2 Guys Talking: What Do Mets Fans Wish?

Mike:

What makes a fan happy is something of an individual decision. Of course, the thing that would make almost any fan the happiest is a World Series Champion every single year of their lives. But a rational person has to understand that can’t be done. There are thirty teams, and only one of them can be World Series Champs each year. On the other hand, the entire idea of rooting for a bunch of folks because of the shirts they wear is very irrational. So the idea that someone can only be pleased if their team wins it all is believable to me.

In fact, now that I think about it further, that might be the ultimate profile of someone who decides to be a Yankee fan. The idea of anything less than winning it all makes them miserable so they pick the team with the greatest odds to actually do it. They have the most rings, so the math works. But for the rest of us, what are we looking for? It’s personal, geniebottlecertainly. And as the Mets have not made the playoffs since 2006 and have not had a .500 season since 2008, most Mets fans have been dreaming about what would ultimately make them happy again. Very few fans get into bad, boring baseball, as we can see from the empty stands at Citi Field. So I’ll start with you, Jimmy, and you take good care of yourself so I feel safe using the following timeline. If a genie stopped by and granted you one wish —

Jimmy:

Say no more, Mike, I know what I’m wishing for: Linda Ronstadt!

The early years!

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Mike:

Not so fast, Jimmy. This is multiple choice.

Jimmy:

If the other option is Linda Ronstadt, the later years, I’ll just stuff that genie back in the bottle and pretend it never happened.

Mike:

Which would you pick for the next ten years?

1. One Mets World Championship

2. Five Mets playoff appearances

Understand, it’s one or the other, you can’t have both. Oh, and if you get the Championship that’s it, you don’t get any other playoff appearances.

Jimmy:

I’m picking the playoffs. Does that surprise you? I realize that each year ends in heartbreak, but I think of five years of high-quality baseball, playoff races (which you win), quality teams, so many big games and good times at the ballpark. I don’t want to be the Miami Marlins. Where you get the championships and the dismal years. That is, if I have a vote in this.

Mike:

No, I understand. I find it a difficult question. Every season matters to me, and there is nothing worse for me than what we have endured since Alderson showed up, years where winning wasn’t even a consideration. As a fan you always want to have hope until it is dashed. So the longer, the better. And realistically, only one team can win it all. It seems shallow to me, the idea of any season that doesn’t end in a Worlds Championship being a failure. That’s why I always find the current narrative, that the mid-2000 Mets were a big waste, hard to swallow. Pedro brought winning and fun back to Shea in 2005. 2006, until Adam Wainright broke off that curve, was one long blast. The last games of 2007 and 2008 were heartbreaking, but that was because they were so meaningful, due to the 161 games that proceeded it. It’s been years since I’ve taken a loss that hard, because the games have not mattered.

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Consistent winning has always been my goal. But now, at this point in my life, if I had to choose I would take the one and done. As everyone knows, the Mets have had plenty of success since 1986. Two Division crowns, Two World Series appearances, and long stretches in each decade where the team was an annual contender. What they have not done since then is win it all. I’m not a pig, but I would like to see one more before I die. Baseball for me is a family thing. My oldest child turned 26 this month, and has never seen that ultimate banner raised. I’d love to be breathing when that happens. I have seen so many Mets fans die while we wait out Super 2 deadlines. So, if I have to vote, just get me the one.

Jimmy:

Championships are great, but such a crapshoot these days. You know, folks have rightly killed the Wilpons on the “meaningful games in September” goal. The reason for that is because implicit in that goal was there would be no October. We’d be in it, but not to win it.

In the old days, I used to criticize them for stopping short of excellence. They never wanted to be the best. Nowadays, I don’t know what they want anymore. Problem is, I think Sandy might be worse. He’s content to roll out Ruben Tejada and pretend it’s not a big charade. You know, Terry sure talked a lot about Ruben’s hot streak. How he was playing “good.” He heard the wake-up call and was suddenly transformed, ready to go.

Here are Ruben’s numbers for May: .122/.234/.171.

