Monday, October 26, 2015

Top 5 Reasons Yankee Fans Should NOT Root for the Mets In the 2015 World Series

In the 2015 World Series, I will be holding my nose -- for 7 games, if that's what it takes -- and rooting for the Kansas City Royals.

Not the New York Mets.

Let me show you the top 5 reasons people are saying that we should root for the Mets, and the 5 counter-reasons why they're wrong.

The first one is, easily, the most bogus:

1. You're a fan of a New York team. The Mets are a New York team. Therefore, you should root for the Mets.

Any Yankee Fan who is rooting for the Mets to win the 2015 World Series simply because they're a New York team, you need to get slapped.

On the back of the head. Not in the face. For the moment.

I was born in North Jersey. I grew up in Central Jersey. Those regions are aligned with New York City, but not in it.

If there had been a New Jersey-based team in Major League Baseball when I was growing up, I probably would have become a fan of theirs, and not of the Yankees. As long as they chose to name themselves "New Jersey," not playing in New Jersey but keeping the "New York" name, which is why I never rooted for the Giants or the Jets. (I've since gotten over it.)

Did any New Jersey Devils fan root for the New York Rangers in the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals? Oh, hell, no. We were under no obligation to do so, even though they were playing the same team that beat us in our last Finals, the Los Angeles Kings.

I got into an argument with a person I had previously regarded as an unimpeachable Yankee Fan. This person (who shall remain anonymous here, to spare embarrassment) is rooting for the Mets, with the idea that, "Whatever is good for New York baseball is good for my blog."

Which would have been fine -- if your blog was about New York baseball. But it isn't. The blog in question is written by one Yankee Fan and one Met fan, each writing from the perspective of a fan of their chosen team.

And now that the Mets are in the World Series for the 1st time in 15 years, the Yankee Fan is using that blog to write harder in their favor than the Met fan is.

With freedom of expression -- of speech, the press, whatever -- comes responsibility. If you say or write something, you have to face the consequences. You can't write something defamatory without being sued. And if you write something insulting, you have to be ready to accept a response. Some people can dish it out, but can't take it. If the person you're writing about can't take it, that's their problem. But if it turns out that you can't take it, that's your problem.

If you're rooting for the Mets because they're a New York team, you are not a Yankee Fan. You are a New York fan.

Which is fine, as long as you admit it. The person in question still claims to be a Yankee Fan.

This person attended the University of Texas, which has a very nasty rivalry with Texas A&M University. Both schools claim to represent the State of Texas. I asked this person, "If A&M were playing for the National Championship, would you root for them?"

This person said it wasn't the same thing at all. Of course it is.

Florida and Florida State fans? Georgia and Georgia Tech fans? Arizona and Arizona State fans? USC and UCLA fans? Do they root for each other's teams? They most certainly do not.

Restrict it to baseball. During the 1989 World Series, the cameramen for the official highlight film -- not knowing of the earthquake that was going to happen -- showed a few people with half & half caps or jackets. One guy had such a jacket, and held up a sign saying, "IF I GOTTA PICK, GO A'S."

The quake led to special circumstances, with the entire Bay Area coming together. Aside from something like that, or 9/11 bringing New York together, yes: You gotta pick.

Could you imagine an Angels fan rooting for the Dodgers? A White Sox fan rooting for the Cubs?
You could, but you'd be wrong.

Put it another way: Giant fans weren't rooting for the Jets in Super Bowl III, and Jet fans weren't rooting for the Giants in Super Bowls XXI, XXV or XXXV. Super Bowls XLII and XLVI, that was different: The Giants were playing the New England Patriots, not just the Jets' arch-rivals (having replaced the Miami Dolphins in that regard), but bald-faced cheaters. Everybody who wasn't taking the Patriot happy pills was rooting against them. Even Dallas Cowboy fans were calling them evil and cheaters.

When the Rangers were in the Finals in 1979, 1994 and 2014, were Islander fans rooting for them? No. When the Islanders were in the Finals in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1984, were Ranger fans rooting for them? No.

More to the point: Did Met fans root for the Yankees in 1998 against San Diego, in 2001 against Arizona, in 2003 against Miami? No. Indeed, as much as Met fans claim to hate Atlanta and Philadelphia, in 1996 and 1999, Met fans were rooting for the Braves -- even in 1999, after the first salvos from John Rocker. And in 2009, Met fans were rooting for the Phillies.

In 1977, 1978 and 1981, the Yankees played the Dodgers in the World Series. This was less than a quarter of a century after the Dodgers were taken out of Brooklyn. There were still young people who had been Brooklyn Dodger fans. Most of the people who became Dodger fans in their "Boys of Summer" years, 1947 to 1957, were then in their 30s. These people had good reasons to root for whoever was playing the Dodgers. It happened to be the Yankees.

