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Legends On Deck

How I Rediscovered My Love for Baseball

When it comes to the game of baseball, I truly cannot describe how I fell head over heels with the game again. I never felt like it would ever happen again.

As a kid, I loved the baseball diamond. Playing catch with my dad, shagging fly balls (or at least attempting to), and swinging the bat was a fun, daily occurrence. I grew up a die-hard Yankees fan, believing strongly in the Don Mattingly-led Yankees, especially after they won the first ever AL Wild Card in 1995. Hell, the season before, the day before the 1994 Strike began, I was at a rain-out in Baltimore at Camden Yards when the Orioles and Red Sox were scheduled to play. When the Yanks won the 1996 World Series, I was more excited than anyone could ever imagine. I absolutely loved baseball.

Then, Little League stepped in.

I had an awful two years with Little League when I stopped playing in 1997. I never gained any playing time, my teammates always made fun of me, and my coach actually told me I’d never improve. It broke my heart, despite how much I tried to improve. Seeing the failures of my own athletic endeavors caused me to fall out of love with the game.

Over the next 10 years, baseball and I started to keep our distance. Granted, I went to a handful of ballgames and watched some playoff battles, but I kept a distance. One major change from my fandom was the switch of my loyalty from the Pinstripes to the Blue and Orange Brigade in 2004. This might not be the greatest thing to say, but after Alex Rodriguez and his monster contract got traded to the Yankees, I officially stopped believing in the Bronx Bombers, even at a casual stance. I knew that, even at 19 years old, the Yankees were attempting to buy their team to win a World Series. I despised it, and started following the Mets, which pleased my Dad to no-end.

Although the switching of allegiances was an easy choice, falling truly back in love with it was another story. I definitely had my interests split into several different pies: trying to make a broadcasting career in pro wrestling, attempting (and ultimately getting) a beautiful girlfriend, starting a podcast, and working long hours took my attention away. In my head, baseball is a long-term commitment. You can’t just be half in. You have to be in all the way and truly be enthralled with the game. Every aspect, whether it’s team loyalty, statistics, tuning into every game, or even through tabloid fodder, baseball is a commitment.

Ultimately, despite my futile attempts to keep it away, I rediscovered my love thanks to a friend, a vision, and a YouTube show in 2013.

Smiley face

In 2011, I started becoming friends with a local pro wrestler from Edison, NJ named Leon St. Giovanni. Our mutual love for pro wrestling bonded our friendship. After working together on camera with some storylines, we started hanging out on a personal level. The first time I ever came over to his house, I witnessed the Mecca of Mets memorabilia. A framed picture of the Mets pitching staff in 1986, a Mo Vaughn street sign, and a few Mets jerseys were spread apart his room, but it wasn’t until I saw the “crème de la crème” hanging smack dab in the center of his room: a hand drawn and colored Dwight “Doc” Gooden banner, which was made by his father in 1984 for “Banner Day” at Shea Stadium and was brought to Shea by his Uncle. Completely admiring his Mets fandom, I knew right there I was back into baseball.

Over the next couple of years, LSG and I bonded over wrestling and baseball. Going to baseball games with our mutual friend Tim, we were showing our loyalty and fandom to the Metropolitans. Every time a story came out or a big moment in a game took place, we were either on Facebook or on the phone talking about it. We both called each other and played a game of phone tag when Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in New York Mets history in 2012. There were so many fun memories during that time period.

However, I knew there was something more fun that could be done. I scoured YouTube and other Mets websites and searched for content that revolved around the Blue and Orange Brigade. There were no real standout YouTube shows or podcasts online regarding Mets baseball. If there was, they were from the beginning of the 2010s. I knew there was an opportunity to mix our fandom and to have some fun. I hit up LSG and asked him he would want to do a YouTube show based around the Mets. He instantly agreed. After going back and forth for a little on the concept and the name, we came up with a simple but effective title: ANGRY METS GUYS.

That was IT. From that point forward, I fell fully and lovingly back into baseball. Thanks to AMG, I started really keeping up with old school statistics regarding the sport and watching every game possible. LSG and I came up with a funny concept: find a way to discuss positivity with the organization when no one else would. Meanwhile, as the die-hard fans we were, if the Mets weren’t playing up-to-snuff in our mind, we started ranting and raving.

Throughout 2013, there were so many little concepts and stories we kept up with. There was my infatuation with Eric Young, Jr. as the modern day Kevin Mitchell. There was LSG’s hatred of Jordany Valdespin. We also had mutual hatred for my little brother and die-hard Yankee fan B-Sizzle. I would allow a segment on the show called Stats from the Hat, where I would bring up a moment from Mets history. Lastly, we even had our own “METScot” named Butch, named after Mets great Butch Huskey.

Regardless, our climax came at the last day of the regular season in 2013, when both of us (alongside B-Sizzle, my beautiful girlfriend, and LSG’s cousin Crimson OG) went to Mike Piazza Hall of Fame Day at Citi Field, when the legendary catcher got inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame. It was such an amazing day. Here’s the video of one of the best days of my life:

After this day, we had to stop doing the show. LSG got insanely busy with life and his wrestling career, but our fandom never died. Ultimately, I started the Angry Mets Guy Blog on my website, which thanks to a quote from LoD’s David Conde that I used, ultimately led to me writing for this website. I can honestly say that thanks to my friend LSG and the web show that we started back in 2013, I wouldn’t have rediscovered my love for baseball. For that, I owe him more than he knows. Thanks LSG, for really helping me gain my passion back for something that I once lost.

With that said, I have to go. It’s time to rewatch the “Baseball” documentary on VHS again. The passion is running wild.

Jon Harder

Editor at Legends On Deck
Jon was born in Queens and now resides in New Jersey. He is a die-hard Mets fan and believes HoJo should be in the Mets Hall of Fame. Not only is Jon a contributing writer on Legends On Deck, but he also is the founder of @HardwayHQ, host of the #TheHardwayPodcast and somewhat plays Air Hockey on http://HardwayHQ.com. You can follow Jon on Twitter @TheJonHarder