Six years and counting…That’s how long it’s been since the Mets reached the postseason. While not the worse drought in franchise history, this particular layoff comes on the heals of what was a brief era of promise as a result of big spending. That spending is at least partially at fault for the teams current situation, but in the eyes of many fans that is the Wilpons’ problem, not ours. Therein lies the divide…
If the Mets are going to resolidify their place as a legitimate contender in the NL East and beyond, there has to be spending. Although there is plenty of merit in Sandy Alderson’s “build through the farm system” mentality, at some point people need to get paid. Rather than waiting for things to fall into place, fans want to see the team’s front office push the issue. And so, we wait…
The question I ask is, how long do we wait? I realize there is a portion of the fanbase that will never give up on the blue and orange. Unfortunately there is a larger portion, “casual fans” we’ll call them, who will eventually turn their sights elsewhere. While your probably muttering to yourself “they’re not real fans”, the fact remains that those casual fans are even more important to the overall well being of the franchise, than the die hard faction you probably call yourself a part of.
You see it was the casual fan that was missing in September when the Mets were playing in front of crowds struggling to reach 15,000 in actual attendance. It’s one thing for those fans to lose interest as a lost season plugs along, it will be another thing entirely should they check out before things get under way if the Mets return a team with little hype and an even slimmer chance of competing yet again.
While you and I may be able to get ourselves wrapped up in the development of young players and the execution of the long term plan for another 162 games in 2013, it’s a fair assumption that the average fan won’t. The average fan is only interested in wins that allow them to show their tempered fandom with pride, brag to their buddies and have a reason to spend their hard earned dollar. Another season of sub .500 baseball won’t give them that…and for the a seventh year in a row there may be little to brag about.
The actions, and equally as much, the inactions, of the Mets in recent years has driven a wedge between the franchise and it’s fans. Everyone wants to root for a winner, but for a large portion of the fanbase the normal feelings of hope and promise have been replaced with apathy and indifference. It’s easy to say we don’t need fans like that, but the fact is the team does, and if we’d like to see winning baseball return to Queens sooner than later, we need them too. However, in what’s shaping up as a winter that will produce little reason to get excited for 2013, how much longer can the average fan hang on?
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