About 99 percent of Met fans were rooting for the Dodgers.

They may tell you that it's a National League thing. That's stupid. Yankee Fans don't automatically root for the American League Champions in the World Series. Especially if it's the Boston Red Sox.

Many of us -- I can't say it was a majority, but it definitely included me -- made an exception in 1986, because the Red Sox were playing the Mets. Even after a generation of chavvy Sox fans replacing the old tweedy kind, and over a decade of blatant steroid cheating, if another Hobson's choice (Met fans, being stupid, may have to look that reference up) happened, I would again take the Red Sox over the Mets.

Besides, if it's about "What's best for New York," why take the team that has embarrassed New York time and time again? The early "Can't anybody here play this game?" years, the "Grant's Tomb" years, the juvenile delinquency of 1993, the Art Howe years, the Bernie Madoff years, not to mention the pathetic chokes of 1988, 1998, 1999, 2006, 2007 and 2008?

A Yankee Fan rooting for the Mets because they represent New York is like a Chicago cop rooting for Al Capone because he represents Chicago.

Then again, a lot of Chicago cops were actually on Capone's payroll. (One of many reasons why "The Night Chicago Died" is such a horrible song: There was no need for Capone to "call his troops to war against the forces of the law.")

So here's a question for Yankee Fans supporting the Mets in this Series: Are you on the Mets' payroll?

I am not. I would never get on the Mets' payroll. And I would never get on the Mets' bandwagon.

2. Politics over sports. New York is a liberal city, and the Mets represent the underdog. They're a poor & middle class team. They're a multiethnic, multiracial team. They're a labor-union team.

The Royals? They're owned by David Glass, who married into the Walton family of Walmart infamy. They're supported by Tea Partiers from Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. They're "Christian" fundamentalists. They're tax cuts uber alles, and they don't care about services being cut ("But we didn't mean for us!").

They're anti-black, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-labor gun nuts who think President Obama (whose mother was from Kansas, by the way) is a foreign-born Muslim who's coming to take your guns and put you in a FEMA concentration camp and install Sharia law under the New Black Panther Party. And he's also a Marxist, which makes him an atheist, not a Muslim.

These people are idiots. Still, they really, really hate New York, and you may think that New York must be defended against them.

Well, guess what: If it were almost any other National League team, I would root for them against David Glass and his team.

But it's the Mets. We're not choosing a President, a Senator, a Congressman, a Governor, or a Mayor here. We're choosing a World Series winner. With no more guarantee that our choice will win the Series than that our choice would win an election.

The winner of this Series won't determine who is elected President next year, or Mayor of New York or Governor of New Jersey the year after that, or Governor of New York the year after that. All it will determine is who gets to call themselves baseball's 2015 World Champions.

For this, politics gets put aside.

3. The Mets are fun. This has been an argument for the Mets and against the Yankees from Day One, April 11, 1962: The Mets are "fun," the Yankees are "not fun," "too businesslike," "corporate."

This was actually the 1st of 5 reasons that Brandon Kuty of gave for rooting for the Mets in this Series. He also said, "They have leadership" (he cited Wright; see #4 for why he's no leader), "They have guts" (because they "went for it" at the trade deadline, but their reaction to the Chase Utley thing showed just how gutless they really are), "The young arms" (as if a single Met pitcher could crack a fully-healthy Yankee rotation of Severino, Tanaka, Eovaldi, Pineda and a fat and sober Sabathia), and "Sympathy" (bitch, please).

For most of their history, the Mets have not been fun. Funny, sometimes; but losing, looking like a bunch of damn fools, is not fun.

Of course, when a team is in the World Series, that argument goes by the boards. Winning is fun.

But how much "fun" were the Mets when their "inevitable" World Championship looked very evitable in Houston in October 1986? How much fun were they when the Red Sox took Games 1 and 2 at Shea Stadium in the 1986 World Series? How much fun were they when a noticeably weaker Dodger team beat them for the Pennant in 1988? How much fun were they in the 9th inning of Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS?

And how much fun were they when the Yankees humiliated them -- with considerable help from baserunning blunders and bonehead pitching decisions by manager Bobby Valentine -- in the 2000 World Series, clinching at Shea? And how much fun were the Mets in their Interleague games with the Yankees this very season, when the Yankees took 4 out of 6, including 2 out of 3 at Citi Field?

If the Royals win this Series, will Met fans be like Red Sox fans in 1967 and 1975, thinking, "Well, our drought continues, but didn't we have fun along the way?" Maybe, if the defeats aren't terribly shocking.

