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mrs. v. darling | metsgrrl.com

mrs. v. darling

My dear friend V. [previously introduced on this blog here] was visiting from Seattle two weeks ago, and I was excited because this was the only way she’d ever really get to see what was supposed to be my Mets Weekly debut. (Note: Hot Foot sez it’s now slated for 12/1. We shall see.)

Instead, she had to suffer through an entire episode of “A Profile In Orange and Blue”. My problem with this particular feature is not the content or the writing, but because of that ridiculous, unnecessary British accent. Even V., as a non-fan, was mortified. “They’re not legitimizing the content by using a British accent to talk about American baseball,” was her comment. Seriously, MW, let’s revise that feature for next season, please?

The only good thing that came out of this waste of a half-hour was V. remembering — seemingly out of nowhere — her teenage girl-crush on Ron Darling.
“You know, I used to have a crush on one of the Mets…”
“What?! Who?”
“He had dark hair….”
“What year?”
“I don’t remember.”
We keep watching.
“Wait, he played the same time as Strawberry, I remember that.”
I would have guessed the 86 Mets, but now I’ve more or less confirmed my theory. I keep digging.
“Keith Hernandez?”
“No, not him… I remember he owned a restaurant?”
I am dying to start text-messaging TBF but he is working today and I do not want to disturb him. I grab the computer and start Googling.
“Isn’t there a yearbook TBF has?” V. asks.
“No, no book.”
“Must be something on the internet?”
“I’m looking.”
As I look, and V. continues to watch Mets Weekly, more and more crumbs of memory come out.
I finally dug out the 1986 Mets Weekly special and all of a sudden-
“That’s it! Ron– Darling! I remember thinking how cool my name would be if we got married. Mrs. V. Darling.”
I cackle. V. grabs her laptop and heads for Wikipedia. She finds Ron’s entry, and sighs.
“Now, why would they do that? They have this TINY little picture of him… and all these GIANT charts! Clearly, they don’t know what’s important.” She turns the screen towards me, and I begin the monumental task of explaining to my friend why statistics are, actually, quite important.
“I remember, he went to Yale, he was intelligent, this kind of renaissance guy. And I remember my mother saying, ‘Why would he be interested in a punk rock girl from South Jersey?’ I would get insulted and inform her exactly why she was wrong.”

It turns out that during the 1986 season, V.’s mom was very ill, and like many sons and fathers before them, V. and her mom could talk about the Mets without fighting – but of course the Mets were contrary to everything V. believed in and cared about at the time. And even these days, explaining to her friends why she was staying home to watch the playoff games, frantically text-messaging us throughout the games, was kind of hard to do.

But when someone loved baseball, it seems that it never completely disappears. As we were driving her to the airport and turned onto the Van Wyck just east of Shea, she was beginning the rationalization, trying to justify following the Mets again. And we are already planning V.’s return visit to NYC in the spring or summer, where she will be joining us at Shea for a game or two. If she plays her cards right, we may even be persuaded to take her to the SNY studios so she can get a glimpse of her former husband-to-be.


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