It was never a question of if – only a question of when.
I spent the early years of my youth mired in the equivocal waters of denial. I watched trainwrecks and improbable comebacks unfold before my very eyes, never fully understanding the historical context or gravity of the situation. But as each spring and summer came and went, as each car ride home from my own baseball games came accompanied by the unmistakable voice of Howie Rose on 660AM despite being hundred of miles outside of the tri-state area, I realized I was predestined to this lifestyle.
You see, the New York Mets are my birthright. My entrance to this world came sandwiched between the end of the regular season and beginning of the epic 1986 World Series Championship run. My very initials would serve as an acronym for the team itself (believe it not, “Rudy” is just an alias). While the pedigree of Mets fans failed to outdate other notable clubs due to the Mets short tenure in the MLB, it was up to me to embrace the torch of fandom and pass it down to future generations of my namesake. As the ’90s progressed, I sat through the Todd Pratt homerun, the Grand Slam Single, the Clemens Bat Toss, the growth and development of Wright and Reyes, the failed Art Howe experiment, the Pedro Martinez signing that ushered in a new era of Mets baseball, the Beltran signing, trading for Delgado and Lo Duca, and bringing in division rival Billy Wagner to close out games.
And then, with one Adam Wainwright breaking ball, or as I like to call it “The Curveball That Must Not Be Named”, everything collapsed. Admittedly, I had probably the biggest emotional breakdown of my life. I threw my chair into my wall. I dry-heaved into my toilet (could have been the binge drinking though). I didn’t go to class the next day. I had invested so much into the success of the team. It was my distraction from the chaos of my parent’s divorce and the sudden realization that, in my junior year of college, I finally had to decide what I wanted to do with my own life. Without a World Series run, it was time to face reality.