It is a shame to see what is going on with the New York Mets.
The truth is, whether or not you are a Mets fan you too should be disappointed. It is not good for baseball to have one of the teams in the biggest media market to be a mess both on and off the field. And make no mistake about it, New York is a baseball town first and foremost. Football is definitely the most popular sport in the country but in the two biggest markets (New York and Los Angeles) baseball is king.
But I digress.
I know a lot of Met fans, really good fans like my sister, and I feel badly for all of them. It is understandable to go though some rebuilding and watching a couple of lousy seasons during the process. Met fans are used to do that. But when you couple the latest overhaul with an ownership equal parts tone-deaf and borderline broke, you can see why Met fans have more issues than just the 2012 season. And for all of the Yankee fans who say they feel their pain because of the 80’s and early 90’s, stop it. The Yankees had the most wins in baseball between 1980 and 1989. Their four really down years were 1989-1992 with a combined record of 288-359. At this point, the current Mets’ run could be much worse.
The saddest part of this is that when the Mets are really good, they can easily compete with the Yankees for the affections of the 8 million baseball fans in the area . I wasn’t alive in 1969 when the Mets won the World Series but that team is talked about like some sort of deity. In 1986, the Mets OWNED this town. Even though the Yankees have had great success since 1996, there hasn’t been a hotter ticket in town (not even The Lion King on Broadway) than that Mets team. In fact, I would venture to say that between 1983 when Tom Seaver returned and Darryl Strawberry arrived and 1992, the Mets had more fans than the Yankees. And for all of the great Yankee moments, I don’t think any of them can compare to this Mike Piazza home run. The Mets will always be the underdog in New York so when they are good as was the case in 2006, it seems like more people in and out of the area are pulling for them.
For you Met fans that think you have nothing to look forward to in 2012, allow yourself to dream this scenario. It is September 1st and after a good 1st half, the Mets go on a New York Islander-esq 4-16 stretch during the latter part of August. They find themselves in Miami playing the Marlins in their brand-new crookedly financed stadium. It is the 7th inning and the Mets are down a run. David Wright hits a ball that goes through the legs of Jose Reyes. Starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano glares at Reyes then proceeds to pull a swiss army knife from inside his glove and chase Reyes off the field. Hanley Ramirez is so excited that he can finally go back to Shortstop that he cartwheels to his left. Ozzie Guillen comes out of the dugout to yell at Ramirez for being out of position and the two of them brawl from the pitcher’s mound to the aquarium behind home plate. Heath Bell comes in the 9th inning to preserve a one run lead when Ike Davis blasts a grand slam off him with two outs and send the Mets to victory. After that, the Marlins go 8-20 the rest of the season and finish out of the playoffs. Hanley Ramirez is then forced to spend Spring Training 2013 as Billy the Marlin.
Does that bring a smile to your faces?