Friday, October 28, 2005

Inspired By Infidels

I have to admit...the last couple of weeks, I've had a serious case of writers block on this blog. Part of it has been the Yanks getting knocked out in the way that they did. That took a lot of the wind out of my sails. Some of it has been physical exhaustion. Between work, staying up late to watch the games, going to games live and the typical drinking and debauchery that I engage in...I've had a hard time coming up with good stuff for this blog. I've posted some decent stuff on my other blog, the Imperial Sports Page, but I haven't done right by my first born.

An infidel friend says that my writing is much better when I'm pissed at someone or something. That I'm at my best when I focus my hate on a subject and spew away. It's easy to do this during the season because there's always someone or something that's getting under my craw...that there's often not enough time to write about everything that's pissing me off.

I think I've found my inspiration.

Let me start off by welcoming MetsGuy to the blog universe. Unlike some cowards who don't have the courage to start their own blogs but want to mock others who do have the courage to bear their souls, this transplanted left-coaster had the guts declare his love for his team on the World Wide Web. Bully for him. For this he should be saluted.

Now he must die.

He decides to use his inaugural post to spout the old, silly drivel that I've had to hear from Mets fans for years. Let me give you a couple of tidbits in case you've become from reading his saccarhin account of the Flushing faithful...

Mets fans are the greatest baseball fans in the world.

The greatest baseball fans in the world? Mutt fans deserve hazard pay for traveling to that eyesore of a park in Queens 81 times a year. But how can a team that can't sell out consistently unless they play the Yankees call themselves the greatest baseball fans in the world? Last season and in 2004, when this team was still in the pennant race in July and August, they only drew about 30 to 35 thousand a game. In a park that seats well over 50 thousand. Where were all these great fans? In a metropolitan area of over 17 million people, how can a team with the greatest fans in the world only draw 30 plus thousand a game? In the middle of a pennant race?
We live in a city where we have a team that represents tradition and dominance. We could easily don the navy blue and spend every season watching last year’s crop of overpaid free agents. Yet, given this option, we reject it for the stigma that comes with the blue and orange. We reject one-dimensional, swing for the fences baseball, and we embrace pitching, defense, base running, and all the comforts that Shea’s wide outfield provides.

The reason you don't spend any money on free agents is that when you do...they suddenly forget how to play the game that made them rich in the first place. Bonilla, Vaughn, Alomar, Beltran...the list is almost endless. The Yankees have their fair share of disappointments, but we also have quite a few success stories. Winfield, Jackson, Hunter, Wells, Mussina, Matsui, Sheffield and others. Guys that have earned their paychecks by posting superior numbers. Why? Because we hold our guys accountable for their performances.
New Yorkers are Yankee fans because they support New York. We are Mets fans because we appreciate baseball. To us, this game is not about supporting a team in October, and ignoring them during the season. We do not jump off the bandwagon at the smallest sign of failure. In an odd Buddhist way, we embrace the failures that come with being a Mets fan, because we know it gives us character. It shows that we are better fans than our Yankee brethren, who would sooner not watch than cheer for a team that doesn’t make the postseason.

I love the way losers feel the need to justify why they root for their teams by calling winners bandwagon jumpers. That it shows some strength of character to root for your team even when they stink. I and a lot of Yankee fans remember the bad old days of the 1980's. When New York was a Mets town. When Doc, Daryl and the Kid ruled Gotham City. I remember the empty stands of Yankee Stadium. The full houses at Shea. Growing up in Queens and getting tortured by the Flushing Faithful. Never once did I ever consider donning the blue and orange. Now the tide has turned. Now, NYC is once again the capital of Galactic Baseball Empire. The Yankees are drawing record crowds while the Mets players are looking at empty seats.

