(from somewhere in a swamp, June 2024)

To paraphrase Robert Frost (who loved baseball, by the way),
a Met game in 2024 begins in joy – a scoreless tie in the first,
with the potential for a victory, the start of a winning streak and
the fantasy of a march toward a playoff position – but ends,
not in the wisdom that Frost preferred but in the ordinary misery
of another loss and the free-fall down the abyss whose ceiling
is a mediocre equal won-loss record. Welcome to this season’s
version of the New York Mess. (That is not a typo, but it sure is
typical for those of us condemned to adhere to our home team
come what May . . . and June, July, all the way till the Fall
Classic, which we all watch as others battle, or more likely just

Frost in “Birches” contrasts the civilized game of baseball to the
wild and imaginative play of a boy swinging on a birch branch but
Frost would see no regimental play if he could see my Mets today.
I would rather see them as that child – having fun, eschewing rules,
replacing them with raw enthusiasm for the game, feeding off the
energy of each other and bonding as they swing . . . their bats . . .
or sling . . . their pitches . . . or cling . . . to fielded balls.
“One could do worse than be a ” lover of the game, a winner rather
than a whiner.

Frost could relate to a suffering Met fan easily, having grown up
rooting for the Red Sox, attending games in Fenway Park, waiting
for them to win a Series they would not do in his prime time of life
and loving The Splendid Splinter as Met fans have had their hapless
heroes since 1986. Frost once wrote that he was never more at
home in the U. S. A. than when he sat in the stands and witnessed
a baseball game. I wonder how he’d reach out to a fellow fan, one
who has not seen his Mets win the Championship in almost 40 years.
I believe he would readily acknowledge the fragile fraternity among
supporters of mediocre, star-crossed teams. He was a fan of the
road “less traveled by” and certainly both his team in his time and
mine in mine have gotten lost far more than reached the land of
diamonds and of pearls. I would be proud to clap him on the back,
buy him a box of Cracker Jack and trade stories of rare special
victories. We totally devoted fans can recognize devotion as a
poet recognizes Truth and Wisdom. Just ask me – or Robert Frost.