Jerry Koosman Remembers a ‘Pep Talk’ By Donald Grant

By / July 9, 2013 / Past, Present and Future, Players

“We had a meeting in the clubhouse. Don Grant, our chairman of the board, came down. It was a d grantlow point. We had lost a few games, and Grant gave us a speech. He raised one finger and said,

Number one, you have to have heart. Number two, you have to have…’

whatever. He tried to give us a pep talk. When he was done, he turned around and headed for the door, and Tug came off his stool, and in a Hulk Hogan-strongman stance, he said, ‘Ya gotta believe.’ It kind of broke the air a little bit, loosened some of the tension, and that was where I first heard of it.” – Jerry Koosman

Being a fan of the New York Mets is not just about believing in the team or the organization itself. Being a fan is so much more. At least, for me it is.

There is no denying the heartache that comes with rooting for them. It doesn’t matter what year you became a fan. If you are still one, then you have endured more than your share of depressing moments. You have endured more than any fan should have. From epic collapses to one pitch that crushed the dream of a World Series.

Yet you are still here. Through it all, you remain steadfast in who you chose to root for. Some of you were raised as Mets fans, but you chose to remain one. Nobody twisted your arm. Nobody said you had to remain one for life. That was your decision. Before you go around bashing your team or the fans who believe, look at yourself in the mirror and figure out why you are still around enduring what you deem “embarrassing, a joke, sad, etc.”.

After having spoken with several fans, I’ve realized why some have remained. Some because they were raised as one and just cannot abandon it. Others continue to root for sentimental reasons. Their fathers brought them to the park. Their mothers, aunts, uncles, and/or grandparents shared in the memories.

Some fans have actually gotten life lessons from rooting for the teams they have watched and continue to watch. Still,I learned how to believe. I learned how to endure. One fan told me she learned how to deal with heartbreak because the team kept losing so much and in the worst ways. James T. told me he learned patience because he really feels the organization is heading in the right direction. Thank goodness for small favors.

It is no secret I was born and raised in the Bronx here in New York City. It was hardly a challenge. I grew up as a Mets fan in the ’80s. My father who was born and raised in the Bronx raised me as a Mets fan. Most of my friends were Mets fans growing up. To be honest, I think I was in  junior high school or high school when I first learned about the existence of the Yankees. I can’t remember. My earliest memory of the Yankees is harping on one of my friends about his favorite team in high school.

A leap of faith. I think that’s the best way to describe what Mets fans go through every year when spring training is about to start. Once they hear about pitchers and catchers reporting for duty in Port St. Lucie, they take a leap of faith that this will be the year the team goes for it all. So they believe! They choose to believe. Nobody came up to them with a gun in their hand, pointing it at a Mets fan and saying, “You better believe in this team or else”.

No, believing is something you choose to do.

At this point you are probably thinking that I am crazy and am not making that much sense. Well, if I am crazy, welcome to the Mets Fan Insane Asylum. We have plenty of residents. Here are some of your responses to the question I posted on Facebook this evening:

With all of the bitterness some feel towards this organization and team, why do you still root for them?

Gabbi P. – Its who I grew up rooting for that’s all I can give ya I’m a queens boy first baseball game ever was at shea and I’m not changing nothing about that.

Risa F. – They’re the underdogs and the amazins. I’ve seen them come back from crappy deficits to be WONDERFUL. I’ve loved them since 1984.

Kelly B. – Truthfully, I grew up a Dodgers fan – ended up in Jersey with a Yanks fan – hated them. Saw my Mets in 98 and never looked back. It was love at first sight, Unexplainable.

Tom D. – My dad was a Brooklyn Dodger fan who then moved onto the Mets, and I grew up around that, so I guess you could call me a legacy.

Nestor E. – I followed my uncle who lived in Jersey at the time. Plus, I remember being told off by Yankee fans, which made me NOT want to root for them. Mets fan for life. I was about 11 [years old]. Older guys too. Tried to traumatize me. Then after that, all other yank fans just proved to me that they were fans just out of ignorance of the game, or just to be with the “in crowd”.

Chris R. – Because I was born bleeding orange and blue. They are my first love. I will never betray them. They aren’t pretty big perfect. They are scrappy under dogs who battle win or lose.

Sharon C. – It’s my last connection to my late grandfather and hopefully a continuing connection to my progeny.

And the number one comment of the night goes to:

Paul G. Jr. – A true fan will always complain about their team. especially when it eats at you when they lose all the time and you are a die hard fan; but the Mets days of a championship caliber team are coming. I believe it. The thing is patience and being a die-hard Mets fan is not a good combination.

Source: Amazin’ by Peter Golenbock

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