My grandfather grew up in Brooklyn as a Dodgers fan. Growing up, he played hooky from school to watch Jackie Robinson, and the only time I’ve seen him tear up was when he talked about how poorly the other players treated Jackie because of the color of his skin. Shortly after the Dodgers left for LA and the Mets were founded, he transitioned his allegiance to the Mets.
I remember watching Mets games with him when I was little (and not so little) and how upset he’d get when they’d throw a game away, as they’re wont to do. But even during their worst seasons, he’d still watch every game on TV. My uncle’s partner went so far as to have a small baseball-shaped trophy made for him saying, “World’s greatest Met fan.”
Today he’s 92. A few years ago he was in the hospital with heart problems and it really took a toll on him. This year was the first time in a long time that he felt well enough to go to a Mets game. On the way out of Citi Field, he told someone working there, “See you in the series.” Even though I now live in Chicago, I’m glad he’s right.
I’ve been so lucky to have had all four of my grandparents for my whole life. But I’m a bit scared of what it’ll be like when I can’t swing by grandparents’ house in Stamford for dinner and a comfy bed. It means a lot to me that my grandfather, who has always loved baseball, will get to see the Mets play in (and hopefully win…) one more World Series, and I’ll get to share that with him.
When I interviewed him about his life a few years ago, he said that love was the thing that kept him going. I hope that the Mets are able to return the love he’s poured into them all these years.