So the year is 1995 and all my friends are rooting for the New York Yankees or the Atlanta Braves. Sure, we were only six-years-old, but everyone was rooting for the winners. I’ll assume my childhood friends were influenced by their parents to root for such accomplished franchises. They’d go on to enjoy numerous pennant races and World Series championships.
Meanwhile, in the Colling household, my father raised me to dislike the Yankees. Everything they stood for was wrong in baseball. Over the years, the Yankees would seemingly acquire every single major free agent and have a dynasty for much of my childhood. Every year the Yankees won, my father and I would be disappointed.
See, my father has been a lifelong Cleveland Indians fan. So, you can imagine the heartbreak he has had over the years. I could mention the name Edgar Renteria to him right now and he would let out a groan and complain about how Jose Mesa couldn’t get one more out in the 1997 World Series. There haven’t been many times to celebrate baseball seasons, needless to say.
Likely because of my father’s influence I never have liked the New York Yankees. I’m trying to think of a reason, but they are mostly all the reasons that my father told me as a child. But, as I got older realized something about myself. I don’t like it when the same teams win over and over again.
By 1997, I found myself rooting for the New York Mets. The only reason I can remember was that everyone liked the Yankees and they always won, I didn’t want to be part of that group. I remember playing a baseball video game and coming across the New York Mets. I figured since they were a New York team that I might as well root for them. Mind you, the game was based on the 1995 season. So, I wasn’t exactly familiar with the roster.
I remember watching Mets games on television starting around that same time. Over the years, I remember seeing Turk Wendell pitching with shark teeth around his neck. John Franco managing to strike people out in his latter part of his career. Jason Isringhausen having a difficult last name for a nine-year-old kid to pronounce. Bobby Valentine doing various antics in the dugout.
The Mets had some top talent, but yet they oftentimes came across as being underdogs. I mean, how many times could I watch the Mets lose to the Braves in really big games? Greg Maddox, John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine were the most frustrating pitchers to watch as they routinely destroyed my childhood loving Mets every time they pitched. If they won one single game in a series, I felt like it was a major accomplishment.
By 1998, I was hooked on the Mets. Mike Piazza is my favorite Mets player of all-time. The following year Armando Benitez came to the Mets and he became my favorite closer. Al Leiter was the guy I liked to watch the most. The years 1998 through 2000, I felt like the Mets were on the cusp of winning a World Series. I was one of three kids in the sixth grade rooting for the Mets in the 2000 World Series against the Yankees.
I had gotten spoiled. After the 2000 World Series loss, the Mets made the playoffs only one more time prior to 2015. In 2006, they lose in the NLCS to the St. Louis Cardinals. I’ll never forget Carlos Beltran striking out with the bat on his shoulder. That moment still makes me shake my head in disappointment.
Aside from the Chicago Bulls, I’ve never had much success with my favorite teams. I was able to experience six championships with the Bulls. I’m a still a fan of the Bulls to this day. In the 2000s everyone jumped to the Lakers, but I stuck it out with the Bulls. I’ve got loyalty, I suppose.
That loyalty lives with baseball too. Living in Syracuse, there’s not much to do. Aside from college basketball and the Syracuse Crunch (minor-league AHL team), there’s nothing to get all that excited about.
Unless of course, you like Triple-A baseball. The Syracuse Chiefs had been in existence in some form dating back to 1946. Following a rebirth in 1961, the Chiefs have been in Syracuse playing baseball across from the mall.
Growing up, the Chiefs were associated with the Toronto Blue Jays and then later on the Washington Nationals. In hindsight, I’ve gotten to see some good baseball players. Vernon Wells, Orlando Hudson, Adam Lind, Bryce Harper, and Stephen Strasburg. Minor league baseball is something I greatly enjoy watching. These are guys trying to get to the big leagues, or in some cases, get back to the big leagues.
I’ll never forget watching a game with father where the nearly forty-year-old James Baldwin threw a one hit shut-out against the Chiefs. Brandon Phillips hitting a 420ft home-run to deep, center field, which almost never happened.
This is no exaggeration. I believe the Chiefs had won one game out of all the games I’ve ever gone to. Mind you, there were years when myself and a group of friends would go to multiple games a week. The only game I remember the Chiefs winning was a remarkable comeback in the ninth inning when they scored eight runs. It was one of the greatest nights ever.
However, there was something missing for me. Sure, the guys on the field were playing for the Chiefs, but if they ever got called up to the major leagues, they’d probably be beating the Mets. That’s my true team. So, I didn’t have much investment in the Chiefs. I had always wondered if the Mets would ever become the affiliate. It always seemed like the perfect fit. The move would make all the sense in the world.
That brings us to 2018. The Mets have invested into the Syracuse area and now the team up there has been rebranded the Syracuse Mets. I’ll have the opportunity to cover future Mets right in my hometown, observe their development, and hopefully see them accomplish greatness on the New York Mets for years to come. I’m excited to begin this opportunity to cover the Syracuse Mets right here on Amazin’ Prospects.
I’ll be watching every single Syracuse Mets game and provide some in-depth coverage and commentary. Here’s hoping for a successful season and not too many rehab appearances!
- Year Became Mets Fan: 1998
- Favorite Met: Mike Piazza
- Favorite Mets Moment: Johan Santana no-hitter
- Least Favorite Mets Moment: Carlos Beltran striking out in NLCS Game 7
You can follow me on Twitter @YoBobbyBoy89