I’ve never seen the Mets win the World Series. I’ve also never had a kid.
Let me reassure you up front: I’m not equating the Mets winning a World Series with the birth of my son. What kind of superficial jerk would do that? One is a life-altering, generational, once- or twice-in-a-lifetime nexus moment, the other is the birth of a child.
Just kidding. Just 99% sure that I’m kidding.
My mind is occupied a lot these days with thoughts of early October and what happens in the weeks after. That’s when my wife is due to give birth to our first child, a boy. It’s also the day after the Mets’ last regular-season game, which for the first time in six years does not figure to be their very last game of the year.
Again, not equating. This is just what occupies my brain space.
I’ve thought about fatherhood and the Mets winning the World Series, separately, for a very long time. And here we are, August 2022, definitely two months away from the former and potentially two months away from the latter.
There should be a word for the anticipation of something that’s paradoxically both expected and unexpected. Something you have seen happen to many people before — both up close and from a vast distance — but have never experienced yourself. Something in which you know what the physical and emotional burdens or rewards will be, but will have no idea how you’d react to those burdens and rewards. Something in which you know exactly what to expect, but know exactly nothing about what to expect.
So what happens after September? My mind wanders to a delirious month that will at once be the most unforgettable and haziest few weeks of my life. I’m going to have a newborn son. And my favorite baseball team might just compete for its first World Series in my lifetime with a team as good as any in my living memory.
I know how stupid this is all going to sound as soon as we have our son. There’s not going to be much room for a new dad to experience a Mets postseason run, certainly not in the way I experienced it when I was 25, standing rank-and-file with The 7 Line Army at home games, knocking beers over in frustration at this bar and that for away games. I’ve been told the first few weeks of being a parent doesn’t leave much time for extracurriculars. The brain fog of caring for a newborn will probably be so dense that I might just forget what playoff baseball even is, let alone that my team is making the first of its traditional twice-in-a-decade appearance on the stage.
Part of me wishes the Mets were less good this year. It’s like, come on, really guys? You picked this October? The one October where I’ll need to care for a human being whose days on Planet Earth number in the single digits? Where was the forethought? Where was the planning? Didn’t think a playoff run during Jacob deGrom’s Cy Young seasons in 2018 and 2019 made more synergistic sense? Couldn’t squeeze just a little bit more out of last year’s team? No, I suppose not. Even when the Mets are historically good they find ways to play cosmic jokes on their fans.
But the much bigger part of me is so happy the Mets are good this year. My son is due in October, which would typically mean he’d be born after their season was over (85% of Mets seasons have ended in the regular season, so statistically speaking, this is all fairly remarkable). Because the Mets will make the postseason this year, it’ll be both my last season as a Mets fan who is not a dad and my first season as a Mets fan who is a dad. That’s pretty cool. I already have warm feelings thinking about a future version of myself reminiscing about that first month of my son’s life, where we got to watch the NLDS, and perhaps the NLCS, and perhaps the World Series, together. Me, a 32-year-old who has only seen the Mets in the playoffs four-and-a-half times in his entire life, and him, a weeks-old literal babe in arms who will be 1 for 1. Of course, he’s not going to remember this Mets team or any Mets team until 2030 or so, but I certainly wouldn’t let him forget October 2022.
None of these memories have happened yet. It’s all hypothetical (the Mets winning the World Series, not the baby. The baby is not hypothetical. He is coming and the stupid Mets have no say in the matter). I still have no idea what to expect. I know how stressed Mets postseason baseball makes me and I can only imagine how stressed being a new parent will make me. I can literally only imagine it.
Soon it will be real. I’ll return to this piece and laugh so hard at this blissfully unaware and painfully naive version of myself. It won’t be because he thought he had even the slightest clue about what fatherhood was like. It’ll be because he really thought the Mets had a shot to win the World Series. Yikes.