Well, I shuffled through the city on the 4th of July I had a firecracker waiting to blow…
Breakin' like a robber who was makin' his way
To the cities of Mexico
New Yorkers are a truly a special breed. We walk fast, talk faster and are passionate about most everything, particularly our baseball. It is finally springtime in the city, hope springs eternal, and the modern-day boys of summer have returned to the diamond. My New York Mets feel like a different team with a fresh sense of purpose, a little swagger and perhaps, most importantly, a quiet, impactful leader. Having watched the game religiously for over four decades, it should come as no surprise that our beloved team’s destiny moves in significant cycles. Like the seasons, global markets or the relationships in our lives, there are peaks and valleys, highs and lows, victories and defeats. I was raised a Dodger fan, introduced to the game by my father, a lifelong Dodger fan going back to the heyday of Ebbets Field in 1948. I was a kid in the 70’s watching great Dodger teams win lots of pennants, only to have my young hopes dashed repeatedly by the dreaded New York Yankees when it mattered most. Finally victorious in 1981, I became keenly aware of the baseball cycle and the wide-ranging emotions that often accompany it.
A new ingredient in my baseball experience came to me in 1985. I met the love of my life and I learned that other families were equally as passionate about their baseball, so passionate that the games were on in their home, every night. The Mets were on the rise mid 80’s and, unlike the west coast Dodger games, we could watch them all. We had great fun and the incredible Mets of ’86 and improbable Dodgers of ’88 added to our love of one another and love of the game. Fast forward a decade to 1998 and two all important key ingredients would be added to the recipe, the pending birth of our first child, Liam, and the unexpected arrival of perennial all-star, Mike Piazza, to the Mets. With both the Mets and Dodgers in a decade long malaise of mediocrity and missteps, I made up my mind to change my allegiance to the Mets, to join my family and to raise our son with a love for the Orange and Blue. As any NY baseball fan knows, the Mets were born out of the NY Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers when they headed west for “greener pastures” - the shift seemed logical and the rationale to raise our son under one united banner just felt right.
And love don't play any games with me
Anymore like she did before
The world won't wait, so I better shake
That thing right out there through the door
Hell, I still love you, New York
With Piazza’s arrival, came instant credibility and the return of the NY Mets swagger. The future Hall of Famer would lead the team to a wild card playoff berth in 1999 and a Subway World Series appearance in 2000, only to have our hearts and hopes trampled by the damn Yankees once again. Piazza would rise to meet the tragedy of September 2001, like no other public figure could. On September 21, 2001, he would single-handedly lift a devastated city and nation in a moment reserved for sport and human immortality. His game winning home run against the rival Braves in the first MLB game post-9/11 would provide a brief respite from the pain and suffering of the time and allow us all to breathe again and begin to dream of a better future.
Found myself a picture that would fit in the folds
Of my wallet and it stayed pretty good
Still amazed I didn't lose it on the roof of the place
When I was drunk and I was thinking of you
April 2009 brought an exciting new chapter to New York Mets baseball. From out of the ashes of the global financial crisis, the Mets would begin play at Citi Field and along with Kathy, my brother-in-law Joe and my father-in-law, JB, we made the pilgrimage to greet the new ballpark with open arms. As we walked in awe through the Jackie Robinson Rotunda and into the Ebbets Field inspired new stadium, Ryan Adams’ "New York, New York" roared from the new sound system and we knew we were home. The song will always hold a special place in my heart for this memory but also because the accompanying music video was shot on September 7, 2001 with the Twin Towers featured prominently. The song would understandably go on to leave an indelible mark on many New Yorkers as the artist’s articulation of his love affair with the city in the wake of tragedy.
As the Mets jump out to a quick start this season, I have been thinking about previously disappointing teams that started similarly and why this time I feel like it is different. After all, the Mets have only won 90 games one time since Citi Field opened in 2009. Our beautiful field of dreams is capable and deserving of so much better. With tremendous new ownership/leadership and a New York sized budget, the Mets have made significant strides in righting the ship that has so often been off course. The offseason decision to bring Buck Showalter into the fold was the biggest difference maker for me. The man has managed here successfully before and there is NY in his blood. He is the adult in the room – an overprepared, quiet and observant leader. To tell you the truth, he reminds me a lot of JB, and that is why I admire him. Buck leads by example, and his talented, inspired group of ballplayers seem happy to accept their roles and follow his lead.
And love won't play any games with you
Anymore if you want 'em to
So we better shake
this old thing out the door
I'll always be thinkin' of you
I'll always love you though New York
I'll always love you though New York, New York, New York
Bringing Buck back to New York has proven to be a good decision in the early going for the 2022 Mets. They are off to a 21-10 start, and they have not lost a series. The Mets have a plan; they have strong leadership and well-defined goals. As we head into late spring, can you say that you have the same? Clearly, you have talent on your roster, and you have lofty goals, but how long has it been since you had a team of multi-disciplined individuals audit your financial wellbeing? I realize for some this sounds about as fun as a root canal, but put into practice, this is one of the most empowering exercises that you can afford yourself and those you love.
Empowering in the sense that overpreparation and an understanding of the task at hand minimizes the risk that the unexpected can throw at you. This liberates your time to put focus on fulfilling your role as a professional and, most importantly, a breadwinner for your family. In essence: Having a coordinated plan helps determine what your time is worth and where it is most efficiently allocated.
Not all uses of time are equal and when properly applied, this simple but powerful truth can make an enormous difference in life. We all have a finite supply of time and while working with our team, you will come to realize that your time is better spent operating within your unique ability. Our goal with our Pathway to Purpose Planning Solution is to allow you spend your time doing what it is that makes you most successful while allowing us to serve as the trusted manager of your articulated and implemented life plan.
Before he passed in 2019, JB and I sat one afternoon, listening to music and waiting for the Mets to start. As I mentioned earlier, he was a man of purposeful words. If he didn’t have anything to say on a subject, he simply wouldn’t. JB was a man of action and that afternoon he placed a signed Jackie Robinson ball from his father in my hand. He didn’t say a word, but his simple action underscored the 34 years of love and admiration that we had for one another and our time spent together. The ball sits on my desk in my home office, and it inspires me each day. It inspires me to be a better husband and father, a better planner and a better leader. One that can give you back invaluable time in your life and the piece of mind that you and those you love deserve. The Buck stops here. What is your time worth?
Authored by Rob & Liam Armstrong
Songwriters: Ryan Adams
New York, New York lyrics © Barland Music, Songs Of Universal Inc.