Monday, June 12, 2006

moral dilemmas

Yes, this blog has been shoved to the periphery. No, it is NOT what I wanted to have happened, but it's happened. I've spent my weeks in far-off locales - wrestling pumas in dirt pits while loud villagers all around me clutch fistfuls of rupiah and yell very loudly in exotic tongues. I suppose I could have blogged about this, but wrestling pumas is extremely exhausting mentally, and the only thing I really wanted to do at the end of a long day spent grappling with big, angry wildcats was to get home, put my feet up, crack open a beer and watch the laugh parade that is According to Jim (at least 75% of its episodes are refreshingly puma-free).

I've also been following the Mets rather closely, thanks to the jittery, pixelated magic that is I'm enjoying their success, though part of me still expects it to disappear in the most cockpunchingly painful way possible. I suppose if I didn't expect that at least a little bit, I wouldn't be a Mets fan.

Here's my dilemma: I've decided that my authentic Mets home jersey is bad luck. I can't remember the last time I wore it to a game that they've won, so I'm not going to wear it anymore. It has no name and no number, but it is of the style of jersey worn from 1991 to 1992 - buttoned-down, with orange-blue-orange piping down the sleeves and the sides. Those of you with long, freakish memories will note that the Mets went 146-174 in the years in which they wore these uniforms. Not good. I suspect this has something to do with the Mets' poor recent record in games I've attended wearing my jersey.

(Also note - last summer in Pittsburgh, I wear my jersey on Saturday night and the Mets lose by a lot; I wear my Hey Day shirt the next day and the Mets win. The fact that Kaz Ishii pitched the first game and Pedro pitched the second game probably had nothing to do with it - I'm pretty sure it was the jersey).

I've decided to replace it with one of those t-shirt jerseys that are popular these days. I think most of the Mets' current uniform designs are lame; buying one is prohibitively expensive; and for some reason it's always sort of lame to see somebody at the ballpark or in public wearing a current authentic baseball jersey with a current name and number. Now, for whatever reason people who wear authentic hockey jerseys, replica football jerseys and throwback baseball jerseys have managed to avoid this lameness, but that's neither here nor there.

So I'm going to buy one of those t-shirt jerseys. You've seen them - they don't look like jerseys really; they're more like regular monotone t-shirts with the team's lettering printed across the front chest, and a font-accurate name and number on the back. Here are my two dilemmas:

1) When do I buy it? and
2) Whose name and number do I get?

My first dilemma seems simple: when do I buy the shirt so as not to jinx a Mets hot streak (such as the current one) and/or feel like a bandwagon jumper? The answer to the first part of the question seems obvious - I must wait until the Mets are no longer on a hot streak. But this raises another troubling moral issue - if buying the shirt would give me pleasure (which it would), is there then a part of me that waits impatiently for a Mets hot streak to end? What kind of fan would I be if this were indeed the case? And what kind of fan would I be if I didn't wait to indulge myself, thereby dooming the Mets' hot streak in the process?

As for bandwagon jumping, I know I'm not a bandwagoner, but I think I would feel like one if the Mets won 10 in a row and I went out and bought the shirt at the peak of a frenzied baseball-induced high. Which brings me back to my moral impasse: if I resolve to wait out a hot streak before I buy a shirt - thereby validating my "true fan" status - is my subconscious mind rooting for the Mets to lose?

The name-and-number question is much less confusing. I'm pretty sure I want to get a shirt with "MARTINEZ 45" on the back. Kris and I went to the Cherry Hill Mall on Saturday, and we stepped into Modell's. The only Mets shirts they had were Reyes, Wright, Delgado and Wagner. Delgado and Wagner were easy "no"s, as both have been on the team for two and a half months and have had their ups and downs. Reyes and Wright were "no"s based on the fact that I won't get the name-and-number of anybody younger than me until I have to, because that's just weird.

I think it's gotta be Pedro, because he's much older than me, because I get such joy from watching him, because he takes such joy in playing baseball, because he completely changed the attitude around Shea and because it seems like he's not even real. The guy is like a cartoon character. Read this Onion article on him - satire, yes, but more exaggeration than fiction - and tell me you don't like him. He is my favorite Met.

I'm mildly concerned that getting a Pedro shirt will jinx him, but I'm much more worried that the act of buying a Mets shirt in general - regardless of the player - will jinx the entire team (see: dilemma #1).

Moral quandaries aside, I'd like to make this happen in the next two weeks, as Kris and I are going to Boston to see the Mets play on the 29th. We've had the tickets since February, and we just booked accommodations yesterday; we're staying in what looks like a charming B&B about a mile away from Fenway (according to Orbitz), and we're going to spend Thursday and Friday night in Beantown, which should give us time to do some sightseeing. Then we'll mosey on down the East Coast as the Fourth of July weekend progresses... who knows - we may be making a stop in your town! Just look for the guy wearing "MARTINEZ 45" on the back. It'll probably be me. Or Pedro.