Walking the aisles of the Wegmans in Cicero with my dear wife Karen on Sunday, we crossed paths with another couple proudly wearing Mets shirts.
They perked up after I smiled and saluted them with a hearty "Let's Go Mets!"
It's a good year to be a Mets fan, what with our once-per-decade postseason appearance after an unexpected but totally delirious post-trade-deadline run to the National League East title. Dodgers beaten. Cubs swept. Bring on the Royals or Blue Jays in the World Series, starting Tuesday. Yes, even in Central New York, we can be loud and proud.
I tested my theory with a midweek trip to the stores that specialize in sports in Destiny USA, black throwback Carlos Delgado No. 21 shirt on my back and blue Mr. Met-insignia cap on my head.
In Dick's Sporting Goods, I encountered a whole wall of Yankees shirts and not a single item that featured the blue-and-orange of my Mets.
"We don't have any Mets stuff. Sorry," said a clerk who was pushing a rack with new shirts to add to the collection.
Inferiority complex fed.
Next I sauntered over to upstate-based My Favorite Sports Store, wondering how a five-outlet organization -- with Victor, Waterloo, Rochester and Niagara Falls in addition to Syracuse's big mall -- was handling the rise of the team from Flushing. I spotted a few hats, but no shirts. I was not the only one looking, either, said sales associate Nick Jofre. "The last three days, 15 people came in asking about Mets stuff," Jofre said. "We carry a little of everything, but we're out now. Hopefully the owner will buy some for us."
I walked up to the service counter in time to catch the tail end of a conversation between the clerk and two customers. "Now that I'm going back to the Mets, I'm looking for shirts," the man shopper said. The clerk said they were selling fast, and what was left was left.
"They're going strong," John Schleier told me as the man and woman walked off to look in that corner of Metsville. "We had a lot of Mets stuff here. They took a good run at them last week, Wednesday and Thursday. Past seasons, we had that Yankees and Red Sox connection."
"The powers that be took a guess, took a chance on the Mets and stocked up," he said.
That's what I like to hear.