2. The Mets Fans.
OK. I'll admit it. I jumped for joy and actually hit my hand hard on the ceiling in my room when New York center fielder Carlos Beltran stared at a curveball from St. Louis reliever Adam Wainwright to end the Mets 2006 season, and I positively reveled in playing the spoiler role in September of 2007, as the Nationals three game sweep of the Mets in the last week of the season allowed the Philadelphia Phillies to overtake NY and conclude the worst collapse in baseball history as the Mets dropped out of first and eventually completely out of the playoffs.
Mets fans have a built-in inferiority complex. As New York's other team, they can never win an argument with a Yankee fan. And it's not because Mets fans are always wrong, or for that matter, that Yankees fans are always right, it's just that obnoxious Yankee fans, whenever they feel themselves on the defensive, will simply say, "26? 26 World Series Championships?," and act as if there is no possible comeback.
Now in the past, the Mets fan would simply mock the enormous payroll the Yankees needed to be the "best team in baseball," but ever since the Mets started winning again, got their own tv station, and decided to spend their way into the new stadium, the Mets fan can no longer use this as an excuse.
So they became arrogant. They were now spending more money than everyone but the absurd Red Sox and Yankees, so of course they should win the division, and of course they should take the National League and represent the NL in the World Series. Of course David Wright should get the MVP. (Please don't start, fellow SBN bloggers!) How could you not enjoy Jose Reyes' "enthusiasm?"
What right do Mets fans have to think like this? We are talking about a team that has won only two World Series in their 45 year existence? A team that needed a weak-kneed first baseman to make the fielding error of the century to win it's second Series. And a team that was whipped out of the 2000 Series by the Yankees? (ed- A Yankee team that, I might add, scored 40 runs in 4 games off the Mets?)
And yet the Mets fan was sure that their team was headed for the World Series all the way up until the moment Wainwright's pitch crossed the plate and hit the catcher's mitt. And the Mets fan was sure they were winning the Series in `07 all the way until...well, most of them that I know actually stopped watching two weeks or so before the season ended.
I tried to find the best way to explain why the Mets fans themselves are the #2 Reason you can STILL hate THE METS. But I've collected enough quotes from my friends that are Mets fans in the past two years of blogging, that I believe they provide the best evidence themselves. Here are the collected ramblings of the Mets fans I know: (ed- "With my own hindsight-aided witty remarks in parentheses.)
The Mets Repertory Players:
Boss- Mid-to-late 40's. Lifelong Mets fan. Partial ticket plan holder.
Runner- Early 30's. Junior executive type. Takes any and all free tickets.
On the Mets weaknesses headed into 2006...
Boss - "Matsui."
Runner - "Matsui."(ed -Thank God the Mets got rid of Kaz Matsui. He's helping the Rockies a lot here in 2007!)
Boss - "They(the Mets) got a million middle relievers...we'll see who does best in right, Nady is better than I thought, will get 20-25, and 70(ed. - Nady got 28 and 63, 13 and 23 of which came in Pittsburgh when he was traded.)...Diaz(OF Victor) can hit his way out of his mistakes in the field."
Runner - "Two words. Kaz Matsui. Diaz in right, not great, good arm, can't hit a curve, but fastball...LOOK OUT! Everyone Go Home!"(ed- Diaz was traded to the Rangers in Aug `06 after only 11 at bats with the Mets.)
Who is the player to watch on your team?
Boss- "For the Mets, I want to say Beltran, but Delgado! With what's on base in front of him, and what's up behind him..."
Runner - "What's behind him is Wright! Sweet swing, a year older, improved hands, a full year under the tutelage of Willie Randolph. Wright will bust out of his shell..."
Boss - "Bust out of his shell? He hit .306 last year! Delgado will have Floyd and Wright behind him, Reyes on base, Floyd and Wright don't K, you can't pitch around Delgado with them behind him..."
