Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dumbest Met Fan Ever

For much of my life, I've been saying that Met fans are dumb. I even wrote a song about it... with help from Billy Joel.

Okay, it's not completely fair, and it's not universal. There are many smart people who are also Met fans. My grandmother was a Met fan. George Plimpton was a Met fan. Roger Angell is a Met fan. Jerry Seinfeld, Susan Sarandon, Jon Stewart, these people are all very smart and all Met fans.

But this guy takes the cake, and burns down the bakery. He does no favors for any of the preceding.

I'll give him a pass on saying Darryl Strawberry was his favorite player from the 1969 team, instead of the 1986 team. That's easy enough to futz up. Although, if you're a fan of a team that has won only 2 World Series -- and there are 10 current teams that haven't won at least that many, 12 if you discount titles won before teams moved to their current cities -- you should be able to tell the 2 apart.

But Francesca roasts him. And the mook still never explained why the Mets are "a great franchise."

They're "magical"? What the hell does that mean? It seems like the magic hasn't been back for years.

They're "exciting"? Big deal: On any given day, any given sports team can be exciting. And I've seen plenty of games -- by the Mets, the Yankees, and many other teams in several sports -- that have produced exciting games that they have lost.

Surely, Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, which the caller brought up (Francesa did not), was exciting, a 1-1 tie in the 9th preserved by Endy Chavez's catch, but ruined by Yadier Molina's homer and Carlos Beltran's called strikeout.

Game 6 of the 1999 NLCS, that back-and-forth game in Atlanta that ended with Kenny Rogers walking Andruw Jones to force home the Pennant-losing run, was one of the most exciting sporting events I've ever seen.

And Games 1 and 5 of the 2000 World Series, I don't think I've ever seen a sporting event that excited me as much as those 2, due to my love of the Yankees and my hatred for the Mets... and the Mets lost both of those, in rather dramatic fashion, to the Yankees.

"Exciting" does not necessarily bring with it "successful" -- or "great," which, as the caller seemed to be suggesting, was his point.

Look, as I said, on any given day, the Mets can be very exciting. I saw some very good games at Shea Stadium. I've seen 2 games at Citi Field, and both were good. (And both were Met wins, too, both with Mike Pelfrey pitching very well.)

But that doesn't make the Mets "a great franchise."

The Yankees had some legendary battles with the Kansas City Royals in the late Seventies and early Eighties, filled with dramatics, homers, fights, and even a little chicanery. Are the Royals are great franchise? Not for a generation.

Then there's the Philadelphia Phillies. Are they a great franchise? Today, that's an easy answer: Yes. But at the dawn of the 21st Century, when they were stuck at the Vet, with a new ballpark still only a plan, and a team that could best be described as Curt Schilling, Bobby Abreu, and 23 underachievers (Scott Rolen and Pat Burrell certainly were at the time), were the Phillies a great franchise then? Not by a long shot, and if anyone had predicted a Pennant for them within 10 years, they would have been laughed out of the room.

How about the Atlanta Braves, once thought of as the Mets' biggest rivals? Today, sure, they've got all those division titles, the 1995 World Championship, and the great TV contract with TBS. But 20 years ago, just before the 1991 season, when they were coming off a last-place finish and hadn't won a Pennant since 1958, when they were still in Milwaukee? What did they have then? No Pennants in Atlanta, a lousy stadium, a bunch of prospects but little hope, a nice TV contract and Ted Turner's money and ambition. That was it... for a little while longer. On Opening Day 1992, the Braves could have been called "a great franchise." Not on Opening Day 1991.

Look, it's possible that the moves the Mets made this offseason might make something special happen. As Joaquin Andujar used to say, baseball can be summed up in one word: "Youneverknow." And, within 9 months -- if the World Series goes to a Game 7, it will be on October 27, the 25th Anniversary of the Mets' last World Series win -- the Mets could, legitimately, again be called "a great franchise."

At the moment? That's more laughable than anything Seinfeld and Stewart have ever said.

No, not all Met fans are dumb. But that caller? Dumbest Met fan I've ever heard.

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