An Optimistic Met Fan’s Diatribe On Civility

citi field fans opening day

I used to think there were two kinds of Mets fans in New York, the optimists and the pessimists. My theory was that whether or not you are an optimist or a pessimist depended on how you were raised. If your Dad for instance was an optimist, well then as a teenager during your formative years it stands to reason you’d probably rebel and assert your independence by taking a contrarian approach. My dad was a huge pessimist (which was not a difficult thing back in the 70’s) So naturally I was his foil, his countermeasure. I insisted on looking at the bright side. I’d painstakingly put lineups together in the weeks leading up to opening day, showing him how if things break right we just might win the World Series. I remember him shaking his head and raising his bushy eyebrows in wonder at my lofty expectations of players like Lenny Randle and Willie Montanez.

It was a different time. Back then you were much more likely to run into people who rooted for both the Yankees and the Mets. Somehow the Mets / Yankees divide was not as insurmountable as it is today. With the exception of the meaningless Mayor’s Trophy Game, they never played each other. I remember how great Thurman Munson was and how sad it was when he died. The Yankees and the Mets had their problems in the early to mid 70’s and I think it made rooting for both teams easier. Lots of people did it, even my Dad. He’d root for the Yankees if they were playing anyone except the Mets, made no bones about it. His rationale was, “why should I root for Baltimore? I’ve never even been to Baltimore!” Made sense.

Fans who allied themselves more with a single N.Y. team tended to be older and more hardened by the legendary battles waged between the Yankees, Giants, and Dodgers. I knew several older fans in the neighborhood who refuse to this day to root for the Yankees because of all the bad blood. But for those fans who emigrated to the city in the years following the departure of those two national league icons, and for those growing up in their absence, there really wasn’t any reason to dislike the Yankees, even after the Mets were conceived. It was more common to run into people who simply considered themselves New York fans.

Things have changed since then. I think it began in the 80’s when the Mets took the town by storm and started winning profusely, culminating with the 1986 triumph that was one of the most dramatic in the history of the game. I suspect Yankee fans back then didn’t like the “in your face” attitude from both the team and its fans. There was a sense that the Mets were on the verge of a dynasty that would turn the NY baseball world upside down for good. It didn’t turn out that way.

The Yankees took the Met blueprint, rebuilt their farm, created their own “core” and improved Frank Cashen’s blueprint by specifically targeting ++ character guys. The Yankees were able to rebuild without compunction during George Steinbrenner’s suspension years (much like Alderson has been able to focus on the farm during a time when the Wilpons are hamstrung financially). The downfall of the Mets would be dynasty was their proclivity towards moral turpitude. They saw their fortunes turned sour in mounds of cocaine, their futures washed away in rivers of beer and tequila. It turns out New York can be a uniquely perilous place for young ballplayers gone wild, no matter how talented.

So the Yankees got the Dynasty Mets fans should have had, adding to the resentment. But it wasn’t just that. There’s clearly more to it. The advent of the internet, sports blogs, message boards, twitter, and any number of other social media have inflated rivalries and brought fans from all ends of the spectrum and all parts of the world together where they can mix it up in one big trash-talking conflagration, all from the safety and anonymity of one’s living room!

Over the past couple of decades Mets fans have had to endure a steady stream of comments from the American League side of town telling us in effect to root for the Yankees, asking us “why?” Why would any rational self-respecting baseball fan root for the Mets when they could root for the Yankees? The Yankees who are in contention every year.

I have a number of friends who are Yankee fans, good friends. Most of them are great fans, intelligent and understanding, but there are a few who will look at me wondering why I persist in supporting the Mets, Invariably I tell them the same thing. It’s not all about “winning,” it’s about loyalty, allegiance, tradition, stories, family even. You can’t buy that stuff with wins … but when I look I realize everything after the word “winning” was tuned out. You see, for some, winning is everything — it’s a reflection of who they are. It always reminds me of someone who would warn you against dating a nerd or sitting with the science geeks. Would you rather be like Jay Z, or Newman from Seinfeld? Of course not all Yankee fans are frontrunners, but there is certainly that element, and it’s that element that loves to pummel Met fans in cyberspace, subjecting them to verbal swirlies and pushing them into virtual lockers. I wonder if they will ever know just how sweet it is to win after years and years of losing? Sometimes I wonder that myself, but oddly enough, I believe many of these folks actually have affection for the Mets but are too self conscious be associated with them —  their secret frustrations with our team played out anonymously on message boards.

