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by Daniel Meeter
I seen two no-hitters in my life. I go to like maybe two games a year, and I never seen a grand slam, but I seen two no-hitters. I seen Dwight Gooden’s no-hitter that he pitched as a Yankee, at Yankee Stadium, the shoulda-been, because he shoulda pitched it as a Met, but for his bad life-style that ruined his great potential and got him traded away. And I saw Santana’s no-hitter at Citifield, that he shouldna pitched. They shoulda taken him out, because that no-hitter was his last good game, and it ruined his career.
The Mets are cursed. God does not love the Mets. It’s a given in New York that God is a Yankee fan. The only time the New York Times puts a Mets story first is when the Yanks are outa contention. It’s like the Ten Tribes and Judah, it’s like Saul and David. God loved David and didn’t like Saul. It’s like Esau and Jacob. “Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated.” It isn’t fair, but it’s election, it’s predestination.
It’s really unfair because in the case of the Mets, they are the younger team. Jacob was younger, David was younger, and Judah was not the first-born. The Mets were an afterthought in New York, a compensation for the departures of the Dodgers and the Giants. And they’re an outer-borough team. Manifestly so. They play in Queens! I know the Yankees play in the Bronx, but if you’ll notice, as you can’t help it when you’re driving on the Major Deegan Expressway or the Harlem River Drive, the sign on the stadium is facing Manhattan. And the guys in the stands are still wearing their shirts and ties from the office. They’ll go home to Montclair or Connecticut.
I can remember as a child, whenever we drove from our house in Brooklyn to my grandparents in Jersey, we’d be coming up to the George Washington Bridge on either side of the Harlem River, and there it was in glory, Yankee Stadium, with its name in great letters for all to see (unless you were looking from the Bronx!), and also the name of the team they were playing. Even today, on that new ballpark where the Yankees play (don’t you dare call it “Yankee Stadium”—it’s an insult) the sign rejoices in unearned glory.
So we from the Outer Boroughs are reduced to love this other team that God forgets. The Mets. Like the Ten Tribes of the North. Some of the prophets promised the Ten Tribes would return. Those prophets, as A. A. van Ruler pointed out, had their prophecies unfulfilled. That election was cancelled.
Yes, we Mets fans had our two World Series wins. (Don’t mention how many the Yankees won.) The first one in 1969 and the second in 1986. The first one was the Exodus and the second was King David. Apart from the Exodus and King David, the whole Old Testament is one sad story of defeat. This last World Series, for example. The Mets played their games like they did not deserve to be there.
The Mets are cursed. I was affected by that curse. In the autumn of 1985 I sat for my comps for my Ph.D. I shoulda got an Honors in The Reformation. I only got a Pass. I know why. I knew it when I finished writing it. That summer I had been watching Dwight Gooden pitch. How could you not? I had the TV up there on my desk in the parsonage. I tried to do two things at the same time—map out my essays on Luther and Calvin and watch Dwight Gooden pitch. He was winning every game, the sweat pouring off him (which he liked) and the strikes going in. He was the Doctor, Doctor K. Calvin never got his doctorate. I did, but no thanks to Dwight Gooden.
“He comes to make his blessings flow where’er the curse is found, where’er the curse is found, where’er, where’er the curse is found.” You can’t predict election, that’s the thing. Bishop N. T. Wright has written volumes on St. Paul’s view of the movement of election to the Outer Boroughs, may I say. So maybe if the Mets can undo their remarkably bad history of trading deals, they might replace Cespedes and Murphy and Duda with players you can count on.
Look, I don’t hate the Yankees. I loved them as a child, before there were the Mets. Mickey Mantle was like a god to me. I don’t hate Judah. But I’m from the tribe of Dan, Galilee of the Gentiles, way Outer Borough. But haven’t we had enough of Jerusalem? Hasn’t the momentum moved to Antioch?
I consider that my two no-hitters are a secret pledge to me. I go to only a couple games a year, but I’ve seen two no-hitters! I should say that the universe has given me, quite undeserving, two no-hitters. That means there’s meaning. There is hope. “Now who hopes for what he can see?” Election is something you cannot see nor project, nor certainly “presume” upon. (I consider Kuyper’s “presumptive regeneration” to be as bad as the designated hitter.) I think you have to wait for it, you have to wait for the fulfilling of the “whole number of the elect.” And so, on the pledge, I wait.
The arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. Is that true for baseball? The Royals beat the Mets last year at their own game, playing “small ball,” like the Royals were the National League team, while the Mets were looking for home runs. Big mistake. Let them learn the error of their ways, and return to the rock from which they were hewn. They’ve got the pitching arms, now just get on base. If you play right, justice will come around to you. You’re still going to lose those fifty games, but justice will come around to you.
The Canons of Dort exhort us, when we doubt our standing, to just hold fast to the promises and wait for a season of surer comfort. We wait. We wait for the next season. And things are moving around us. The Outer Boroughs are where the creative action is. Everybody wants to go to Queens because there’s no more room in Brooklyn. And the best food in the city, dollar for dollar, is along the 7 train. We wait while things are catching up to us and moving past us. There is a flow around us that we ride upon.
I don’t deserve to have seen two no-hitters, because I don’t go to games enough. But the undeserving is the point, of course. Election is not about deserving. I’m standing on the pledge, the miracle, the wonder. Salvation comes to the rejected. The curse is reversed. I’m sticking with the Mets.
We thank guest blogger Daniel Meeter for today’s post. Daniel is the pastor of Old First Reformed Church in Brooklyn, New York.
Editor’s Note: Today’s blog celebrates the beginning of baseball’s spring training and continues a long tradition, dating back to the hallowed Reformed Journal, of reflecting theologically on baseball. Sadly, most of those reflections involved the Detroit Tigers, with numerous others on the Chicago Cubs (remember their first and third combination of Grace and Law?). We are grateful to Daniel for continuing the tradition, for expanding the conversation to include the Mets, and we invite you, our readers, to go and do likewise. We welcome your theological reflections on baseball to keep this tradition alive.
Daniel, Daniel, Daniel…(Sigh), speaking badly of the Mets might be a sign of being on the Dort “Bad List.” (Sigh)
It’s all about ‘in the big inning…’
Some teams never get it! Love the Bronx Bombers only second to the beloved (and hated ) Tigers in the motor city.