The insecure Met fan is truly a mystifying connoisseur of the Great American pastime, a mixture of fundamentalist fanatical passion and unrelenting insecurity.
In my time, I’ve encountered many Metropolitan fans that take unique pride in their distinctly sane outlook on all things Orange and Blue.
For instance, a Met fan friend of mine, one who rarely raises the decibel level of his voice above a whisper, is apt at analyzing his favorite team’s roster without the hindrance of unreasonable blinders.
John, despite an above average optimistic streak in his personality, is still able to unassumingly but convincingly degrade any below average Amazin roster, breaking down specifically why particular players have no place in their vaunted Major League positions.
I trust his opinion. In 2003, with a slight air of optimism surrounding the team as they broke Spring Training, John spared no wasted word in predicting their fate.
Nibbling on a Bologna Sandwich at lunch, one day before the season’s Opening Act, he spouted laconically:
Offering slight encouragement, I began a cursory “but” moments prior to being cut off emphatically-
“No. They suck. Just trust me on this one.”
Indeed, the ’03 Mets became another mere footnote of ineptitude on the Franchise’s ledger.
Approximately three years later, John brimmed with enthusiasm, unable to contain his excitement for the 2006 Mets.
If they could pass muster with even their most evenhanded of critics, the Mets were certainly good enough in my mind to be penciled in for 90 wins and a Division Title.
The talent was there, and is sprouting as of this writing. David Wright has surpassed the hype and become a certifiable star, Carlos Delgado’s mere presence changes the entire dynamic of Willie Randolph’s lineup card, and Pedro Martinez continues to bedevil opposing hitters with an almost magical assortment of dancing breaking balls.
With all the success, New York has become a two team town again, a seam in time not quite replicated since the year 2001.
However, John isn’t completely at peace with the Met universe. The problem doesn’t lie in correlation with Victor Zambrano or Scott Kazmir, but rather, with particular members of his own brethren, discrediting his team’s accomplishments on a nightly basis through willfully imposed ignorance.
Yankee fans are privy to a practical, almost arrogant disassociation with the rest of the Baseball world while attending games at our Stadium. Out of town scores flash across the board as a flagrant afterthought, the show is on the field, and almost always well worth the price of admission.
However, it is this exacting aloofness that tends to drive the fans of New York’s National League team into delusional insanity.
Mets fans, the aforementioned insecure ones anyway, have a core need that begs for meaningful recognition. Lonely, misbegotten puppy dogs groveling for the slightest bit of acknowledgement, these people often lead the chorus chant piping a particularly embittered sentiment:
This kind of behavior may be tolerable for fans rooting for losing teams, those emotionally nomadic individuals slipping off the end of their ropes, reaching in vain for the slightest bit of meaningless pride.
But, coming from people watching winning Baseball, the chant only breeds a degrading classification of Met fans as a whole by the rest of a constantly judging Sports Nation.
I inquire of these people some fundamental questions:
Is the success of your team not enough to satisfy your primal urges as a diehard? If so, doesn’t this prove that your devotion is simply a vehicle for malicious agendas, ranging from immature to secretly self-loathing?
As John and I watched the revamped Met lineup crush Florida on a teeth chattering kind of chilly night in early April, we both came to the conclusion that this year’s Subway Series will have an awesome level of electricity. Two elite teams fighting for the possession of one city’s soul, two squads with enough talent to fill an entire vacant wall located in the corridors of the Hall. John badgers me about the Yankees’ age, about the catastrophic 2004 choke against Boston, and of course, about the payroll. I counter by questioning the overall strength of the National League, before foreboding that the back end of the Mets’ rotation will send them on a path to certain demise. I pledge allegiance to the future of Robinson Cano, the renewed stuff of Mike Mussina, and the undying heart of Derek Jeter. It’s excellent baseball talk, drowned out somewhat by a familiar, and nauseating, chant.
Before I even manage a critiquing comment, John speaks up for the silent majority.
“Why the hell do they still do that? This team doesn’t suck anymore.”