EPILOGUE: A Reflection on my 2015 Dream Season

Who Woulda Thunk It!

Today is the day after Thanksgiving, and I'm sitting looking out at the Pacific Ocean south of San Francisco. Less than a week ago I arrived home from a nearly two week drive across the United States. NY to CA. I'm trying to merge seven months of being away in New York back into my "regular" life. Finances, family, and friendships. Meanwhile the thoughts and memories of the last eight months roll around in my head. I know what I did. I have pictures to prove it. You know what I did. Many of you participated in my journey in different ways. Some of you were inspired by my acting on my Dream. Some questioned it.

This really wasn't about me. It wasn't supposed to be about me. It was about my love of the New York Mets. I get emotional every time I think about what just transpired during the 2015 Mets season. How does someone act upon a "love" of a sports team? You see it every day with fans dressed in caps and jerseys of their team colors, team logo flags whipping in the wind of car and trucks with back window logo stickers and license plate frames, stadiums full of like minded fans rooting for their team to defeat the other team and their like minded fans. Some fans are casual fans, some fans are considered die-hards. Some don't care who is playing or which sport as long as the game is entertaining to them.

I am a fan of the New York Mets. Have been since 1972. When they lose I am a fan and when they win I am a fan. The losing is hard but after 43 years you get used to it. When they win ... there is nothing that can compare to it. In 53 seasons the Mets have advanced to the World Series just five times. I could tell you I knew way back last November when I was buying my tickets for the 2015 season that the Mets would be going to the World Series. You wouldn't believe it. But I always think the Mets are going to the World Series. Every year. But they don't every year and I live with that hard fact until the very next April when Spring comes around and the grass turns green and the weather gets warm and baseball season starts anew.

In 2015 the Mets not only had a winning season for the first time in 6 years but they won the NL Eastern Division title, captured the National League pennant and advanced to the World Series for the first time since 2000. Just four weeks ago I was sitting at Citi Field watching the Mets in the World Series. Something I had only dreamed of most of my adult life.

Many have said to me that I inspired them to follow their dreams. I shouldn't be the one to do that. Look into your own heart and see just what it is that would be your Dream. It does not have to be a sports team. It can be anything and any experience. Anything from cleaning out those boxes in the garage to climbing Mt. Everest and everything in between. Two people inspired me to realize my Dream and I want to acknowledge them both.

Darren Meenan

Darren Meenan started The7Line just a few years ago "for the fans, by the fans". He is an inspiration to me because what he does he does because of his love for the Mets. When I saw this picture of him in Kansas City during the 2014 World Series where the SF Giants played the KC Royals, I was amazed by his loyalty to go to a World Series game and want that experience and excitement in the home of his beloved Mets. He didn't rant about who we should trade or fire or how we would accomplish that goal, Darren just rooted for it to happen. And in doing so he prepared a path that other Mets fans could follow. I only spoke to Darren briefly during the season [during 7Line outings] but he and his family were a huge part of my being able to even realize my Dream Season and for that I am eternally grateful.

Greg Prince is the co-writer of a popular Mets blog called Faith and Fear in Flushing which prides itself on being a blog for Met fans who like to read. I reached out to him over something he wrote about the Mets and the great Willie Mays. He mentioned a book he had written also called Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets that I found sitting on my bookshelf among dozens of books on the Mets. As I read his personal history as a Mets fan, I too could relate to my life and how the Mets were intertwined together. After reading his book I decided that I wanted to first hand experience the Mets in New York instead of from across America, relegated to the internet, TV, and road trips to San Francisco. The photo here is of Greg and I while tailgating before we both attended our first Mets World Series game.

Skid & Greg Prince

These two guys inspired me with their unashamed support of the Mets and visible love for the Orange and Blue. My only regret is that I can not be alongside them at Citi Field every future game rooting for the Mets. But I will do my best as I always have from across the fruited plain. Sitting with the 7Line was an unbelievable experience every outing and time spent with Greg during the 4 games we sat next to each other were definitely highlights of the year.

Before my journey started I thought of things that could possibly happen during the season. Catch a foul ball [got one in game #79], throw out the first pitch of a game [didn't happen], meet Mets players [a brief photo encounter with rookie Michael Conforto was all], meet Mets TV announcers Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, & Ron Darling [I got a photo with Gary Cohen during World Series game 4], or sit in the owner's box or Jerry Seinfeld's suite [I wish]. I knew that the minimum experience would be I would attend 81 Mets home games. As it was I attended 97 baseball games with only one not involving the Mets [a Yankee-Blue Jay game]. Every inning of all 81 Mets home games, 8 Mets away games, 2 NLDS games against the Dodgers, 2 NLCS games against the Cubs, and 3 World Series games. But the biggest part of my Dream Season was the people who shared it with me.