Some fans embrace the Yankee way because of the personal value they place on winning and success. I don’t begrudge them them that, it’s their preference really, this is the very reason why more fans would show up at the Citi Field if the Mets won more. I don’t even mind the 27 – 2 slams. What does bother me are individuals who find it difficult to comprehend why anyone would like the Mets.

Now, there are bad apples in any crowd, Mets fans included, but when you scour the message boards and blog after blog, tweet after tweet, message after message you run into the same Met fan on Met fan vitriol, it makes you wonder, how much is coming from real disgruntled Met fans (I’m sure quite a bit of it is), and how much is coming from other sources?

I noticed something on a prominent Yankee board the other day. It was a rant on the ridiculous nonsense that is sabermetrics, berating Sandy Alderson and his “numbers geeks,” demeaning advanced metrics as a nonsensical road to nowhere lead by people who never played and never could and don’t understand the game. The post was roundly supported, particularly as it was directed at a poster who had pointed out that the Mets and Yankees had similar records since about mid-season last year.

What puzzled me, however, was the eerie similarity between what I saw on the Yankee board and what we often see on Mets boards. I was also puzzled by the fact that the poster had no real understanding of what sabermetrics even was (he hadn’t the foggiest), or the fact that it’s used by every team in the league including the Yankees. He’d simply heard it associated with the Mets and so it became something to ridicule, something involving taking walks and fancy stats.

Now I’ve followed the national debate between traditionalists and the new age stat crowd — which is an interesting discourse when you consider how these stats may be changing the game — and nowhere has it become as nasty and demeaning as it has on N.Y. message boards. I’m not saying there aren’t informed Mets fans who don’t believe in advanced metrics, or Mets fans who don’t like Sandy Alderson, but its strange how such a considerable slice of Mets fans seem to become more irate and incensed during stretches where the team is doing well. Why deny even the most obvious of positive indicators? Why refuse to address a resurgent farm system, or clearly improved pitching? I don’t get it … is it because they don’t want to be fooled again? Because they’re just that tired of the the false ups and the devastating lows? Or is it because they are New Yorkers who lean more towards the Yankees and are confounded by this frustrating Mets organization that insists on not being like the Yankees? Hard to say, maybe it’s a little of both.

Maybe this goes back to my arguments with my dad which had more to do with my eternal optimism and how it all too often rubs those who are more pragmatic the wrong way. Maybe I’m a little too sensitive to the whole bullying issue. I don’t understand for instance why sportswriters have to compound the problem with headlines like “Lardball” and why they’ll ruthlessly attack players many of whom are actually just kids trying to make their way far from home in a very big world.

I’ve never believed in rubbing it in, kicking someone when they’re down, ridiculing for the sake of elevating your own position, making fun of a preference or difference, or belittling those who might be weaker. I think social media is perhaps a bit much for some because it brings out a nastiness you wouldn’t generally see in polite company. In real life I tend to call people who partake in this sort of thing out every time. I’m just fine rooting for my Mets, win or lose.

It’s only a game after all, a pastime, entertainment. What’s so hard about being civil? About respecting preferences and opinions? We show more about who we are and what we value by the way we treat those who are less fortunate than us …

In discussions with fans who remember the days when N.Y. was a 3 team town, I’ve been told that for all the grudges and heartbreak, the disagreements never got as nasty as what you see now-a-days on message boards. There was the understanding that it was (and still is), just a game. That in the end, its all good fun, and I’ve come to realize that even the arguments I had with my dad, that I miss so much now that he’s gone, were enjoyable in their own way because we respected each other, and also because if I ever called him a nit-wit or a fool I’d get the back of his hand quicker than you could say “gone-goodbye.”