But what if the defeats are controversial, like the Royals' win over the St. Louis Cardinals in 1985? Or have a terrible blunder, like the Mets benefited from against the Red Sox in 1986? What if there's a 1908 Fred Merkle, a 1912 Fred Snodgrass, a 1941 Mickey Owen moment? What if Jeurys Familia, at the worst possible time, turns into 1951 Ralph Branca, 1960 Ralph Terry, 1976 Mark Littell, 1985 Tom Niedenfuer, 1978 Mike Torrez, 1993 Mitch Williams, 1996 Mark Wohlers, or 2003 Pedro Martinez (or Jeff Weaver)? Or, dare I say it, 2000 Armando Benitez or 2006 Aaron Heilman?

Then, how often are you going to look back on 2015, and think it was "fun"? Will you remember the fun? Or will you remember the shocking end that left you broken-hearted again?

Broken hearts are not fun. It's why I can never look back on 2003 Aaron Boone with the same fondness as 1978 Bucky Dent. In 1978, we had Ron Davis to set up Goose Gossage; in 2003, Joe Torre used Jeff Weaver when he should have used, well, anybody else who was available, including a position player.

4. The Mets are a team of good guys. They deserve it.

Which "good guys" would those be? Bartolo Colon, exposed as a steroid cheat? Daniel Murphy, a confessed bigot? Matt Harvey, who threatened to derail the best Mets story of the last 15 years (maybe the last 29 years) over an agent-imposed innings limit? Yoenis Cespedes, who, whatever you think of the Castro regime, didn't abandon his country and his family for freedom, he did it for the money?

Oh, I get it: The "good guy" is David Wright. He of the .194 career postseason batting average. A guy who actually bats worse in October than Stephen Drew bats in the regular season. The most underachieving 3rd baseman currently active in New York. (And that's still true if you still consider Alex Rodriguez a 3rd baseman.)

"Leadership"? As the great New York sportscaster Warner Wolf would say, "Come on, give me a break!" If anything, the Mets carried Wright this year.

Maybe some of the Met players deserve it. But the "good guys" argument doesn't wash. I'm sure there are a couple of players on the Royals who don't deserve it. Hell, they had plenty in their 1976-85 run of success. But we could make the same "Overall, they're good guys, and they deserve it" argument about the Royals.

5. Met fans have suffered enough. They deserve it.

For a moment, let's put aside the "They deserve it" half of that statement, and focus on the "They've suffered enough part."

The Mets last won the World Series 29 years ago.

The Royals? 30 years. Longer.

New York last had a World Championship, in any sport, with the 2011-12 Giants. That's 4 years ago.

Kansas City? Those 1985 Royals. 30 years. Before that, the 1969-70 Chiefs, winning Super Bowl IV. That's 46 years ago.

No titles in 30 years, 1 in 46, 2 ever.

Contrast that with New York. Since Kansas City first (in the modern era) got a major league sports team in 1955 (the A's, before they moved to Oakland for 1968), they've had just the 2 World Championships. Over that same stretch, New York has had 30 titles. Even if you're a hardcore Mets and Jets fan, and refuse to count those won by the Yankees and Giants, it's still 14 -- 9 since the Royals' last title 30 years ago. Even if you're a New Yorker, and refuse to count those won by the Devils, it's 6-0 in 30 years. Even if you're purely a New York City guy, and only count the Mets, the Knicks and the Rangers, it's still 2-0 over the last 30 years!

Even if you count the MLS Cups won by the team now known as Sporting Kansas City in 2000 and 2013, that makes for a more recent title for Kansas City, but, still: KC has had major league sports teams since 1955, and has won just 4 titles; New York, over the same stretch, also counting top-flight soccer, 34 -- an average of 3 per team.

So to say that, "Met fans have suffered enough" is ridiculous.

As for whether Met fans "deserve it": No, they don't.

You may not be old enough to remember when the Mets were last, beyond any question, the best baseball team in New York. It was 1984 to 1990: 7 seasons, every season finishing 2nd or higher, a Division title in 1988, and a World Championship in 1986. The Dynasty That Never Was. Meanwhile, the Yankees had close calls in 1985, '86, '87 and '88, but won nothing. The Mets owned New York, as they never have since -- no, not even now.

And Met fans made us miserable. It was a time when we had to live with all of the drawbacks of being Yankee Fans and none of the perks -- like getting called "frontrunners" and "losers" at the same time. (Logic has never been a Met fan's long suit.)

They acted as though their 1986 title meant more than the 22 World Series that the Yankees had won to that point. Just as they had with their 1969 title.

I don't know if you're using basic math, "New Math" or "Common Core," but in 1969, 20 > 1; in 1986, 22 > 2; and even if the Mets do win this one, 27 > 3.

This was the Mets' 5th Pennant. They are now only 35 behind the Yankees.

Even if you just count from the 1969 season onward: It's 7 World Championships to 2, and 11 Pennants to 5.