That includes, I guess, the hot streak that turned Terry’s head around like Linda Blair’s in “The Exorcist.”

Exorcist -extended-blu-200

Look at Tejada for the entire season against RHP: .146/.247/.171.

It’s a joke. A pathetic joke. And it’s on us, the fans.

We are right to be fed up with these guys.

In early March, I wrote that we should release Ruben before the season started. Just say goodbye, wish him good luck. Some readers thought I was crazy, a radical extremist. But each day he’s around, it’s a sign that this team is not coming to grips with reality, not addressing the problem, not attempting to win.

Mike:

terry-collins1-400x268The longer it goes, the more I think it’s hard to think about the long-term. I lived in the City, and the Rangers would make the playoffs all the time, but always came up short. Those fans got taunted all the time, Islander fans would actually chant “1940” at Rangers/Islanders games. Finally, of course, they won the Cup in 1994. That Rangers team was built to win right then and there, forget the future. My general observation at the time was almost all of the fans were on board with that approach. They had come close quite enough, thank you. I suspect Red Sox fans felt the same way by 2004, I doubt many would have picked more playoff appearances. If I asked this question of a Cubs fan, they must be willing to surrender anything for a Series title. But, a Giants fan, right now, I could see them saying, “Hey, give me all that good baseball.” They have plenty of fresh memories to carry them for a while.

Jimmy:

Look, it’s been a long, brutal stretch. People talk like 2007 and 2008 were so awful, and they certainly ended in heartbreak and frustration. But that was nirvana compared to these dreary games, with a GM who just lies on a daily basis, the oldest manager in MLB, and owners who have all but destroyed a franchise. I’m not saying I don’t want a championship. But damn, I’d take 2008 all over again. These days, that’s good enough for the playoffs. And once you’re in, rolling the dice, hey, you never know.

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22 comments

  1. since68 says:

    I’m definitely on the other side of the coin from Jimmy. I hated 2006-2007. Probablyl two of my worst years along with some from the early nineties. I’m enjoying many aspects of this year. Mostly the excitement of new prospects possibly becoming stars. Harvey, Wheeler, Lagares, Thor, plus home grown Mets like Murphy, Wright and Niese.
    I hated Delgado, Beltran, Castillo, Wagner. They were guns for hire , not our own. When they failed it was much more aggravating.

  2. Did anyone catch that catch by Puig last night? Wow. Great that Mejia got a real save, too. These days, it’s about the moments.

    • Michael Geus says:

      Great catch, and later he showed he doesn’t know the rules of the game yet, which is the knock on the guy. Of course, it’s hard to argue with the whole package.

      Watching Flores not understanding the infield fly rule as well was disheartening. I guess with all the “Hunting Strikes” training there is no time for basic baseball in our minor league system.

      The fundamentals are horrible from this group daily.

      • Patrick Boegel says:

        And yet that is what we were told that Collins would bring repeatedly. And we are repeatedly told what an excellent job he is doing, of course by the absent minded GM.

        • Michael Geus says:

          I’m not bringing this up to defend Collins as yes, the major league outfit does dumb stuff over and over. Fair point.

          But Flores has been in Aldersons vaunted developmental system for every year since Sandy took over. Shouldn’t he know the rules of the game before he gets promoted to the majors?

          We keep our players in the minors forever. Is it asking too much that someone teach them the game down there? I keep hearing all this nonsense about how many games our minor league teams win. That’s not what the emphasis should be, the emphasis should be on developing players.

          Zack Wheeler shows up last year and everyone notices he is tipping his pitches, Flores shows up and he doesn’t know the basic rules. It’s not just Collins.

          • Patrick Boegel says:

            Did not mean to imply anything Michael. Was more or less just stating an agreement and pointing out the dynamic duo of coexistent dysfunction

          • Michael Geus says:

            No, I agree with you, the major league team plays sloppy all the time. It’s hard to watch. I just wanted to point out it is a system-wide issue.