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About Matt Balasis 149 Articles
A Met fan since August 1969 when the Red Cross placed my family on the 6th floor of a building in Willets Point because of a fire. I could see Shea from our balcony. I missed the fall of 86 because I was in Boot Camp and I've been serving penance ever since in Minnesota. I write about the Mets to share with a tradition that made much of my childhood worthwhile. Follow me on twitter: https://twitter.com/MatthewBalasis
  • rubagreta

    The Yankees winning the World Series is as meaningful as the Arizona Diamondbacks winning the worlds series – it’s totally meaningless.
    Off the top of my head, I honestly don’t think I can name more than half the guys on the Yankees roster. They are completely irrelevant to me. No hate. I just don’t care.

  • Pedro’s Rooster

    Executive summary: People are jerks on the internet.

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    Oh here we go.

    “Don’t tell me how to be a fan! We’ve earned our stripes with five losing seasons!Sandy is a liar! The Wilpons are crooks. Collins is an idiot! They don’t care! If you want to swallow the kool-aid, you’re a sucker!” – 99% of comments.

  • Hotstreak

    Matt: I have a short reading attention span UNLESS the point is stated quickly. I really would appreciate it if in Three sentences you can please summarized your point, I am really not trying to be difficult. Thank you.

    If you do that I will reread your article for details of course skimming.

    ADDENDUM: Pedros_rooster said it: Your article needs an Executive Summary:

  • Mikey

    Well if the Farm system is so good why is it that we have pretty much the same starting lineup as we had last year?

    1B Duda
    2B Murphy
    SS Tejada
    3B Wright

    Other than D’Arnaud CYoung and Granderson (all of which JUST started hitting) the roster really isn’t all that different?

    Pitching we added Mejia (and now are thinking about demoting him to the Pen)
    Niese, Gee, Wheeler and Colon the latter being the only real NEW arm.

    I’m sorry Matt but I’m not going to think better of the MLB team based on it’s Farm!
    There is no Strawberry or Jeter on that farm…
    Syndergaard is about the only one to really look forward to at this point and possible Montero who has been here for years!

    I say that anyone looking to the Minors to feel better is not any different than looking at your good leg and ignoring the one that was amputated!

    This team has barely changed in the past 4 years.
    And the Farm as good as anyone thinks it is consists of players that were here when Sandy started with a few hopeful pieces here and there and mostly products of trading good players.

    That Farm has yet to be harvested and any good farmer knows until that crop is ripe for the picking and can be brought to market it is worthless!

    To feel comfort because of what MIGHT be here as opposed to what is to me is a fools errand!

  • Matlack

    Nice article, Matt. If even one person takes it to heart, it’s useful, too. I hope you write more for this site.

  • DejaVu

    LOL…taken right from these threads!!!!

  • WillisReid

    There is definately a level of intensity when it comes to NY that you won’t find in any other city besides Boston and maybe Philly more recently.

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    I’m starting to think MMO is posting these simply to work up the Mob.

  • DejaVu

    You never know…

  • Hotstreak

    By the responses I can now guess:

    Met fans are pessimesits and are uncivil: They lack patience as the farm is well stocked. Keep Calm and DO NOT CARRY ON.

    Is that it? See three sentences to make a point.

  • WillisReid

    “Don’t tell me how to be a fan, MORON!”

  • muskytoes

    I wish it only five losing seasons (instead of suffering through rampant chunks of losing for over five decades).

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    I didn’t even know they had the internet in Philly.

  • mattbalasis

    “And the Farm as good as anyone thinks it is consists of players that were here when Sandy started with a few hopeful pieces here and there”

    That’s just not true, I was looking at the rosters responding to a thread on another article and was really surprised at the turnover.

    also,

    “To feel comfort because of what MIGHT be here as opposed to what is to me is a fools errand!”

    While this statement carries the weight of logic … I will only say, that not only is baseball a “young man’s game,” but a top notch farm system is in this day and age perhaps the most positive indicator for remaining competitive. The future of every team in this league is probably more contingent on what currency they have in their respective farm systems than any other single factor.

  • Dave Rosenbluth

    The intensity and/or lack of civility comes partially from the internet. Many folks are more prone to write things that I dare say, they would never say when face to face. In many ways we are all just imitating all the talk show “debates” that we see all over TV.

  • WillisReid

    Youtube. Rays fan takes bottle to the head.

  • If you are serious, perhaps you should just hang out on Twitter.