You know what that tells me? It tells me that every team has a core group of diehards. Then there are peripheral fans. Fans that follow a team but don't live and die with how they do. Then there are bandwagon jumpers. People who want to be associated with a winner and despite what they say, and have no real allegiance to anyone except whoever's holding up that trophy at the end of the season. You're a loyal fan. True to you school. But this idea that the Mets stink and you deserve a medal because you have the courage to wear a Mets hat makes you a better fan than Yankee fans is silly. Sports runs in cycles. There will be a time in the future where the Mets are better than the Yankees. Not next year like Mike Lupica thinks, but someday. And then Shea will be overrun by all pink Mets hats and David Wright jerseys in the way Yankee Stadium is inundated with pixies with their pink Yankee gear and Jeter shirts. Bandwagon jumpers have no allegiances.
We have no association with the business-like pinstripes of the Yankees, and the tight suits who cheer for them. Our tradition stems from the working class fans of the Dodgers and Giants, gathering with the ghosts of Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds. Their stadium was built on sluggers whose names we can rattle off until we want to vomit: Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, gag, choke, puke. Take a stroll down Monument Park, and you’ll see the retired numbers of many sluggers, and two pitchers. Is that the best you can do? For all your tradition and storied history, is your baseball team really so entrenched in the philosophy of simply swinging for the fences and beating opponents into submission?

This maybe the dumbest thing that he wrote. Despite the glorification of the big bats, anyone who knows anything about Yankee history knows that this dynasty was built on pitching. Names like Ruffing, Gomez, Ford, Hunter, Reynolds, Larsen, Page, Wells, Pettitte, Clemens, Cone, Rivera and so on. The Yankees have as rich a history of pitching as any club in the history of the game. When the Yankees consistently beat the Dodgers in the forties and fifties. It was with their arms not their biceps. The only perfect game in the Postseason history was thrown by a Yankee. The greatest closer in postseason history is a Yankee. The World Series leader in wins is a Yankee. Chicks dig the long ball and home runs put fannies in the seats. But pitching wins championships. So despite Metsguy's little rant about the Yankees being a one dimensional franchise, despite all this holier than thou National League nonsense, the Yankees actually "outNational League" the National League.

But why am I defending my team to a man that roots for a team that's produced exactly one Hall of Famer(not counting Nolan Ryan) and no Hall of Fame position players? The Padres have two. The Twins have three. Even the Expos have one. Who have the Mets produced? Strawberry? Redeemed as a Yankee. Mitchell? Traded away and became the NL MVP in 1989.

Congrats on the blog, Metsguy. But instead of constantly trying to compare your team to a franchise and legacy that you'll never live up to...worry about whether Reyes is going to break his leg legging out a triple or if Wright will get caught with underage midget triplets in the Poconos. You'll be better than trying to convince the world that going to a sewage plant for fun develops character.

Thanks I needed that....

4 Comments:

Blogger Kyle G. Lumsden said...

A sewage plant? Well, that would explain why Shea has no water fountains.

Kyle in Newport News

5:54 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I always wonder if the people who point out another team's bandwagon fans is not a former bandwagoner themself. I know many Mets fans who followed the team from birth. And I know just as many who became fans in 1986. But because they've stuck with the team for 20 years they think they are beyond the bandwagon thing. Why? Did they not join the Mets frenzy because the Mets won the World Series? Is that not a bandwagon?

And I'll say the same thing about Yankee bandwagoners -- they suck too. I hope they're all gone after last season. But like you said, bandwagoners have no loyalties. They'll root for whoever makes them look cool. That's not the team's fault, last time I checked.

Also, people conveniently forget the bad Yankee years when they need to make an argument...hell, people forget a lot of things when they make anti-Yankee arguments. Being a Yankee hater has become such a cliche with these trite arguments and bizarro need for hate that it's become a bandwagon in and of itself, if you think about it.

I just wish people would focus on their own teams and derive joy from that, instead of worrying about what the other guy is doing...

10:16 AM  
Blogger The Metmaster said...

