As someone who takes great pride in running a Mets fansite, I must admit that occasionally I am repulsed by the behavior of some of those who call themselves Mets fans. Among our incredible fanbase, lurk many who occupy the lowest depths of depravity and are a pariah among us.
You may have wondered what Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen were referring to during last night’s broadcast when out of the blue Hernandez said how disgusted he was with Twitter and wondered why any player would want anything to do with it.
What Hernandez was referring to was perfectly captured in a post by MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo who relayed the behavior of some Mets fans who decided to to send death threats and other obscenity-laden messages to Mets reliever Jon Rauch after he allowed Russell Martin’s walk-off home run on Sunday.
Rauch was bombarded with tweets telling him to kill himself, hang himself, choke to death, and just about the worst things you could possibly imagine. It was a terrible scene watching these crazed, sub-human, depraved, so-called Mets fans lighting up the Twitterverse with some of the worst venom I’ve ever sen a fan hurl at a player before. Mets fans sending death threats to a Mets player… Unbelievable.
It was awful to see.
Rauch took the approach of retweeting the worst of these posts in an attempt to show just how desperate and out of touch some fans could be.
“It’s funny to me that people think they can take it that far with no consequences. I think it’s interesting for me to be approached with that kind of language. If you’re going to be bold enough to say that kind of stuff and stand behind it, then I’m going to let everybody see it. I think it gives people a lot more insight into what we go through as players and as people that are in the public eye.”
“You go through these things, and we want to be available to the fans. That’s why we get on Twitter. That’s why the Mets encouraged a couple guys in Spring Training to be more open and kind of give people the insight into our daily lives. But personal attacks like that are very uncalled for. If you want to ridicule me, if you want to knock me down because I pitched poorly, that’s fine. I’ll take that, and I should, and I’ll be the first one to say that I screwed up. But at the same time, I think they need to respect us. We’re not out there trying to fail. We’re out there trying to do the best that we can.”
The worst thing about Social Media is how easy it is to say things to others that you wouldn’t have the guts to say to them in person. It’s what we refer to as being an “Internet Toughie”. And usually you learn that these types end up being people occupying the lowest rungs of society’s ladder. Loners, nut jobs, just your garden variety pariah and pond scum.
It’s a shame that players and prospects take the time to join social outlets like Twitter and Facebook, only to find themselves being harrassed relentlessly and in many cases forced to suspend their accounts and go away like Josh Thole did last year after a very similar incident.
I tweet to players and prospects all the time. The extent of which is to congratulate them after a good game, or encourage them after a bad game. That’s it. If you check my twitter feed @Metsmerized you will find this to be true. Why the need to ask personal questions and to make demands? How would you like if a thousands strangers bombarded you for your shoe size, dumbest thing you ever did, lost your virginity, meet up at a bar?
What happened with Rauch on Sunday wasn’t a first in Twitter History, nor will it be the last, and that’s the unfortunate part.
The Mets have gone out of their way to encourage their players to reach out to fans in this all new world where technology brings everything so much more closer together than at anytime in human history.
It’s too bad that as is usually the case, the depraved and the desperate ones looking for attention, are also the loudest ones and the ones who get seen and heard the most.
I feel bad for the players. I feel bad for those who are already in the majors and are able to handle themselves because they are older and more experienced. But I feel terrible for the young ones – the prospects – who get taunted and abused just as much and as badly as their counterparts in the Bigs.
As Rauch said to DiComo,
“I think it’s unfair for the people that are truly behind the players and truly avid fans of the game to have people like this out there who are going to ruin it. I know there are kids that follow the boards, there’s kids, young adults that are learning this game and want to be a part of it, love the team, and to see stuff like that, maybe it wasn’t the best decision for me to put up some of the stuff. But you know what? It’s good to see that there are people that are really behind this team and behind the players that are on it.”
The Mets have been gracious enough to offer us access to the players since the Omar Minaya days in 2009. I’ve always made it perfectly clear to all of our writers, especially those who cover the Mets and the affiliates personally in several capacities, that they must always conduct themselves with the utmost respect. They are to dress professionally and act professionally at all times. If anyone was to break those boundaries, I wouldn’t hesitate to get rid of them and disassociate myself from them.
The players and prospects love us. When our Minor League Editor Pete hits the backfields the players invite him to come and hang out with them after the game for some beer and eats. He respectfully declines.
Some lines are meant to be crossed, while others are not.
What happened on Twitter in the last couple of days was a disgrace and a new low for the Mets Fanbase, because people like that makes us all look bad.
I feel filthy right now… I feel like a Phillies Fan, one of the most classless fans in sports. Shame on all those who took part in that salacious and humiliating orgy of depravity on Sunday.
However, I also want to thank the many great Mets fans who responded to what was happening and came to our players aid. The good tweets certainly outnumbered the bad ones and by a great margin.
For that I am grateful and still proud to be a Met fan.