  • Macdaddy

    40 AL Pennants and 27 WS’s can certainly stoke a fan bases ego and arrogance. On a historical level, how the Yankees came to those Pennants and WS in their early years can be defined as a bit dubious in large measure because the owners realized that a strong and viable Yankees team was good for business and revenues. Thus why you saw the kind of trades that so often made little sense…go back and look at the player the Yankees picked up in the 50’s from the KC Athletics…let alone how they culled the farm systems in 30’s and 40’s…in simple terms the Yankees ran a business, had the capital to do such and the other owners recognized such. None the less I hold more stock in what the Yankees did from 1996 and on, as that was truly great stewardship. Yes most of that was attributed to George being banned in 1990 and not being reinstated until 93 and obviously the insight and leadership of one Gene Michaels. But at the end of the day the Yankees crafted a machine that also had incredible capital resources that kept the machine moving forward for a long period of time.

    The challenge now for the Yankees is sustaining their own image and focus of winning titles. Having not won a title since 2000 and then winning one in 2009 and essentially dominating baseball from 1996 to 2005 (sans only winning 4 WS in that time frame) set a benchmark that is very hard to sustain. Can they go on a run like they did in the late 90’s early 2000’s…sure it is possible, but I think it is unlikely. Frankly I get the sense that the Cards and Giants model is the one that seems to work more effectively.

  • mattbalasis

    lol, I tried to shorten it but could only cut so much! The point of the article really concerns the odd chemistry on Mets’ message boards which is a cultural by-product of the fascinating history of NY baseball … Specifically I find it interesting how the dynamic has changed from the early 70’s when lots of people supported both teams, to the current situation where people are so astonishingly hostile and polarized … it is a treatise if you will on how that came about, and my theory is that there are quite a few who would support both teams were it more socially acceptable.

  • Andrew Herbst

    NY fans are much more intense than fans in other cities.

  • Xavier 22

    The model has changed in that there are fewer “must have” FA available these days that only the Yankees can afford. More and more teams are locking up their quality players early on. So when the rare high-quality FA does become available, he’s so expensive that even the Yankees (due to the many bloated contracts they already have) have to consider their finances.

    Plus they can’t rely on steroids as much as they did in the 90s.

  • Excellent post. My perspective is somewhat different but you make some really nice points and arguments for your side of the fence. Much of the issue here is human nature. You can take the psychology and sociology of Met fans and Yankee (or any other rival) fans and compare it to behavior outside of the sports world. Many people have the right combination of ignorance and stubbornness to argue their opinions ad nauseum without any facts to back it up. Talk politics, religion, science with these people and they have extremely strong and loud opinions until you add facts into the discussion. It really goes back to the time of people debating that the world is flat. It takes a long time for people to catch up with science. Look at evolution. We’re in a sad state where some polls say fewer than 50% of Americans believe in it. Mind blowing. With that, how do we expect people to believe sabermetrics, something that few understand. I was a math major, have a math job but have only a minor understanding as I’ve never spent much time with it. I think many my age have accepted it as valid but it is more background noise than anything else. Others don’t care about it’s validity but argue only because it is new. It’s like our parents telling us how to raise our kids. “You grew up fine even though I blew smoke in your face.” Etc etc. Regarding the bullying type commentaries, I’m of the opinion that these guys are getting paid pretty well to do something that they are good at and something they love. They know, or should have been told, what to expect from the fans and media. When you put yourself out there, you need to be willing face the music. I am very involved in my town and known by a good portion of the families as I run our baseball/softball league, have been involved in other local sports and misc organizations I have voiced strong opinions. I’ve made enemies and lost friends due to the fact that i speak my mind. I’m not even getting paid to get in the firing line but it just comes with the territory. If you are in people’s line of vision, some will choose to fire at you. This is much too long. Sorry, and I realize that Hotstreak and many others will not make it this far.

  • Xavier 22

    I dunno – they’re pretty intense in St. Louis and Boston. There are just more fans here than other cities because of the overall size of the metro area.

  • mattbalasis

    “Yes most of that was attributed to George being banned in 1990 and not being reinstated until 93 and obviously the insight and leadership of one Gene Michaels. But at the end of the day the Yankees crafted a machine that also had incredible capital resources that kept the machine moving forward for a long period of time.”

