There's a certain hesitancy necessary in a moment like this. It's beyond pessimism or skepticism, softer than those two states of mind; it indicates a readiness to dive in head-first, yet with a deliberate recognition that this is how people get hurt.
You've seen this movie before.
To be a fan of a team so thoroughly steeped in historical disappointment is a tricky proposition, requiring a steady hand and guarded heart. To be a fan of a team of a team like that while accessing joy and hope and excitement - those things we generally seek when we choose to be a fan of anything - is difficult. You have to know when to give a shit, flipping that switch from "this team makes me drink, whatthefuckever" to "omg I love u so much." Choosing that moment has massive implications for your blood pressure, social life, bar tab and the respectability of your #hot #internet #takes, so you don't want to fuck it up even though you totally will.
When it happens, you aren't even really making a choice, you're just conceding defeat; conceding that the team we love, despite being a regular ball of douche with regularity, maintains the ability to dominate your consciousness so fucking completely.
I've long known that the reason I adore the Mets so stupidly - the Mets, a team that I chose and continue to choose despite the long list of reasons not to - is that it's a team that feels like home.
Without a doubt, loving a squad like the Mets is so fucking Buffalo.
And now, just when the Sabres and Bills seem to be turning respective corners (albeit on different timelines), the Mets have astonishingly found themselves in a position where the future holds undeniable promise. Like the Sabres and Bills, the improvement playing out before my eyes seems precarious, yet assured; too good to be true, yet affirmed by clear, objectively positive signs of progress.
So, then, the choice remains to be made, and it's a question of how we respond to the varied competing narratives, both personal and communal.
The Mets are the best team in baseball. But it's only April. They have the best player in New York City and what may be the best starting rotation in the majors. But. They're. The. Mets. And, fuck you, it's April. They've made me as happy this month as any Mets team has since 2006, but to what end? What does choosing hope get me, if not just the near certainty that disappointment is around the corner?
An April to remember. An April that creepily resembles the April that year the Bad Guys Won. An April to wonder whether the franchise can grasp success again and this time not so quickly permit it to vanish.
Sure, the "it's way too early, they don't give out trophies for April" crowd is ABSOLUTELY right, but only if you're talking about whether it's time to start hoping for pennants and rings and even playoffs. But that's not all there is; especially not for a season as interminable as that of Major League Baseball. It's not too early to enjoy the goddamned delightful spectacle that has been the April 2015 New York Metropolitans. They are a presumptive contender, a surprising story of the first month of the season and a squad with a depth of talent that should cause baseball's top teams considerable difficulties series-to-series.
It's not breathless optimism. It's deliberately choosing to revel in the unmistakable joy this team is giving, right now.
Without a doubt, the Mets could lose the magic that they have found at any moment, but fuck if I'm going to let the inevitable sorrow of sports ruin the improbable greatness they can bring.
Let's Go Mets.