Did you know that Tom Hanks topped Forbes’ list of “The 100 Most Trusted People in America?”
As someone who played softball for 18 out of the 23 years of her life, it of course is a give-in that A League of Their Own is in my top favorite movies. But even as a young girl, I’ve always had an issue with that famous line, “There’s no crying in baseball.” I know Tom Hanks was playing a character when he said that, and that’s not really his personal opinion. But YOU WERE WRONG TOM HANKS.
I know that there are plenty of guys out there that invalidate half of what I’m about to say because I am female. And although you have the right to your own opinion, you don’t really understand the magnitude of my love for the game of baseball. You just don’t. Hell, I can barely grasp my own emotions towards it. My whole life, I have been questioned. Wearing my New York Mets attire in elementary and middle school was always an open invitation for some annoying little boy to badger me: “What do you know about baseball!” or “Oh please, like you can even name 5 players on the Mets.” (I then proceeded to name the entire lineup, plus who the up and coming prospects were in the minors. That shut them up pretty quickly.) It didn’t help that of course I was a young yet proud Mets fan in a sea of young Yankees fans (because my childhood was the prime of the Core Four era and the Yankees’ consecutive World Series run, and their parents only taught them to be front runners).
Listen, I won’t start about Yankees fans right now. That’s not the point of this post and that is will cause me to go on a rant for days.
Anyway, so yes, I was a tomboy who loved baseball when I was younger, and now I am an adult woman who has only had her love for baseball grow stronger. Now that I am older and wiser (or so I would like to think), my passion has extended out past just the New York Mets. I have an appreciation for the sport as a whole. It’s just one of those sports where literally anything can happen.
As Brad Pitt quoted in the movie Moneyball, “It’s hard not to get romantic about baseball.” The passionate fans, the ballpark on a beautiful summer night, the cute little things the players do to remind you they’re just a bunch of guys, and then are the big things. Like walk offs. And diving catches. And dominant pitching performances. These all make up my favorite game in the world.
I think history has proven time and time again that there most certainly IS crying in baseball.
One of those bittersweet moments. You’re going to sit there and tell me that at least 75% of the American population, and about 100% of New Yorkers, weren’t completely bawling their eyes out for Derek Jeter’s last game? And you better believe the majority of the players were as well, since he was as much of a role model to them as he was to the fans. Of course most of my examples are going to be about the Mets and New York baseball in general, but fan favorites retiring are a huge deal everywhere, and guaranteed to produce some tears.
Breaking the “Curse of the Bambino” after 86 years? Tears. I personally love this one. It could be because I hate the Yankees and the Red Sox are their rivals, or because I absolutely love the movie Fever Pitch (because I basically am Jimmy Fallon in that movie). Or it could just be because it is a damn good moment in baseball history.
Another broken curse that hits closer to home: Johan Santana throws the first New York Mets’ no hitter in 2012. The Mets were a franchise that although they weren’t always great, always had great pitching. Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlock, Ron Darling, David Cone, Al Leiter, Pedro Martinez, RA Dickey, the list goes on. A lot of these greats go onto other teams later in their career and throw plenty of no hitters and perfect games. But no one has ever thrown a no hitter in a Mets uniform until Johan (and we haven’t had one since). Although with the stellar, young pitching we have today, that may change soon enough. (Side note: If you couldn’t tell from the caption, I’m a tad obsessed with David Wright, my pseudo-husband.)
This is an example of the sad tears in baseball. One of the most infamous moments seen above. BARTMAN. The poor Chicago Cubs and their fans will always remember when this clueless fan basically ruined their chances of a WS, and to this day have been waiting for another chance since 1908. I’m pretty sure that most Chicagoans have weekly crying sessions with cries of “Curse you Bartman!”
My personal “CURSE YOU” in tears moment: Carlos Beltran watching a called third strike to end a bases loaded, bottom of the 9th Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. To reiterate the caption of the picture above, as I am typing this I feel my blood pressure rising and my head screaming “WHAT IF?!” We had it that year. We had it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was 13 when this happened, and I remember it like it was yesterday. I cried myself to sleep that night, and I stayed out sick from school the next day, partially to recover from the trauma, and partially to avoid very mean Yankees fans. And I know for a fact I wasn’t alone in that.
The best emotional moments in baseball are the big home runs and the walk offs. I’m going to use three New York Mets examples, once again. Deal with it, they are my lovable losers and I will talk about them any chance I get.
Big Emotions #1: Robin Ventura’s Grand Slam Single
These are the damn right adorable walk off moments I was talking about earlier. How can any baseball fan NOT get emotional, or at least have a huge grin, whenever a team crowds a plate or mobs a teammate? No better example that the Mets in the 1999 NLCS, where the celebration was so big that Ventura couldn’t even make it all the way around the bases to collect his walk off grand slam. Forever known as the “Grand Slam Single.”
Big Emotions #2: Mike Piazza’s Love Letter to New York
Chills and tears, every time. Mike Piazza is still to this day my favorite baseball player of all time (sorry David, even before you. You’re a close second though!). Why? Because he constantly was clutch, and a great personality to have on a team. And when he hit this home run in the first game back, it didn’t matter if you weren’t a Mets fan. Every American that bore witness to that shed at LEAST one tear. This is a great example of why I love baseball so much. It’s just a game, but it brings people together and can even uplift them in bad times. It’s the world’s greatest distraction.
And finally, the one that has been ruling headlines for the last week…
Big Emotions #3: Wilmer Flores’ Tears to Cheers
By now everyone who knows baseball knows this story. I explained the whole almost-a-former-Met Wilmer Flores situation in my previous post (see: tears). The 23 year old openly cried on the field after learning the Mets were about to trade him. The kid has been in the Mets organization since they drafted him when he was only 16 years old. Plus, the rumors were he was being traded to MILWAUKEE. You would cry too. Again, as everyone knows, the deal fell through, and Flores remained a Met.
What did he do with this experience? He takes the next day off, and then the day after that…
I highly recommend watching all 3 of those videos if you want sick chills.
So as Wilmer approaches home plate and his teammates are about to mob him, he grabs the Mets writing on his shirt. The message is clear: This is my team and I don’t want to go anywhere. Wilmer has consistently been coming in clutch ever since that “incident.” The way the home (and even away) crowds scream chants of “WILMER FLORES!” are unreal. The fans are showing their respect for the kid, and that’s cry-worthy right there within itself.
There are millions of other moments that make this game so emotional. It would be impossible to name them all. All I’m saying is, if you feel overwhelmed by how much you love baseball, go ahead and have a good cry. You’re allowed, and you’re not the only one.