Reese Kaplan -- Why Root for the Mets?

At work just recently I was asked a series of seemingly simple but interesting questions, “Why are you a Mets fan?”  After all, the inquisitor, continued, “Didn’t you grow up in the New York City area where the Yankees play?”  And his finishing salvo was, “The Mets haven’t won in so long.  Why would anyone root for them?”  Without getting overly defensive, I got somewhat introspective and tried to give these inquiries some serious thought.  Let’s take them one at a time.

"Why Are You a Mets Fan?"

All my life I’ve never been a front runner.  When the world went iPhone, I went Android.  When the easy choice was a Harley, I chose a Moto Guzzi.  When the conventional wisdom out of college was to go to work for someone else, I opened a retail store.  I think that mentality is common among Mets fans.  It’s a matter of picking the road less traveled and seeing where it leads you.

"Why Aren’t You a Yankees Fan?"

What I’m fond of saying is that Yankee fans expect to win.  Mets fans appreciate when they win.  That’s the difference between the two groups.  Furthermore, it’s probably harder on Yankees fans when they lose than it is on Mets fans.  We understand there are peaks and valleys to being a fan.  You can’t always buy your way into a pennant.  In fact, despite courting and signing many significant free agents the Yankees have missed the playoffs each of the past two years, a dozen games back each time.  

"Why Would Anyone Root For the Mets?"

If you took a poll of baseball fans, executives and writers from around the country right now removing the locals from the mix the conclusion would still be the same.  In the Bronx you have a franchise in a downwards spiral whereas in Queens you have a team ascending towards respectability.  Now the phrase “Despite their manager” or something of that ilk will pepper most of the pro-Mets articles (and not without good reason given the incumbent’s career losing record and his ponderous decision making, but it’s good to hear all of the accolades for the young pitchers’ staff as well as up-and-comers like Travis d’Arnaud and Juan Lagares as well as wildcards like Wilmer Flores and Rafael Montero who have the potential to contribute significantly towards a wildcard run in 2015.  

Why are you all Mets fans?  It’s surely a lot harder than being a Yankees fan, but it appears the corner has been turned and they may be now heading into their fourth era of respectability.   


Thomas Brennan said...

I grew up a Mets fan, and it is a loyalty factor. But if the Mets still looked like a barren wasteland, such as in the late 1970's and early 1980's, after several non-winning years, and Yanks looked dynamic, I'd consider switching - or doing something else with my time.

But lots of great young guys filtering in, and we should be winning for years.

Yanks got lucky by having several great and extremely durable home-grown talents (Jeter, Petite, Bernie, Mariano, Posada, Cano). What if you switched and these guys got seriously impaired like Ken Griffey Jr? You'd feel like a schmuck. But they spent and turned it into 20 mostly dominating years.

Now we have that sort of talent, hopefully. Good things come to those that wait in baseball - sometimes.

Reese Kaplan said...

@Tom Brennan -- "Good things come to those that wait in baseball"

Like a new manager? :)

Mack Ade said...

I was born in Ozone Park, Queens and grew up a Brooklyn Dodger fan... it was a natural progression to become a Mets fan when they were formed in 1962 when I was a junior in high school.

Reese Kaplan said...

I inherited my Mets fandom from my father who followed a parallel path to yours, Mack. He was a Giants fan and adopted the Mets when Willie Mays and company fled town.

Thomas Brennan said...

@ Reese

You'll have to wait a while. Collins wants to set record as oldest manager ever. The record?

Connie Mack: Mack's final season managing the Philadelphia Athletics (1950) was at the age of 87 (born December 22, 1862).

Mack Ade said...

Tom -

After reading "Baseball Maverick", which I am featuring the highlights of in my Friday Morning Report. I feel this will be TC's last year in Queens.

Thomas Brennan said...

When it happens, you, Reese and I can celebrate with a Tom Collins. Get the right manager and go on a several year run.

Steve from Norfolk said...

I'm a Mets fan because of 2 words - Jerry Koosman. The Mets AAA team moved to Norfolk in 1968, the same year of Kooz'a fantastic rookie season. I went to summer camp that year so I couldn't go see the Tides, but I followed Koosman's season vial the Sporting News. Poring over those box scores and trying to picture the plays and Koosman's heater made me really think about the game in a way I never had, as well as making me learn the rest of the league. Anyway, between that year and the next)we all know what happened then!) the Mets have been my team through thick and thin.

Mack Ade said...

The funny thing about rooting for a team.

Winning has always been secondary. Sure, you want it to happen, but it doesn't prevent you from 'coming back' the next year.

The only team I have every seen, in any sport, lose fans because of outside issues, has been the Mets over the Madoff mess... my brother... two of my best friends... three of my writers... all stopped rooting for the team they once loved.

Thomas Brennan said...

Another reason to root for the Mets: Lagares, who has 2 hits, including a 2 run shot is hitting .395. Stephen Drew, whom Boras tried to dump on us, is hitting .167 this spring. Montero a sweet outing today.

Hobie said...

Born in Brooklyn to a Dodger (extended) family. Great Uncle George who took me to my first game in 1947 had been to the Ebbets opener in 1913 or whenever. Saw the first night game there too, when Van der Meer pitched his 2nd consecutive no-no. "Nobody could see the ball," claimed Uncle George )

Could not become a Yankee fan when the Bums left. "Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for the IRS," my dad would say. Would have dropped MLB for the Continental League had that eventuated. To my delight the Mets became an NL franchise. The rest, as they say, is hysterical.

Mets Dreams said...

I'm from Rochester and started rooting for the Mets in 1968 because of guy named Seaver. I've since moved to Connecticut and recently to Boston. I'm going to pose your question to some of my Boston friends but with a twist. Why were you a Red Sox fan 15 years ago? When I tell them I'm a Mets fan they say that's ok as long as you're not a Yankee fan. It's funny how 15 years ago the Red Sox and Patriots were laughing stocks for their inability to win. Now look at them, championships everywhere. The common denominator with both teams: great leadership from the owner on down, and more than that great passion. The Mets have passion from their owners but not sure about the leadership.

Mack's Mets © 2012