    Great post. Yes, the interesting thing about the Yankees is the way they built their money churning behemoth of an organization on the back of their 90’s to 2005 dynasty so as to effectively guarantee continued competitiveness almost indefinitely. I wonder if that’s really the case though? Now that the Yankee “core” has faded its interesting to note that it seems it’s becoming more and more difficulty (the new CBA doesn’t help) to build a real powerhouse. Recent Yankee teams have been good, good enough to make the playoffs more often than not, but they’ve been getting bounced by teams with young fireballers.

  • WillisReid

    Everything west of Philadelphia while passionate is far more civilized.

  • Hotstreak

    Thanks for you reply:

    I go back to the Brooklyn Dodgers and the hated Yankees in the WS during the mid fifties.The NY Giants were our (Bklyn) arch rivals 22 games a year out of 154. You hated each NY team if it wasn’t the one you rooted for.

    Yes in the 70’s after the move of Dodgers and Giants it became Mets and Yankees you heard I root for BOTH.

    The reason now for the split and hate is the bidding on FA and yes the internet. Mean is easy to be with no repucussions.

    Thanks again for your reply.

  • Pedro’s Rooster

    To be fair, there’s plenty of middle ground between 140-character Tweets and an 1,800-word blog post.

  • This is a good point. Other than 50% of the starting position players and 60% of the rotation, this team is exactly the same as it was this time last year

  • NewYorkMammoths

    @mattbalasis:disqus This was an enjoyable post. I have a question and a comment.

    Question: What are the top Yankee blogs/boards? I’ve never checked them out.

    Comment: I have to confess, some of my favorite threads here and in the Old Country have involved nasty fights, as long as no one’s getting ganged up who can’t take it. I should be better than that, but I’m not.

  • Hotstreak

    Philly and Boston are fans are maniacs

  • Captain America

    Good stuff. Have to play contrarian that in the 70s there were lots of fans who rooted for the mets AND Yankees.

    I didn’t see that. Didn’t experience many of those. Did that mythical beast truly exist?

  • mattbalasis

    Schneck,

    I agree with what you’re saying, reminds me of the quote:

    “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”
    Bertrand Russell

    one of the primary tenets that I’ve always tried to live by is:

    ὁ δὲ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ
    (an unexamined life is not worth living.)
    Socrates

    I try to keep an open mind and question everything and it never fails to amaze me how much trouble you can get into doing that!

  • Hotstreak

    If Harvey signed as FA you sure would care.

  • There aren’t any dedicated Yankees fan blogs. They’re generally just subtopics off of the Reddit NAMBLA and scat pr0n threads

  • Old School Mets Fan

    I dunno. I remember getting in an awful lot of arguments with Yankees fans in school in the late 70s (many of who were Mets fans who bailed when the Yankees got good and the Mets were terrible). Then the tide turned in 1984 as the Yankees (who were still good just not dominant) lost momentum and the Mets took over. While we decry only one WS title, the team won 90, 98, 108, 92, 100, 87 and 92 wins over 7 seasons. If the WC existed they would have made the playoffs 6 times instead of 2. And from 1962 to 1995, the Yankees had won 3 WS titles to the Mets 2 so there was more parity. That was more of a level playing field and the Mets earned respect.
    But from 1996 to 2014, Yankees have won 5 WS and made the playoffs all but two seasons. Mets have only made the playoffs 3 times. That kind of disparity creates arrogance from Yankees fans and extreme frustration from Mets fans. Add talk radio and internet to the mix and it’s no wonder civility is out the window.
    While I am somewhat of an optimist, experience has caused me to be more skeptical of the front office, especially this one. There are plenty of posters who believe that Alderson is a genius and that the Mets are poised for a 7-8 season era of dominance. Yes the farm system is better, but when you trade stars for prospects and get high draft picks because your ML record is bad, that is to be expected. Mets and the Astros currently share the dubious distinction of longest streak of losing seasons (5). So far so good this season, but it is a long one and the fact the Mets have a ludicrous $84 million payroll and all these holes can make a fan less than civil.