Oh, the pomposity!
Why must Yankee fans be so arrogant? Don't you all know by now of the Yankees contributions to mankind? They invented baseball. Hell, they invented grass. Listen to John Sterling. (Lord, what a thought!) Everything is perfect in Yankeeland. "Susan is this just the perfect setting for a ball game"? "Susan, can they get any more people into this 'Cathedral of Baeeball'"? "Susan, I walked through Monument Park, as I often do to collect my thoughts, and it struck me how wonderful it is to be a blowhard" Blah, blah, blah.
Everything is perfect in that slice of heaven on River Avenue. The grass is greener, the beer is colder, the hot dogs are hotter, the dirt is dirtier. Don't you know it was the Yankees who saved the game? Don't you know it was the "the luckiest man on the face of the earth" that galvanized a nation? Don't you know it was the Yankees who kicked Hitler's ass?
Please!
Yankee fans are self-absorbed, self-important, arrogant elitists. They are the French of baseball.
If they have a history of such great fans, then why did the Mets draw 3-million long before the Yankees did? All those championships and they could not put three million fannies in "The Cathedral of Baseball? It wasn't until Steinbrenner threatened to move them to Jersey that people started showing up. Yeah Shea is a toilet, but the House That Ruth Built is no bargain either when it comes to fan comforts. Oh, I forgot. The "ghosts" are supposed to keep you in a perpetual state of awe that you forget about the crowded men's rooms, impassable concourses, obnoxious ushers, and lousy food. But both teams will soon be in new digs. I guarantee that when both are built the writers will critique them. The new Yankeeland will be all about "shock and awe". They are so infatuated by their past that the result will be a sterile monolith. The new place in Flushing will be described as "fun", a word that has never been associated with the Yankees. Isn't fun what it's all supposed to be about? The impossible pressure to win everything all the time has made Yankee fans into joyless jerks. I've been to games where the Yankees are beating some hapless souls like the Royals or Devil Rays by a couple of runs and all you hear are the complaints of the faithful that the Yankees should be winning by 6 runs. It's not enough to beat you. Yankee fans find it necessary to beat, batter, bludgeon and embarrass. Classless. They are like Donald Trump; constantly telling you that they have more than you have.
Our day will come again. Soon. A day that terrifies Yankee fans.

"I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long long to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out."

8:38 AM  
Blogger FenwayParked said...

MISS ME?

Ortiz named AL Outstanding Player
11/03/2005 2:00 PM ET
By Ian Browne / MLB.com

BOSTON -- Only time will tell if Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz gets the support of baseball writers when the American League Most Valuable Player is announced on Nov. 14. However, it is clear that Ortiz won over the respect of his peers with another monster year in 2005, as he was selected the AL's Outstanding Player in the Players Choice Awards on Thursday.

The left-handed masher seems to raise his game to a higher level each year.

In 2005, he was simply marvelous, establishing career highs in runs (119), hits (180), homers (47), RBIs (148), total bases (363), walks (102) and OPS (1.001).

The Players Choice Awards are the culmination of a unique process that annually allows players on all 30 teams to cast their votes.

This is just the latest honor for Ortiz, who was unveiled as the AL's Hank Aaron Award (best overall hitter) prior to Game 4 of the World Series.

The rise of Ortiz never gets old to Red Sox fans. He was released by the Twins following the 2002 season, then picked up by the Red Sox for a modest one-year contract (just more than $1 million).

In 2003, his first season with the Sox, Ortiz finished fifth in the AL MVP voting, bashing 31 homers and driving in 101 runs.

One-year wonder? Hardly. All Ortiz did in '04 was hit .301, smash 41 homers and drive in 139 runs.

But it was during the 2004 postseason that Ortiz truly became a household name.

In helping the Red Sox to their first World Series title in 86 years, Ortiz produced a walk-off homer in the 12th inning of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, then won Game 5 with an RBI single in the 14th inning, helping the surging Red Sox become the first team to rally back from a 3-0 deficit in a postseason series.

Again, Ortiz raised his game to another level in 2005, this time showing marked improvement in his plate discipline, while showing no apparent weakness at the plate.

Ortiz had a flair for the dramatic in 2005, winning games with walk-off homers on June 2 (against Orioles closer B.J. Ryan) and Sept. 6 (off Angels setup man Scot Shields).

Following that latter blast, Red Sox principal owner John W. Henry and president/CEO Larry Lucchino entered the clubhouse and presented Ortiz with a plaque that said, "The Greatest Clutch Hitter in the History of the Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, #34."

Who could argue?

"It's incredible how he does things the way he does them," veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield said in September. "He's Mr. Clutch."

"David's a special player," Sox catcher Jason Varitek said. "He has a great swing. He has a great approach. He has good mechanics. He's powerful. He thrives in that situation."

How does Ortiz always manage to rise to the challenge when the game is on the line?

"I always think about, 'OK, I got to get the job done.' I believe in myself," Ortiz said following his game-winner off Ryan. "I believe I can do it. That's all I put in my mind."

10:23 AM  

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