There were many people that I shared part of my Dream Season with. There are so many I know I will forget someone for sure. Let me acknowledge just a few. There were games where just chatting with the anonymous fan next to me for one game happened. My pregame visits to McFadden's usually brought about a conversation or two that ended up with me sharing my story with amazed fans. And there were fans like Joe who I ran into at Yankee stadium and at Citi Field. There was Murph who we struck up a conversation before a game in April at McFadden's and ended up with a season long friendship that included going to 3 games together and a season long string of texts and phone conversations. There were Citi Field employees like Christine that saw me nearly every game. Some days she saw me happy, some days sad, some tired and some elated. There was Curtis who usually helped people find their seat out by the Shea Bridge, spending a few minutes before the games with me laughing and sharing our blessings in life. And my refreshment specialists Debbie and Helena who gladly served me my first Heineken of the day each game with a warm greeting and smiles.

Curtis at the Shea Bridge

Refreshment Specialists

There was the Guest Services crew of Steve, Lou, Tom, Kath, Ed, Gary, Doug & his wife Cathy, and many others who I spent a few moments with pregame (and rain delays) while looking after me during the season. The security crew of Hal, Michael, John, & Mike that greeted me most games while busy making sure the ballpark was secure and safe. The hard working parking lot crew of Maxie, James, Alex, & Michael who risk life and limb to ensure a (somewhat) safe in and out of the main parking entrance for fans. And Irwin who we gave each other a hard time before each game as I pulled into my usual free Citi parking spot.

Top L-R: Steve, Lou, Tom
Bottom L-R: Alex, James, Max, Michael


There are hundreds of full time employees at Citi Field and these were just a few. I built relationships with these and others but a majority of the people that make a day at the ballpark go smoothly I never had a conversation with. I believe Divine appointments led me to become friends with this small group. Most fans breeze right past the guy waving you to your parking spot, or scanning your ticket, or selling you something to eat or drink, or helping you find your seat. Since I was there every day like they were, it was easy for me to spend a few moments and learn a bit about them. I started a scrapbook in September in which I took pictures with most everyone I had built relationships with, taped them into my book, then wrote something about each person and had them write something in the book also. It seemed a little high school yearbookish at first but the book turned out great and will give me memories for years to come. As I wandered around the ballpark by myself these people and more made me feel at home and they all became members of my Citi Field family. I miss them already.



NY Yankees

I didn't just stay in New York to watch the Mets. My friend Steve and I visited Yankee Stadium across town in April for two Mets-Yankees games. My brother Dan and I drove to Pittsburgh to see the Mets-Pirates series. Then I flew down to Atlanta alone to see the Mets play a three game series in Atlanta. I sat with the 7Line Army during one game in each city. Eight road games and a 1-7 record for the Mets. At this point I decided that my road trips were not productive enough to schedule any more.

One of the other things I really enjoy are rock concerts. I had said that Mets baseball would be my priority in 2015 but I was fortunate enough to see many of my favorite bands. Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock, Saxon, Scorpions, and Judas Priest. The Steve Miller Band and Heart played at Citi Field after games and they were enjoyable too.

I couldn't have survived the season without those that supported me through text, phone calls, and Facebook. But the short visits from California by my friends Steve, Jeff, Mike and my brother Dan were tons of fun. My brother Dennis came down from Rhode Island for a couple games. And having my wife here for three weeks in June-July as well as World Series game 4 made the long summer a bit more tolerable. Not that the summer was bad but it was a long time for someone to spend alone and away from home.

There were three people that I spent the most time with. We all get along great, have the same interests and they can keep me out of trouble. Me, myself, and I. A lot of time was spend by myself. At games, in my apartment, meals, drives to break up my routine. I'm still not sure if that has changed me for better or worse. If I had spent the whole 8 months alone I think the baseball games would have become secondary to me. As it was the many people I have mentioned and even more I have not, helped to keep me focused and on track of my goal of being present for every inning.

When I bought my ticket plan I made sure I had postseason ticket availability. Turns out that was a smart move as I attended seven postseason games including three World Series games. Never in my wildest dreams had I thought I would attend a Mets World Series in New York. I've always wanted to be at a game in which a no hitter was pitched and I got to do that twice this season. Only problem was that it was the Mets that were no hit both times.

If you were someone I met once or saw many times during the season, thank you for your time and sharing a part of my Dream Season with me. If you followed this blog I thank you and hope it was somewhat entertaining. If you watched the postseason and rooted for the Mets, thank you too but be careful, it is habit forming. I have to thank my wonderful wife, Deb, for allowing me to play out my Dream Season. I don't know if there is anything I could ever do to top the 2015 season as the greatest thing I've ever done. Then again you never know what the next chapter may be. As Santa's sign says: Ya Gotta Believe!