  • mattbalasis

    I don’t know … they’re awfully nice in St Louis, informed & passionate but very polite. Boston & Philly are closer to what we see in NY … but NY has to take the cake for hostility and confrontational rhetoric, especially as it is virtually exemplified in the inflammatory NY sports pages & talk radio shows.

  • mattbalasis

    “Mean is easy”
    exactly, couldn’t have put it better.

  • mattbalasis

    lol …

  • mattbalasis

    The Dodgers have actually surpassed them spending wise … i was actually shocked to see that.

  • DrDooby

    Well written post.

    As for the “traditionalists” vs. “sabermetrics” debate, that battle was fought well over 10 years ago in major league front offices and has long been put to rest among people who have serious say in professional Baseball. Basically, both sides have long merged and have combined the useful parts of their knowledge. Just like stats often do tell a lot more than the raw eye can see, “old school” scouting is an essential evaluation tool too and has proven to remain very valuable. Relatively new technologies like HIT/Fx or PITCH/Fx have also brought further aspects into this. Is using such tools more saber or more scouting or both by the way ? Computer scouting ?

    It´s funny that this battle – long over in reality – is still popping up frequently among fans and in the media and used as a means to supposedly stress a point of GM X being a “saber-geek” and thus wrong or GM Y being “old school” and thus wrong. Whatever fits the point.

    And to clear up with a myth, I see no evidence what is particularly “saber” about the current Mets front office other than that Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta indeed jumped onto that theme decade(s) ago and were amongh the pioneers to implenent statistical analysis in their evaluation.

    And if you were to re-read Moneyball, would drafting Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Cecchini and Dominic Smith fit with the “sabermetric” approach laid out there ? Especially beyond physical skills stressing “makeup” as a key in the selection of these 3 picks ? What is “Moneyball” about Zack Wheeler & Noah Syndergaard ? What is “Moneyball” about giving Curtis Granderson a 4-year deal ? What is “Moneyball” about getting Eric Young jr. and Chris Young into the fold ? Speed ? Defense ? Athleticism ?

  • mattbalasis

    There was a lot of “back and forth” in the 70’s between the Yankees and Mets fans who I believe in secret probably liked both teams but outwardly argued the merits of the team that was doing better at any given time. I remember guys like that.

  • mattbalasis

    “Basically, both sides have long merged and have combined the useful parts of their knowledge. Just like stats often do tell a lot more than the raw eye can see, “old school” scouting is an essential evaluation tool too and has proven to remain very valuable.”

    So true, which is why I find the debates you see on NY message boards so odd. While it’s true that some teams perhaps rely on advanced metrics more than others, DePo himself admitted their most indispensable source of information when analyzing a player is detailed scouting.

  • ColoradoMetsFan

    Absolutely. The bar has been lowered to alarming depths behind the cloak of anonymity. Access in the right hands is a powerful community builder and in the wrong hands, well, you know how that goes. That said, these conditions have always been in place. However now, we experience them on a much grander scale and with far greater immediacy and reach…

  • NewYorkMammoths

    Pedro, I just noticed that the real, original Chest Rockwell liked your comment. Is he on MMO now?

  • SCarton12

    I have hated the Yankees since Steinbrenner made himself the public buffoon of bullying bosses (around 1975). The Yankees had great teams right up to 1965 when the players draft was instituted and they couldn’t buy players anymore. They didn’t win again until they could start buying the best players again through FA. I despise the thought of a ‘win it all’ or else (you suck) attitude. The fans took on this attitude from George. Therefore, I am still a yankee hater long after the bosses death.

  • Magic_Loogie

    Balance.

    What you can lose when you spend too much time on a topic, or interest. If you read too much about something, and care too much about being “right” you can lose perspective. IMO our quality of life goes down when you lose civility, I for one have strong opinions about the team. But it’s a game, and I’ve got two kids to raise on my own, that’s real life. I really don’t have the energy to waste on pointless arguments. If you don’t have much going on in your life, and find yourself getting upset or stressed because of a blog, or your favorite sports team…my advice is to take a step back and reassess your priorities in life.

