After a long offseason – and a seemingly longer work stoppage – baseball is finally back!
For us New York Mets fans, each spring brings back the hope that this will in fact be the year the team wins the World Series. It’s that hope that keeps us coming back for more – whether that be more joy or more misery, depending on the year.
Fun fact: Our newly installed Bishop of Brooklyn Robert Brennan is a devout Mets fan, and now that he’s back in New York after a stint in Columbus, Ohio, he can once again closely follow the team he loves.
“It’s a thrill to be back serving in the diocese where the Mets are the home team,” he said.
But wait. Bishop Brennan was born in the Bronx. So that would automatically make him a New York Yankees fan, right? Wrong.
It turns out the bishop was born in 1962, which of course was the year the New York Metropolitans – aka the Lovable Losers – came into existence.
“We were born the same year!” Bishop Brennan said. “My dad was a lifelong Dodger fan. He was a Brooklyn guy who grew up in Ridgewood. So when I was born, we went right to the Mets.”
When the bishop was 6 years old in 1968, his family moved to Lindenhurst, L.I. He finally had a backyard, so he began developing a love for baseball while playing catch with his dad and brother. He also joined the local Little League and began collecting and trading baseball cards – both of which contributed to his passion for America’s pastime.
Right around that time, Bishop Brennan began following the Mets more closely. It just so happens that merely two seasons into his Mets fandom, the bishop enjoyed a World Series title brought to Queens by the 1969 Miracle Mets.
“That was a thrill for a 7-year-old kid seeing his team in the World Series,” Bishop Brennan said.
He says he doesn’t remember too much about the Fall Classic itself, but he can recall some exciting wins throughout that memorable season. He also remembers watching his favorite player, the late great Tom Seaver, toe the rubber for the Amazin’ Mets.
In addition to Tom Terrific, Bishop Brennan always gravitated toward the high-character players who respected the game on and off the field. During the team’s string of success in the late 1980s, the bishop’s favorite players were Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez. In the early-to-mid 2000s, Mike Piazza and David Wright were his go-to guys.
“These are men who brought honor to the game,” said the bishop.
Growing up, Bishop Brennan attended a good number of games at Shea Stadium. Later, when his brother was stationed as a police officer in Flushing Meadows Park, he continued to go to Mets games often.
As a seminarian, he remembers sitting out in the Picnic Area at Shea. In fact, a few of his classmates made it their annual tradition to go to the Mets’ home opener every year, since it coincided with Easter break. The group spoke this year about bringing back the tradition, yet the lockout unfortunately pushed the home opener to Good Friday – a day when the bishop will surely be busy!
With a new season upon us, the Mets are looking good – on paper that is. Three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer joins healthy two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom as a formidable 1-2 punch atop the pitching rotation. All-Stars Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar, and Chris Bassitt are some other talented new faces suiting up in Flushing, along with returning stars Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, and Brandon Nimmo.
Yet as Mets fans, we know that the ball will need to bounce our way again and again for this team to reach its full potential. To be a Mets fan, you must have hope and lots of it.
“I always say, ‘The Mets look terrific in April!’” Bishop Brennan said. “Life isn’t about constant wins. You have your wins and your losses, and maybe some of the struggles make the victories a little bit sweeter.”
It wouldn’t be a new Mets season without the enthusiasm level through the roof. Hopefully with Bishop Brennan here in Brooklyn, the Mets get out to a fast start in April.
And hopefully this season, the Mets not only look good in April, but they also look good in May, June, July, August, September, October, and even early November – if it happens to be God’s will that the Metsies reach the 2022 World Series.
Contact Jim Mancari via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.