Tuesday, October 10, 2006

David Brooks: The Fate of the Mets [J. Mark English]

"How I Lost and Then Regained My Respect for David Brooks" would be more of an appropriate title for this post.
David Brooks would be best described as a Neo-Con commentator who writes for the New York Times Op-ed section, and has a weekly spot on the Lehrer Newshour with Jim Lehrer opposite of Mark Shields.
In early 2005, Mr. Brooks used his op-ed space in the Times to dabble on about his conflicting feelings towards whether to continue to root for the New York Mets, or the new team that had just moved to Washington, D.C., the Nationals. In the piece Mr. Brooks wrote:
If you had chanced upon the front door of Grace Church School on lower Broadway on a sunny morning in the fall of 1969, you might have come upon a radiant boy clutching a brown paper bag that contained a piece of sacred turf harvested from Shea Stadium, where the New York Mets had recently won the world championship of baseball.
That boy grew up, slightly, and in the early spring of 1986, he vowed that he would ask his girlfriend to marry him the day the Mets won their 30th game of the season. The Mets got off to an unnervingly fast start that year, and the young man decided to postpone his proposal until the 40th win. But he followed through with it, and the marriage has even endured what his wife calls his Metsomnia - his tendency to toss and turn sleeplessly after his favorite baseball team has suffered a painful defeat.
And yet we are the playthings of fate and lead lives filled with strange twists, and I (for it is time to throw off the artfully constructed mask) now find myself contemplating the uncontemplatable: that I will switch my allegiance from the beloved Mets to the new team of my adopted town. I will become a fan of the Washington Nationals.
Here is where I lost my respect for Mr. Brooks. I will never understand how a person who claims to be a fan of team could just jump ship to another team. And it would be fine if it were just anybody, but Mr. Brooks is someone who makes his living off of his ideas and beliefs. If his beliefs in teams...especially the ones he put his heart and soul into rooting for for so long can change at the flick of a switch...then would it not stand to reason that his ideas, his philosophy, his core beliefs can also just as easily be swayed? What kind of man is this, then can be so fickle and yet hold such power in the world of exchanging important ideas?
Two days ago, Mr. Brooks, demonstrated that he could not abandon the team he grew up with. Instead of allowing his heart to change to a new team, his heart remained with the Amazin' Mets.
And two days ago, Mr. Brooks gave one of the most glorious pieces ever written about a baseball team. Connecting the fate of the Greek Gods to the fate of a baseball team. Here is a taste of what he wrote:
If this were a Christian universe, they would be saved by grace. If this were a Jewish universe, they would be comforted by more food. But baseball exists in a Homeric universe, where none can escape the iron shaft of fate. Soon the foaming crowds at Shea will grow silent as the tomb. The dugouts will gape manless and the world’s attention will shift to the Mannings and Madden, to Roethlisberger and Parcells, as winter comes too soon.
And so perhaps what matters now is one’s comportment in the face of what is to come, the willingness to embrace the full truth of the unchangeable destiny.
We stand at the Hot Gates of Thermopylae, waiting for Pujols or Swisher. We suffer and yet stand firm. We know opposing balls will fly off walls. We know double-play-turning shortstops will leap like rams. But we will greet these blows with an acceptance that is not resignation. We’ll greet them with a clear soul and with a composure that affirms the dignity of life and unites suffering and knowledge. A great soul in agony transcends misery and achieves immortality, especially in the upper decks.
Aeschylus writes: “God, whose law it is that he who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget, falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despite, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.”
This is how a true Mets fan greets impending loss. And come to think of it, this is not bad preparation for what’s about to befall Republicans, either.
In so many ways fate is the ultimate determinator in the outcome of a baseball game. The ball going through Bill Buckner's legs, Kirk Gibsons heroic homerun, Carlton Fisk willing the ball fair with his hands... Thank you Mr. Brooks for putting into words what many of us alright feel deep down about the great game of baseball.