and every year for my birthday we got tickets for the IBM box from my cousin, a few rows behind the Paysons box behind the Mets dugout. I marveled at seeing Carlton, Billingham and Rogers pitch vs. the immortal one, George Thomas Seaver, as the thought of being that close to my heroes was the greatest thing that could happen to any kid!!! I have rooted for the likes of Al Weiss, Duffy Dyer, Mike Vail, George Theodore, Phil Hennigan, Jim Beachump, Wayne Garrett, Rod Steiger, Ron Hodges and Del Unser, while others were rooting for Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry, Thurman Munson and Billy Martin. The more the Yankees won, the more I loved my Mets, losses and all! Remember the days of 2000 fans in the stands? Well, at least 20 times a year, that number included my dad, my brother and me...

In high school, I started really getting into the Mets annual minor league draft (when players names were not immediately announced) and I lived through the drafting of such stars to NEVER be like Tim Leary and Terry Blocker. In fact, for Tim Leary's first major league game, I had a party at my house. On April 13, 1981, my friends and I left school early, and my mom brought in pizza and snacks and we watched as Leary had as great a 2 inning stint as any rookie could have, striking out 3 of the first 5 batters that he faced. A new Tom Seaver had taken the mound...and then was immediately escorted off of it due to injury- and another promising career was gone. Notice I didn't mention June 15th, 1977- which was at the time the saddest day in my young life, save for the day my grandfather died, the day that George Thomas Seaver was traded to the Reds- it's still a sorespot, and I'd rather not go there...

In college, I LOVED the fact that, under Frank Cashen, the Mets began acquiring some great players of their own, from Keith "Mex" Hernandez to Gary "The Kid" Carter (my two favorite, all-time Mets other than Seaver & Koosman), and the most incredible run in my life began, the 1986 "Mets World Domination Tour" as I like to refer to it. We were so cocky, as a team and as fans, and it was the ultimate slap back at all of the yankees fans, sports writers and fans of other teams who made fun of my teams' failures over the years. Anything less than our total domination that year, and the amazing playoff series vs the Astros and the more amazing series vs. the Red Sox still stand as 2 of the greatest playoff baseball in the history of the game. I watched some games from my college dorm room in Stonybrook, Long Island, and had the pleasure of attending 2 playoff and 1 world series game. You see, my dad was a school-teacher in Belle Harbor, Queens, and one of his co-teachers worked for the Mets during the summer and on weekends, Nancy McLearnon. Every year Nancy's class sung the National Anthem at Shea, and we attended. Nancy was able to get tix for us to the playoffs and series, before, I am sure, closer friends and relatives got tix, because she knew how much the Mets meant to my dad, brother and I...

During the last few years, as I have grown older and raised a family of my own, my biggest passion outside of my family has remained the Mets. For my 40th birthday, my dad and I took a trip to Cooperstown, New York, where he presented me with a #41 Tom Seaver jersey, circa 1983. My best friend, Jonathan, who I will tell you about in a moment, sent me a #41 Tom Seaver home jersey for my 40th birthday- and when I turned 41 last year, I received a Tom Seaver autographed Hall of Fame Program from my wife. For Jonathan's 40th birthday, I put together a display case filled with autographed baseballs of the top Mets of all-time, as well as a photo album filled with autographed photos spanning the history of the Mets. These gifts are worth more to us than anything else we could be given, as it is a representation of the ups and downs that we have shared as fans of the Mets over all these years.

A quick note about my friend Jonathan- I like to think I know a lot about the Mets- for all that I know, Jonathan knows twice as much. Together we have created a blog, in order to vent our frustrations and share our excitement. One of the people that reads it is my god-sister, who works for the Mets and shall remain nameless. The website address is . Jonathan lives in Florida, and takes my nephew and niece to a ton of Mets St. Lucie games, Marlins-Mets games and Spring Training games. He and I have ensured another generation of Mets fans will remain in the family. He can tell you stories about the Mets and being a Mets fan that are incredible.

When my brother and sister-in-law gave birth to my beautiful nephew, Gavin, all I could think about was yet another generation of Mets fan in the family. I got him a Giants jumper, which is cool, but the best 2 things I got for him (in my opinion) is a Mets bib and a cute little Mets bat (plastic)- 'cause it's never too early to start him on the path to being another Rubin-Mets-fanatic!! This year, in spring training, he'll be sure to get a basket of new goodies- and all will be Mets-inscribed (poor kid- he never had a chance!)

One last story- last year, during spring training, my brother, who works for one of the Mets sponsors, got tix for us next to members of the Mets family (Victor Diaz's dad, Andres Galarraga's brother, Mike Piazza's mom and dad, etc.) and we were seated not far away from Omar Minaya. On this day, Spike Lee was attending the game and was seated with Omar. I blew by the security guards, who told me that Mr. Lee was not to be disturbed. I told them I could care less about Spike- I met him years ago. I was interested in shaking Omar's hand, and asked him to sign ticket stubs for my nephew and I. Omar obliged, happily, as everyone else thought I was there to see Spike and were shocked and amazed that I blew by him to shake Omar's hand and get the autographs. That ticket resides in my billfold to this day, a Mets billfold, by the way, from March 27th, 2005, and that billfold goes with me everywhere I go. I have tons of other Mets stories, but I hope this smattering of Mets-related tales might be of some use to you when you put this documentary together.

David Rubin

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