These are fans of the Mets. As you can see, they’re of all ages. Behold the anguish, together with expectation in the photo? Welcome to Metland.
The Mets, as you may have gathered, cause me anguish and despair every time I write about them. I see no silver lining in virtually everything they do – and to make it worse – everything they don’t do.
But the thing that amazes me is the loyalty of your average fan of the Mets. Purportedly, I try to explain “the truth” about the team, but then Mets fans keep coming back in comments they write with a sustained feeling of hope, seeing an upside through the fog of what is judged by most in baseball to be a colossal dysfunction within the Mets organization.
Mets fans are not masochists who like to get beat up nearly every season. And it would easy to believe the Mets fan base is composed of middle-class citizens who are condemned and used to getting beat up. It comes every day from their boss, the taxes that come due, the schools that don’t teach, and for most, having to live in the unforgiving suburbs of New York City in places like Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island.
Mets fans look precisely like the ones pictured above. And there is a beauty in the presence of these fans who came to Citi Field to the tune of 2.2 Million in 2017, which is right in the middle of all 30 major league teams. And you can’t help but feel, four million would come with a team in the hunt.
There are mets fans and then there are Mets Fans. I confess to being one of those mets fans who jumped from the third-base dugout after the third out of the 1969 World Series at Shea Stadium. Amid a throng of idiots, fortified by Budweiser (myself included), making our way to the infield where we snatched up clumps of infield grass as a “souvenir”, there was little or no appreciation for what the team had accomplished, only that there was a party in New York that day, and we were compelled to be there.
No, we’re talking mainly about Mets Fans, who year to year speak about their team, not with bravado, but more likely with a hope that players like Michael Conforto will bloom into the face of the Mets, and Jacob deGrom will perform magic on the mound once again.
Mets fans embrace a Matt Harvey as though he were a lost child, hoping someday he will be brought into the fold. In contrast, mets fans follow Harvey on Page Six of the New York Post, tracking and ridiculing his escapades on the streets of Manhattan.
Mets fans continue to believe that one day the Wilpons will see the light, opening their checkbook to field a team of All-Stars at every corner of the playing field. Not so with mets fans who don’t believe anything about the Wilpons, so why bother hoping for a change that will never come.
The drama is fortified by the Evil Empire, which claims its territory in the Bronx and Yankee Stadium, twenty minutes across a bridge of your choice from Citi Field. With the passing of George Steinbrenner, the Yankees are no longer free spenders, but they spend enough, for instance, to employ some of the best in baseball to manage their farm system, reaping their rewards later.
Mets Fans watch in anticipation when the Mets do spend money to sign a big name free agent. Often, hopes are crushed when a Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bell, or a Bobby Bonilla underperform, creating the once-bitten twice shy aura surrounding the team. Bonilla, by the way, still receives a check from the Mets for a cool $1 million every July 1st, and that will continue until 2035.
Mets fans hope that a Manny Machado will turn out differently if he’s signed by the Mets, while mets fans snicker that he won’t, but are still ready to hop on the bandwagon anytime things point up.
Fans of the Cubs and Red Sox lived through torturous decades of losing, and the Seattle Mariners have yet to claim a title after 31 years in the league.
Mets fans see no comfort in that, and somehow, with hope beyond hope, believe the 2019 version of the New York Mets will claim a Wild Card spot, with visions of 2015 dancing in their heads. I hope so too.
Written by Steve Contursi, Editor
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