Hello, I’m Chris Wilcox, your lead blogger here at BlueandOrange.net. You’ll also sometimes see me referred to as “Cox” here; there is no phallic reference there. It is simply the last three letters of my last name, and it was a nickname I’ve had since high school that has stuck into adulthood. I am a twenty-seven year old Mets fan who has lived most of my life in Yardville, New Jersey, and have been a Mets fan since I was nine years old.
How did I become a Mets fan? Well, like most people between the ages of 25-35, the Mets were the good team when I was growing up, so everybody I knew were Mets fans. Not wanting to go against the crowd, I threw my hat in with them. Unlike all the Yankees fans, who jumped off the bandwagon once the Mets went into the toilet and began rooting for the spawns of Satan, I stuck with the Mets even through some lean years.
I remember the very first Mets game I ever attended. It was in 1989, a night game at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. The Mets won the game, and aftewards I got my first experience with dickhead Philadelphia sports fans. A drunken idiot knocked the Mets cap off of my head as I was exiting the building. Keep in mind, I was ten at the time. This started a hatred of all things related to Philadelphia sports which may have reached a peak in 1999, when Philadelphia Eagles fans cheered after Irvin was removed from the field on a stretcher at Veterans Stadium.
The first Mets game I attended at Shea Stadium was on October 2, 1992. I won tickets in a Bubblicious promotion that my sister entered me in, and got to sit in the Picnic Area for free. The game may have meant nothing in the standings but it meant something for me just to be at Shea. The Mets won 6-3, and my dad drunkenly heckled Danny Cox in the visitor’s bullpen, because he wouldn’t stop warming up to sign an autograph for me. To this day, my dad takes credit for Cox’s performance in the game (he allowed two runs in the bottom of the eighth to seal the game for the Mets). Afterwards, we sat in god-awful stadium traffic and my dad told me that was the last time he’d ever take me to Shea Stadium. He kept good on his word, and it would be several years before I would return to Shea.
For a good stretch, I didn’t even really want to go back. The player’s strike of 1994 led to me taking a break from baseball, not only because the 1994 season conluded without a champion, but the damn strike began on my fifteenth birthday. So for a few years, I found other sports to carry my attention. In 1998, this changed for me, as it did a lot of people. First, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa had their epic home run showdown. For a lot of people, post-steroids this has lost some luster, but you know…it got me back into baseball again, so it’s hard for me to view it completely negatively.
What clinched it for me were the events of May 22, 1998. On that day, the Mets sent Preston Wilson and Ed Yarnall to the Florida Marlins for Mike Piazza. The Mets, slowly and steadily improving, now had a franchise player to build around. With my love of baseball reinstituted, it was time to make a comeback. On August 2, 1998, I returned to Shea Stadium, without my dad but with some friends, to see the Mets play the Dodgers on Negro League Baseball Cap day (though my dad wasn’t at the game, he does still wear his Negro League baseball cap that I picked up that afternoon). The Mets beat the Dodgers 9-3, and suddenly, I was a baseball fan again.
The next year, 1999, saw the start of a tradition. Me and my friend Joe, a fellow student at Monmouth University, hit our first home opener. From 1999 until recently, we attended every single Mets home opener together, adding my friend Travis, also a Monmouth student, to the mix a few years later. Even when we can’t get tickets to the game, we at least watch the Mets’ first game together. My friends and I started hitting more games because we found that whenever we hit games together, the Mets would always find a way to win. Unfortunately, the winning streak came to an end but it hasn’t kept us from hitting more games, where the Mets still come out on top more often than not.
The absolute pinnacle of our fandom was Game 4 of the 2000 NLDS against the Giants. There were eight of us there for this one. We sat in the first row of the Upper Boxes behind home plate, for my money the best seats I’ve ever had at a Mets game, an absolute perfect view of the ballpark. Bobby Jones one-hit the Giants 1-0, and the Mets clinched a spot in the NLCS. I’ve been to many games at Shea, and I’ve never felt that place rock like it did that night. It was so awesome I keep the ticket stub in my wallet to this day. Just don’t talk to Joe about the game; he had to work RA duty that night back at Monmouth, and had to settle for watching the game on TV. I haven’t let him forget that since; the last words I ever say to Joe will likely somehow reference that game.
Since then, there’s been some highs for Mets fans, and unfortunately many more lows. A common topic of conversation whenever I was among my friends has been “What’s wrong with the Mets?” So last year, instead of bitching about the Mets only amongst my friends, I decided to take my grievances to the internet. With help from my friend, the Mighty MJD, I set up the very blog you’re reading now. The only difference has been, there has been far less to bitch about in 2006. Still, despite less to complain about, I think we’ve pumped out some good stuff since MiracleMets.net started, and there’s more to come.
When I’m not writing about the Mets, I still enjoy following other sports. I’m a fan of the New Jersey Nets, New Jersey Devils, and Dallas Cowboys in the NBA, NHL, and NFL, respectively. I’m not a huge college football fan, but I am a small FSU fan, and being a New Jersey native, I root for the mighty Rutgers University, as well as my alma mater Monmouth Hawks. I’ve started following some English soccer, or “football,” as they call it over there, and I’ve chosen Arsenal as my team; we’ll see how this works out.
Besides sports, I’m a big movie and TV fan, and a music fan as well.
And I think that sums everything up pretty nicely. I’m glad you made your way over to BlueAndOrange.net, and I hope you stick around, because there’s only more goodness to come here.