Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How to be normal, Part 1 - Root for the Yankees

OK, this one is for the actual bipolar/MS or some version of both gang.  You may get the feeling that even on your best days, the world seems a little off.  Do you?  I mean do you see families together at a restaurant or mall, or some place, laughing and having a good time, and then you are sitting with the people you've been told you are related to, and they do not or will not acknowledge that anything is wrong, or let you know its is your own fault (Cheer Up! What? Another nap?) you are "that way", if they even acknowledge it at all.  Or maybe they just whisper about it later, and if you think they might be, well, you're paranoid.

This is assuming they associate with you at all, of course.  Now many families are nurturing and helpful and are fully there for any member of their clan who has challenges. They truly do want to help, but we all can't go live with Glen Close.  She just hasn't got enough rooms.

Thanks for what you do, Glen, and I know you suffer as well.  Glen is a Mets fan, and boy, do we know suffering.  But we can walk away and root for another team, but we also can't.  Normal is rooting for the Yankees, living vicariously through their triumphs, even when not totally successful, always there near the top, entertaining their fan base and giving thrills galore.  You pass that down to your kids and even when the team goes into minor troughs, you know they will bounce back.  Someone will come and do it.

Mets fans are happy finishing third.  Oh, its not like we haven't had our moments, wonderful moments of manic play, great performances and championships.  We just know there's a lot more deep, deep lows.  We came from ineptitude in 1962, losers dismissed for season upon season.  Then suddenly came a miracle in 1969, the same thing as when a bipolar person wins a Pulitzer or some other big reward.  Yes, there's something more going on than the odd behavior.  We can succeed and do very well.  Maybe not for long, and we will hide our problems in drugs, alcohol, and poor performing bullpens.  We will let wonderful people leave our lives because we think, or letting the somebody who is doing the thinking for us say, it will be helpful.  Please see the departure of Hall of Famer Tom Seaver (twice) and the recent departure of 2012 Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey.  It leads to longer times or holding things together before depressingly empty stadium, old and new. Right?

Mets fans will now say, well what about the 1986 team? That team won the World Series. Yes, and fun it was, but that team, despite its talent, and the work behind the scenes that built up to one crazy victory that barely squeaked by two talented teams.  If it wasn't for some bad pitching in the bottom of the tenth inning in Game 6 of the World Series (not so much Buckner), the Red Sox would have gotten their Curse of the Bambino thing out of the way 18 years sooner.  The late 80's Mets then floundered through the next five years and fell back into terrible.  A team that should have dominated fell short due its own excesses. Like drugs, and the manic thought of its greatness.

Then the Mets tried again around 2000.  A good group held together by a manager whose number one fan was himself played better than they should have to get into the playoffs, and then into the World Series, against of all teams, the Yankees, the one team I was praying for them not to play.  As figured, it was a quick one.  The Normals overwhelmed the Bipolars in five games.  Another slide, and recognition that help was needed stabilized the team in the mid-decade, but self doubt brought it crashing down once again to now, even with a change of scenery at a new stadium, nothing has worked since. We blamed Carlos Beltran for striking out to end the Championship game (I blamed Carlos Beltran). He stood there and watched strike three go by.  His fault.  Back to depression. He did this.  Dump the doctors again. Try something else.

The new doctor in charge of the team, Sandy Alderson, is building from the bottom up, hoping long term treatment will  better than shock therapy.  The Mets remain moribund, looking out the window and waiting for something to happen, something no doubt terrible.  Now the Normals, that is, the Yankees have not spent as they used to, and look like they may be making changes, with confidence in a farm system that will fill their needs as superstars Jeter, A-Rod, and company age out.  Still some great players there.  So life goes on in the Bronx. A hiccup here and there, and the Normals take it in stride.

The Mets don't really have an outfield yet.  I mean you need three people in the outfield, and we've got maybe two, or two and a half.  Might mean a lot of doubles for the other team.

So there it is.  The Mets are the team of the bipolar.  At least Glen Close and me.

So if you want to be Normal, like "those people", pull for teams and organizations that just keep rolling along - the Yankees, Microsoft, anybody with the last name Kardashian, Alec Baldwin, and the Department of Defense. 

So this summer, I'll be sitting in half empty Citifield, rooting for the guys in Orange and Blue, whoever they are.  Come sit next to me and I will tell you stories of a place that's only a shadow now, and of the men who played on that field, and what, now and then, can happen to make your life feel amazing.  Makes it all Amazin'.

Bipolar Stadium.  That's where we play.  Spring training begins in two weeks. Hang in there.

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