Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Mets against the Cardinals, father against son

Mentioned the other day how up until the latest generation, Mannion family baseball loyalties have descended in not quite a straight line from my great-grandfather's loyaties to the New York Giants.

The teenager roots for the Mets, but his younger brother is devoted to the Cardinals, and his being a St Louis fan has nothing to do with Frankie Frisch the Fordam Flash having been his great-grandfather's favorite player.

He is a Cardinal fan because he's a Blue Jays fan. And he's a Blue Jays fan not because Toronto's Triple A farm club, the SkyChiefs, plays in Syracuse, the city the ten year old still thinks of as home. He's a Blue Jays fan because when he was learning the alphabet he was thrilled to find out that there was a baseball team called the Jays.

He heard that as the J's and he said, My name starts with J too, and that was that.

It helped that his favorite color is blue.

When he learned they were the Blue Jays, that didn't bother him. He liked birds. In fact, he liked birds so much that he decided that all teams named after birds were his teams.

Ever since he has rooted for the Blue Jays, the Cardinals, and the Orioles. Since the Cardinals are the only one of those three teams that wins anything, he's become most attached to them.

He's so attached to them in fact that he hates the Boston Red Sox and everything they stand and will never forgive them for 2004.

And he hates the Houston Astros and everything they stand for and will never forgive them for last year.

He has declared his intention of hating the Mets and everything they stand for if they win the NCLS this year. I'm to be consoled by the fact that he won't hate them as much as he hates the Red Sox and the Astros.

He does feel a little bit of ambivalence about the upcoming series. He doesn't care that the Mets are his father's favorite team. He cares that his favorite player is Met. Carlos Delgado.

Back when we lived in his---the ten year old's---hometown, the Blue Jays sent Delgado down to Syracuse on a rehab assignment. He was there for a short time but we were at one of the few games he played. The ten year old was a four year old at the time, I think. He was just beginning to pay attention to baseball and understand its rules.

Delgado came up and I pointed him out. "That guy's a very good player," I said.

"How good?" the then four year old asked.

Delgado answered the question by driving the next pitch deep over the right field fence. There were some picnic tents way, way out there and the ball cleared their striped tops.

"That good," I said.

Tonight I'm hoping Delgado will be that good again and continue to be that good for the next four or five games. The ten year old's hoping he'll be that good but only when there are no runners on base and the Cardinals are well ahead.

Your turn: What's your first great baseball memory, the one that made you a fan?

The local paper the Times Herald-Record's more of a Yankee paper than a Met paper, but with the Yanks out of it, the Mets have taken over the sports pages. Good coverage, whether you're rooting for the Mets, the Cardinals, the Tigers, the A's, or just rooting for the games to be good. Best place to start is with Michael Geffner's profile of Mets Manager Willie Randolph.


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