Has anyone been watching SportsCenter recently? I happened to be watching this morning and noticed another Not Top 10 list. Immediately, I remembered the recent Not Top 10 where they focused on the Mets. Apparently, the Mets’ follies had become fodder for jokes in Bristol. The SportsCenter crew couldn’t contain themselves as they were running the ten worst plays so far this season, culminating in Luis Castillo’s dropped popup against the Yankees. For some reason, I don’t remember the 2003 Detroit Tigers being made fun of as much as the Mets are now. They went 43-119 and challenged the 1962 Mets’ record for futility. More people felt sorry for the Tigers than were making fun of them.
Last week, I also noticed a new “This Is SportsCenter” ad on ESPN where Josh Hamilton was in the kitchen with Stuart Scott and Mr. Met walked in on them. When Mr. Met stormed out, an inquisitive Hamilton was informed by Scott that some of the balls Hamilton hit at last year’s All-Star Home Run Derby were Mr. Met’s cousins. People have been hitting Mr. Met’s cousins for years now. Not only that, wouldn’t this commercial have been more timely last season after the Home Run Derby? No, they had to wait until this year when the Mets became the funniest show on Earth.
Back to this morning’s Not Top 10 list. It focused on recent embarrassing plays all over the sports world. Every play involved an athlete, except for one. However, that play still involved non-athletes doing athletic things. What do you think the #1 Not Top 10 play of the week was? If you’ve been paying attention to the topic of this blog, you can probably guess what it was. It was the Home Run Apple not coming out at Citi Field after the home runs by Brian Schneider and Fernando Tatis in last Sunday’s game against the Reds. It wasn’t something that would show up on a blooper reel. It was just the apple failing to rise after a home run. Not only was it mentioned, but it became the TOP CHOICE! Apparently, ESPN thought nothing in the past week was more embarrassing than the apple not being able to rise until 2½ minutes had elapsed.
Perhaps it’s an anti-New York sentiment. Maybe it’s because this team had such high expectations and a high payroll coming into the season and has been a great disappointment so far. I agree they have underachieved in a major way and I’m sure many of you will agree that I just made the understatement of the year (although ESPN would probably make it the #2 understatement of the year, saving the top spot for a soundbite from a Mets’ player, coach or front office dude). The point I’m trying to make is the following:
Have the Mets really become the laughingstock of baseball? After today’s victory, they’re four games under .500. To me, that qualifies as mediocre. When did mediocrity become humorous? The Pittsburgh Pirates are on pace to finish the season under .500 for the 16th straight year. Sixteen years with nary a sniff of a winning record. That would set an all-time major league record. Why is no one lampooning them? After tonight’s latest loss, the Washington Nationals have a 26-64 record, putting them on pace to lose 115 games. They were expected to be bad, but not this bad. Where are their Not Top 10 lists? Their only entry into the embarrassing moments of the year was the misspelling of the team name on their jerseys a few months back.
As fans, we should be offended by this anti-Mets sentiment going around. If anyone is going to make fun of our team, it should be us. After all, when we were growing up, didn’t we always make fun of our little brothers and sisters, but if anyone else did it, we’d want to break some heads? ESPN and every other media outlet that is making fun of the Mets doesn’t know our team like the fans do. We know we’re having a rough season. We’re well aware that we’re playing far below expectations. We can blame our performance on many things. But only we should be able to do that. That is why we have websites such as this one, so that Mets fans can applaud or lambaste their team here. Once people unfamiliar with the team start doing it and then find any opportunity to keep doing it, then they’ve crossed a line with this Mets fan.
Protest any way you want. Don’t watch this week’s Sunday Night Baseball telecast of the Mets game on ESPN. That’s what I’ll be doing. WFAN’s ratings will be going up by at least one listener. At Shea Stadium, the Mets used to play a classic scene from the movie “Network” when they wanted the fans to start a Let’s Go Mets chant. This is the scene where Peter Finch’s character, Howard Beale, exclaimed
“I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out and yell, ‘I’M MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!’ “
Okay, so the mad as hell part was replaced by “Let’s Go Mets” at Shea Stadium, but that’s what Mets fans should all be saying to anyone who makes fun of the Mets. They may be upsetting us a lot more this season than we’d like, but they’re still our team. No one is going to make fun of them. A joke directed at the Mets is a joke directed at their fans. How do you like being made fun of? It’s not a good feeling. ESPN is the real joke here, not the Mets. It’s time for me to step down off my soapbox and let you respond in any way you deem appropriate.