    Why are you a fan of a team? What’s in it for you? I’ve suffered greatly because of the Mets, but I’ve had to learn to deal with it. But I follow this team daily, I love to keep up with the games, and the players who come and go. Now-a-days I follow the process. Every year I go down to Spring Training with my son, and love to hear the crack of the bat, the thump of ball meeting glove, the coming of the next season. I really never expect to win it all, I would love it if it happens, but I don’t set myself up for that heartbreak. Also I love the game of baseball, the ins and outs, the game in the game stuff that can make watching the Mets lose a little more tolerable. People can differ on opinions, but have some humility…you may be wrong…I may be wrong. We are Mets fans…and that is a great common bond!

  • muskytoes

    The A’s are moneyball and the Red Sox are moneyball with money. I don’t know exactly what the Sandy Mets are, but it’s been a mix of cost-cutting, affordability and patchworking a roster that puts up ugly numbers, the new age and old age kind.

  • Old School Mets Fan

    Half my friends were like that, switching allegiances. Could never switch, half loyalty, half stubbornness.

  • mattbalasis

    When you look at Bud Selig’s comments on the Mets last week, you’ve got to wonder whether there was some unwritten dictum from the commissioner’s office to overhaul the Met farm and not worry about the ML club. Selig’s peculiar “awareness” of the state of the Mets’ farm system surprised me.

  • SCarton12

    EEYORE!!

  • Mikey

    Yet the Stat guys will tell you it’s the numbers that make the success and the decision not the scouting….

    Too many try to portray the traditionalists as Stat Adverse…
    Well we have been using Stats for 100 Years!
    The issue isn’t the use of stats it is the metrics some of these guys have come up with that puts an emphasis on OB as opposed to what the point of the game and being in the batter’s box is…

    To GET A HIT!

    Getting on base may be a passing grade but getting a HIT is what constitutes success because it is those hits and putting the ball in play, Situational Baseball that is the key to winning and losing…
    Not the simple act of not making an out!

    In fact the ones who claim to be Stat Friendly Sabers are ALWAYS the ones to ignore a stat or say it isn’t important!

    RBI? Not important!
    Yet the Rockies lead the league in RS by 26 Runs not because they have a .020 higher OBP but because they have 26 more RBI and 48 more Hits than any other team!

    Which is probably why they lead the league in OBP!

    Meanwhile in Metland, We are 8th in BB 26th in OBP, 15th in RS, and RBI…

    And those Saber people say our Hitting Philosophy is not about walking more…
    just more proof of who REALLY seems to be Stat Adverse compared to the Traditionalists!

  • john q

    Good article.

    I remember growing up in the 1970’s in N.J. and basically every kid in my school or neighborhood were Mets fans. It was actually kind of rare to find a Yankee fan. Actually I think we had more Dodger fans than Yankee fans which is kind of odd in retrospect. You still had 35-50 year old fathers that were still Dodger fans so some of their sons became Dodger fans. I remember we actually had few hard core Red Sox fans back then as well because it was like the Red Sox/Celtics/Bruins were the designated team for Irish Catholics.

    Basically it broke down to something like this:

    If you were born between the mid 40’s and late 1950’s you were predominately a Yankee fan. Since that also the same age group as the baby boomers you had an enormous amount of people that were Yankee fans.

    If you were born in the late 50’s to the late 1960’s you were predominately a Mets fan.

    If you were born in the late 60’s-early 70’s you were predominately a Yankee fan. Mid-70’s early 80’s Mets fan, mid 80’s-present predominately Yankee fan.

    I never recall any animosity among Met/Yankee fans back then. This was before free-agency and inter-league play and the A.L. & N.L. rarely traded between leagues. It was like two separate entities so nobody really cared that much.

    The Mets became completely irrelevant in the late 70’s early 80’s and then the Yankees were great and became popular with kids born in the late 60’s/early 70’s.

    I don’t really remember a lot of animosity until the Mets became the big team in baseball in the mid 80’s. Maybe it was that group of players but they really created a lot of animosity throughout the league. And I think they came off as way too cocky & arrogant especially when you consider they only won 1 WS, 1 NLCS and 2 divisions during their dominate span of 1984-1990.

    I don’t remember there being a lot of animosity between Mets/Yankee fans in the 90’s when they Yankees were winning all those championships. I always found it interesting that those Yankees teams had a few prominent ex-Mets that were key contributors: Torre, Stottlemyre, Gooden, Cone, Strawberry.