But Met fans have all the arrogance of New Yorkers, all the entitlement complex of Yankee Fans, and they haven't earned it. It's the same problem Giant fans had with Jet fans from January 12, 1969 to January 25, 1987, when the Jets still had the more recent Super Bowl win. Same with Ranger fans to Islander fans from the 1975 Playoff shocker until the Rangers finally won the Stanley Cup again in 1994.

The greatest arrogance of Met fans, the biggest part of Reason Number 5, goes back to Reason Number 1. We never told Met fans they had to root for the Yankees in the World Series of 1976, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003 or 2009, just because the Yankees were the New York team. (Obviously, telling them to root for our team against their own in 2000 was a lost cause.) We knew they wouldn't.

But they want us to root for their team in this World Series? When they've never rooted for us a day in their lives? Not even when we held high the torch for New York in October 2001?

Hell, they think their first game back, won by the Mike Piazza home run over the Braves, was more meaningful to the City than the Yankees' postseason run. Same deal as "(1969 + 1986) > 27 titles." No. Not even close enough to see with binoculars.

Met fans' arrogance may actually exceed that of Yankee Fans. You might hear Cardinal fans call St. Louis "the best baseball town in America," and mention that they've won more World Series than any other National League team. But they don't say that their 11 titles mean more than the Yankees' 27. That's because they're not stupid, and they're not that arrogant.

And where was this arrogance in late July, when the Yankees were in 1st place and the Mets were sinking fast, actually making their own players cry on the field? (Well, one of them, anyway.) Nowhere. They'd had some hope early in the season, but after a Yankee team that was hardly at full strength embarrassed them on the field (before doing so again in September), they were, as they usually are, a tremendous joke.

And their fans didn't dare crawl out from under their rocks, wearing their little blue & orange hats, their blue & orange T-shirts, their blue & orange jackets, their blue & orange sweatpants, and, for all I know, their blue & orange Mets Underoos.

But now? They've -- pardon a choice of words that Daniel Murphy would hate -- come out of the closet, with their deviant, unnatural, repulsive lifestyle. At the very least, their blue & orange clothes have, quite literally, come out of the closet.

Daniel Burch, who writes for the Yankee-themed blog The Greedy Pinstripes, may have said it better than anyone else:

This is my personal testimony, this is not entitled “Why Yankees fans should not root for the Mets.” This is why I, Daniel Burch, personally do not root for the Mets. I don’t hate the Mets... It’s the other Mets fans that make it hard to damn near impossible for me to watch and root for the team...

It’s not even the fact that a lot of these fans were wearing Yankees hats six months ago, what bothers me is how cocky and arrogant they are to me on Twitter.

You guys know me, I try to be fair to everyone. Everyone on my team and everyone on everybody else’s team. I have more Toronto Blue Jays followers than I do Mets followers and most of them have told me I have a great account and that I’m fair to both sides.

Mets fans just tell me I suck and I should root for them because they are a New York team, even though none of them rooted for the Yankees a day in their life. A lot of Mets fans want their cake and they want to smash it in my face and THEN eat it too.

There it is. You may not think the Met players, the Met manager Terry Collins, father & son owners Fred & Jeff Wilpon, or any of the other higher-ups in the Met organization are particularly hateable. That's fine.

But Met fans? They may actually hate us more than Red Sox fans do. And, since, unlike Red Sox fans, they actually live around here in large numbers (though not nearly as large as they think they have, and certainly not as large as it seemed a year ago when many of them did not dare show their faces under their little blue & orange hats), we actually have to listen to them, every day, maybe more than once a day.

You know how we Yankee Fans sound to the fans of the 29 other teams? Imagine we sounded that way with only 2 World Championships. Now, imagine that we had that foul orange among our blue. That's what Met fans are like.

Or, if (like me) you're a Devils fan who hates the Rangers, imagine that. After all, if (like me) you were born between October 16, 1969 and June 14, 1994, then the Mets and Rangers have won exactly as many World Championships as each other in your lifetime: One. Ranger fans can be pretty arrogant, even when they're not talking about baseball.

By the way, do you remember Yankee Fans sending death threats to Pedro Martinez after he threw Don Zimmer to the ground in 2003? I don't. Met fans sent death threats to Chase Utley. And Ruben Tejada is not a 72-year-old man whose head was attacked.

The biggest reason for people, regardless of who their favorite team is, to not root for the Mets in this World Series is Met fans. Their team could, possibly, be said to deserve it. Met fans do not.

Met fans deserve to continue to suffer.

I don't care what Met fans, self-professed Yankee Fans rooting for the Mets this time, the TV stations, The New York Times, the Daily News, the New York Post, Newsday, The Star-Ledger, or even my friends who are Met fans, have to say on the matter.

Me? Root for the Mets? Any true Yankee Fan, root for the Mets in this World Series?

Oh, HELL, no!

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