Story: The Amazing Fall of '69

October 1969, New York City

Patrick stood there stunned, not moving a muscle. He was still breathing as well as he could tell. He wasn’t dead, he was sure of that—or else heaven looked a lot like his favorite bar on 53rd & Lex. He grabbed an arm hair and gave it a yank, he wasn’t dreaming either. No, it had to of happened. The Mets had won the series. 

Patrick loved baseball and started following the team in ‘62. After averaging over a hundred losses per year since he hadn’t entered the summer with high hopes. Each night he’d meet Bill, Stu, and Bruce at his favorite pub on 53rd to have a few beers and watch the game. The Mets usually resembled the Three Stooges more than a professional baseball team. 

“How,” Patrick had said, “could they be this bad?” 

“It’s like they do this stuff on purpose,” Stu said, “every night for the past six years. They ain’t never had a winning season.” 

“Yeah and it looks like, they won’t have one this year either.” Bill now chiming in, “I’ll have another beer Tommy, maybe it’ll help me forget all about this team.” 

“Remind me.” Bruce said, “Why we watch these guys instead of the Yankees? The Yanks at least win.” 

“Didn’t they win,” Patrick asked, “back to back titles back a few years back?” 

“In ‘61 & ‘62 yeah,” Stu replied, “but, they ain’t our team. You don’t go jumping from team to team, they got a name for fans like that you know.” 

“Uh huh, but this team stinks.” Bruce said, “I mean really stinks. They don’t have a shot at ever winning a title.”  

“Maybe, but they're at least close to .500 this year.” Tommy the bartender jumping in, “Better than last year.” 

Patrick and the guys had gone back and forth all summer. One thing they had all been sure of, was that the Mets weren’t ever going to win the series. How could they? The Mets had exactly zero winning seasons, since arriving in Queens. Most of the way through the summer it didn’t look like this year would be any different. Forty-one games into the season, the team was hovering around .500 with an 18-23 record. 

“Go, go, go!,” Patrick said, “They're waiving him around third. He’s gonna score, he’s gonna score. The throw. The slide. YES, YES, SAFE!” 

“Ahhh! I can’t believe it.” Stu said, “I simply can’t believe it.” 

Everyone else in the bar was going as crazy. The Mets had managed to pull off what seemed impossible two weeks earlier, they’d started winning. In the intervening weeks between that late night and the bar and this one, they’d won eleven in a row. 

“It’ll never last.” Bruce said, “They’ll find someway to ruin it, always do.” 

“Oh, shut up Bruce,” Stu said, “You don’t have to be such a downer. Enjoy the damn streak like the rest of us.”

“Just watch,” Bruce replied, “Wait and see.” 

“I for one,” Patrick said, “Don’t care if they lose the rest of the way. I’m going to enjoy this one. It’s the most remarkable turn around I think I’ve ever seen.”        

The guys would continue to argue back and forth over the several weeks. That’s what men do in bars. It’s crazy what a little winning will do though. They had a new pep in their step, and something positive to look forward to each night at the bar.