  3. Michael Geus says:

    I loved 2006, and one of the things I enjoyed was young stars Reyes and Wright. So I understand how folks enjoy watching homegrown talent. The hired gun who always drove me craziest was Glavine, who acted like a hostage the whole time. His phone it in performance on the last day of the 2007 season was a fitting end for him, as was his comments afterward.

  4. Ruben Tejada is homegrown.

  5. Reese Kaplan says:

    The problem is not the watering. The problem is all they went out and got was fertilizer to fill the roster.

  6. Patrick Boegel says:

    If the choice is 2007 & 2008 on perpetual repeat versus the lame awful attempts to develop our own talent, I’ll watch the meltdown even without beer.

  7. Eraff says:

    Attendance peaked at 4,000,000 plus fans in those woeful End Days of the Minaya regime.

    A new Ballpark…. a New Sports Network….. a New Management Team…. T attendance is now at 2,000,000 and still sinking.

    Is there REALLY a debate on Those years versus These years?

    …btw… I don;t share the overall negativity on the Roster—There are some very nice players here–granted, not all of them 600 ab guys. Obviously missing are the eefctive parts that would make then better/contender right now—-and I don;t see the ability or willingness or DESIRE of a Management team that could make that happen.

    • Michael Geus says:

      Personally, I thought the interesting question was do people prefer “sustained success” without an ultimate Championship or one magical year. In general not too many fans prefer bad baseball over good.

      • Eraff says:

        “…not many fans prefer bad baseball over good.”

        Further question: is the present Regime capable of EITHER of your choices? Both require ACTION.

  8. Dave says:

    I’m with Jim on this one. A baseball season, like life, is about the journey. Having a good team (remember, the set up for Mike’s question is a playoff team every other year) over a sustained period is the value option, even if there are no canyon of heroes parades. Playoff races and caring about games from July through October are what nourishes me as a baseball fan.

    Roger Kahn’s quote about the Dodgers comes to mind…”You may glory in a team triumphant, but you fall in love with a team in defeat.”

  9. Raff says:

    Even the two-part multiple choice has shades of grey within each of the selections. The Mets have had ONE decent season since 2008, and the next 5 seasons have been utterly unwatchable- now into season 6 of unwatchable baseball. SO, a single championship in a 10 year span, surrounded by unwatchable baseball would be unacceptable… IT might mean 9 years of THIS– What we have now. And it would indicate a continuation of the current reign of terror. To that I say -Never Again- PLEASE! As BASEBALL FAN— THIS is unwatchable- it’s not baseball… I’ll take the 5 playoff appearance- That would indicate a competitive professional team is on the field, and watchable baseball is being played. As far as rooting for the “laundry”- how many more wash-loads of tears can it take?

    • The length of the games is taking such a toll on me. I don’t know where the tipping point is exactly, but when you add lackluster baseball to it . . . damn, just feels endless.

      • Michael Geus says:

        The length gets crazier and crazier. Speaking of tipping points, way back when I remember Dick Young would rail about how TV would ruin the game. He was wrong, of course, as TV is now the primary funding of the game, and the game is very healthy economically.

        But what has happened is the game isn’t designed to watch in person anymore. When you are at the game you can’t just change channels every time there is a pitching change, or a stall from a manager waiting out help from his bench on a challenge.

        A boring four hour game on TV is annoying on a Wednesday night. In person it’s grounds to not renew season tickets. I get it, the TV money is such that the teams don’t care, but the landscape is changing.

        In the end, building smaller parks does make sense. How many seats do you really need for a studio audience?

  10. Don P says:

    To the original question, I’m with Mike. I want to win the prize. I would take 1 championship every 5 years from now to the end of time and rejoice. But Eraff is right, why do we think that either is possible with the current ownership/front office?

    • Michael Geus says:

      It’s funny, supporters of this bunch actually preach patience, to allow for the building of a perennial winner. When I look at the construction crew, and especially the foreman, I end up hoping for one lucky season where we get it all.

      I can’t imagine any sustained success under this ownership.

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