Even at this joyous time of year, I (Evander) cannot help remembering the terrible-Yankees years: the tsunami of 1965 (25 games out of first place); 1966 (26.5 games out and in the cellar! just below the Red Sox); 1967 (20 games out, at least in ninth place rather than last: but the Red Sox would see themselves catapulted to the World Series); 1968 (a return to respectability. a mere 20 games out again, but leading what used to be called The Second Division with a .512 “winning” percentage); 1969 (don’t even want to think about the 28-and-a-half games out of the newly carved Eastern Division lead, Bobby Cox at third base, Mickey Mantle gone, and, oh yes, New York anointed its Miracle Mets).
So much for the Yankees during the height of The Counterculture. (Anybody heard of Woodstock? That was a nation even before there was a Red Sox Nation.)
Of course, all of you born after the Mets’s Last Hurrah in 1986 only know The Successful New York Team. I remember the earlier times. Mike Burke. Horace Clarke. The aforementioned Bobby Cox. I had come to the conclusion 2011 would be my 1965 all over again, and the Mets might begin to be fun again. Then, the Mets started losing something like seven in a row. Their Wagnerian-sized hurler, Chris Young, is on the shelf. Who knows when we see Jason Bay? though “they” say “soon.” So, to all the New York fans in fear we are returning to those other, older, the-glass-is-always-half-empty times, keep in mind these words, at this most optimistic time of year, from W. H. Auden:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.