Runner - "Bust out...of...his...shell...Wright wins the MVP!" And if Floyd is hurt, he'll be in the 3-hole."
Predict the Final NL East Standings?
Boss - "Mets second in the division. And the Wild Card."
Runner - "Well, normally I wouldn't say...because of the Braves...how many yea...Mets take the division by three games! Mets, Phils, Braves, Marlins, Nationals!"
Boss - "You put the Nationals after the Marlins(laughs)."
Edward - "Braves, Mets, Nationals, Phils, Marlins!"(ed- Final 2006 NL East standings- NY-Philly-Atl-Florida-DC. Runner was right this time.)
4/12/06 Two weeks into the 2006 season, "It's just too bad that the Nationals had to play the Mets six of their first ten games when the Mets are this good." - Runner.
(ed- A quick diversion, an old Met-hating post title of mine): from 10/1/06:
10.1.06 -- If I had a Mets blog I'd call it... "Wrightdoesnowrong.com"... "WhoisMoVaughn?.com" ..."NeedAnotherBuckner.com" ..."theotherNYteam.com" ...ParkUndertheGrandCentral.blogspot"...
When I complain to Runner about the "Human-Rain-Delay" Steve Trachsel during a game in 2006, Runner responds that, "Trachsel is just really careful."
(ed- Another quick diversion, my first undercover report from Shea Stadium.)
10.21.06 - I get a ticket to the Mets 2006 First Round game with the LA Dodgers.
I decided to embrace the idea, and go fully into character as an Undercover Mets fan. I have now convinced myself that David Wright deserves the MVP. Jose Reyes is fun to watch, and I enjoy his "enthusiasm.
I pretend Billy Wagner is untouchable. Tom Glavine is twenty-three. Pedro might still return, and a trip to the World Series is a given. A win in the Series? More than likely, especially now that the "F---in' Yankees" are out of the Playoffs. For that night I was a Mets fan. I even high-fived people, and it worked. They never suspected my true desire for Dodger success...
Almost immediately after losing to St. Louis in 2006...
..."Yeah," Runner started talking as soon as I picked up my phone. "...So I was listening to the Fan and they were talking about the Mets signing Alfonso Soriano to play left field in place of Cliff(Floyd) next season."
"Soriano, Beltran and Endy or Green in right,huh? What do you think of that?" I asked Runner.
"Sounds good to me, but you know the cliche, 'It takes pitching to win,'" Runner laughs.(ed- Oh that's funny in October 2007 hindsight. Real funny.)
"You have to start thinking like a Yankee fan, that's the kind of team you have now," I insult him.
"Yeah, I haven't come to grips with that," Runner says.
In the weeks leading up the the `07 Trading Deadline...
My old friend Runner, the Mets fan, checks in via the telephone, "Hey, I heard Minaya's interested in DY!" he taunts.
"Yeah, and Cordero, and Rauch, and Livan," I respond.
"First of all, Livan's not on the Nationals anymore, secondly, if we add Cordero forget about it," Runner says in reference to the Mets playoff hopes.
(Is it a New York thing to say "we" when referring to a favored team?)
Runner continues, "We've got some good pitching in the Minors, who were the Nationals looking at?"
"Humber, Pelfrey, and one other Double-AA pitcher from what I read, two of the three," I say.
"I'd be alright with that," Runner says.
"Yeah good idea, trade your prospects for rentals, that always works for the Yankees right?" I ask.
"Cordero is young, not really a rental, and the Mets don't want to be the Yankees," Runner counters, and I can't really argue with the first part of that sentence.
(ed- Overheard from a disgruntled Mets fan in Shea Stadium after being swept by DC in the week of the season):
"The starters stink. The bullpen's worse. They score seven or eight runs a night and can't win. Fire Randolph! Fire Minaya!" an extremely drunk and disgruntled fan yells." (ed- "Ahhh... The Mets Fan...the #2 Reason You Can STILL Hate THE METS!!")