Saturday, April 23, 2005

Coming to the uncanny realization that I might be a Mets fan

Ok, so today I saw the Mets absolutely demolish the Nationals, which reminded me why I never actually sat through a Expos game before. It was becoming Expo-nentially more painful to watch as I came into the game with a mild allegiance to the nationals due to my current area code. But anyway, since I had Diaz, Cliff Floyd, and Kaz Matsui on my fantasy team, I could not stop being happy to see it going into double digit runs. But then they started showing footage of the fans in shea stadium, wrapped up in raincoats sitting through that depressing april drizzle, you could see them being genuinely happy that they were winning. They were smiling, but it was not the gloating smile-like sneer of Yankee fans were their content comes from their realization of what they consider to be an inevitability, or the screaming yelps of Red Sox fans who seem to be two seconds away from a stroke with every run scored inching them closer to the end of days. No, the Mets fans had a restrained joyfulness about them, as if they were not going to interpret this current run of wins, they were not going to begin worrying about their play-off chances, they were just going to enjoy the moment. They know what suffering is; they actually have the record for worst season in the 20th cent, 40-120 (ouch). But now, now they are just gonna smile. I think if the Buddha watched baseball, he'd be a Mets fan.

On they other hand, they do also know the meteoric rise, like the 'miracle mets' who got the 1969 pennant (just 7 years after their unfortunate record). And to be sure, they have probably seen more play-off action than many other teams. But comon, you gotta wonder in a city where the tenacity of its citizens is somewhat notorious, that the real symbol would not be Steinbrenner's yanks. Constant winning is for the suburbs, where a culture of buying the best to achieve the best is second nature. Being wildly inconsistent is what makes a lot of a cities attitude, the volatility is somewhat ingrained. The highs are high, and god-damn the lows are low. Within blocks you can cross over from the wealthiest real estate on earth to some of the most abject poverty in the developed world. I am not usually high on yankee bashing, but I am starting to see how it would be interesting to prove their paradigm wrong by seeing real new yorkers actively rooting for the mets. Like in chicago, I love the sox and the cubs, and I realize there is somewhat of a cultural war going on in the background. But you see the irony is that the newer flashier stadium is in the poorer south side, while in the north they are the bastion of baseball conservatism--even their teams are built around opposing philosophies that would make sense idiosyncratically if it was reversed. I understand the suburbs bring in another dimension in terms of funding, and that the generic stereotype is not exactly true. But there is to some degree a harmonious relationship between the two city teams, and I sort of wonder if there was a conscious effort to make sure that it happened that way. What I guess I'm saying is that the Yankees are trying to be new york's cubs and sox; the rich dynamic team and the one rich with history. Where does that leave the mets? Well, at least in this last run, smiling...


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