Thursday, April 03, 2014

We must embrace opportunities to shine like Sid Fernandez in the Big 5-0

I’m not freaking out about 50.


I think the only people who should be depressed about aging are those sad souls who have not experienced amazing things and have not been surrounded by people who love them.

With those two things in mind, I recognize that I have been blessed far beyond what I deserve.

If I were a baseball team, we’d be wearing a sweet patch with golden numbers.  Making it this far in reasonably good shape is reason to celebrate.

So in keeping with tradition, we are declaring this the Sid Fernandez birthday.

Fernandez, of course, wore number 50 to salute his native land of Hawaii.

By the way, this tradition is going to get more challenging as we move into numerical territory frequented largely by coaches and players who start spring training in the major league camp but don't necessarily finish there.

But El Sid is a worthy representative of our arrival at the mid-century mark.

He was a little chunky, and a little inconsistent. He could be frustrating. I can relate. 

But when Sid had everything working, he was pretty special.

When the Mets needed him most, Sid came through. 

The Mets came out a little flat in the deciding Game Seven of the 1986 World Series after the magical comeback of Game Six.

Down 3-0 in the fourth, Ron Darling allowed another runner. The game -- and the championship -- seemed to be slipping away.

Davey Johnson pushed Sid from the rotation to the bullpen during the Series because he feared the Red Sox would tee off on the lefty in cozy Fenway Park. That had to hurt.

But with the Series on the line in Game Seven and fellow Hawaiian Darling in trouble, Davey called for Sid. 

He rose to the moment, stopping the bleeding and shutting the door. He was masterful. And the Mets’ bats finally caught fire and roared back to win the game and the Series.

There are times in life when we are counted out and feel passed over. And there are moments when we are given our chances to shine.  As my friend Jeff said, we are given opportunities to excel. 

So our goal for year 50 is to embrace those moments, like Sid.

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