    Things really didn’t start to get nasty between Yankee-Mets fans until the late 90’s early 2000’s when you had all those young new Yankee fans and all those band-wagon jumpers being huge A-holes. Then all the baby-boomer Yankee fans came out of the woodwork and added to the nastiness. It’s a group/gang mentality.

    Overall the Mets had some bad luck and timing. They had to deal with two dynasties, Braves and Yankees at the same time. One team in their own neighborhood and one team in their division. The Mets also had some bad timing as the Braves were in the N.L. west in the 70’s-80’s when they were terrible and the Pirates, Cardinals, and Cubs were in the N.L. Eastern division. The Pirates left the East just as they became terrible and the Braves entered the east just as they became dominant.

    If they had set up the division in 3 back in 1969, the Mets would have won the N.L East from 1969-1973 & from 1984-1990. That’s 12 division titles from 1969-1990. Even if they did the logical and simple thing of putting the Braves in the East and the Cardinals in the West, then the Mets would have won the ’85 & ’87 N.L. east. I guess they didn’t want to split up the Cardinals-Cubs.

  • SCarton12

    I am a true baseball fan, I root for 29 teams the Mets and any team playing the Yankees.

  • DrDooby

    Yup. And especially when the supposed “Moneyball” approach of this FO is criticized it´s funny that basically their key trade targets other than d´Arnaud and their 1st round picks so far have been the exact opposite of the “Moneyball” drafting philosophy by DePodesta & Beane described in that book.

    The Oakland A´s, Boston Red Sox or Theo Epstein´s Chicago Cubs have also moved on quite a while ago from those principles. Just like the Twins or other supposedly “old school” organizations have long implemented statistical analysis into their daily decision making.

    As always, it comes down to getting maximum value out of what you have…

  • SCarton12

    LMAO, you bet he’d care and if he denies it, he’s lying.

  • Helloboy

    NY Fans are intense because of the nature of the area. In other cities, where all the fans pretty much support the same club, the intensity is lost due to lack of internal competition. They do not need to defend their club against people in the office, the news media, etc. Everyone is on board.

    Over here, where you have to fight for attention and defend your team constantly and always hear from others negatively against your team it causes us to become more defensive and outspoken to shut people up.

  • Mikey

    Matt making a top notch Farm system isn’t all that hard…
    Scout and Draft well when you have High Draft Picks and develop them.
    How many of those have we done since the 2011 Draft?
    One or Two?
    If you want me to be optimistic about the Future lets write an article for 2015 or 2016 when that farm gets here….

  • Helloboy

    So 1/3 of the starting lineup is different and things are still the same? I think that is a pretty heavy shift. The issue is we really need a SS. Who else were they going to change?

  • Mikey

    What 60%? Colon is 60% of the Rotation?

    What percentage of the lineup from opening day was different than September?

    Granderson and who else? D’Arnaud?

  • MyasDaddy

    My sentiments exactly. Bravo!

  • DrDooby

    The key isn´t getting hits or driving in runs. It´s all about scoring runs on one side and preventing runs on the other side. There are multiple ways to succeed and you may or may not stress one specific aspect.

    Ultimately, your runs scored and runs allowed totals will play a huge role for your win total as a team´s Pythagoran record usually is within 3 games of the expected win total using the RS vs. RA method. That´s what it´s all about.

  • Xavier 22

    They’re faux nice in St Louis. Polite in that they don’t tell you your team sucks but they are quite smug about the “Cardinal Way” and how they play baseball “the right way” (naturally implying that your team doesn’t).

    I liked Deadspin’s description of Cardinals fans best: they’re basically Yankees fans with bad Christmas sweaters.

  • Xavier 22

    Anything north, south or east too.

  • TheMets philosophy

    Nelson cruz
    GAMES HR RBI AVG OPS
    28. 9 29. .294 .965

  • Joey D.

    Hi Matt – or should I call you “Sigmund”? LOL

    Actually, when I was a kid in the sixties the Mets-Yankees rivalry became quite intense as well, especially because the Yankees hit rock bottom in 1966 and we began playing at an even level. Believe me, the summer of 1969 in New York City was no picnic for Yankee fans – I can tell you from experience so many of them were in pure agony – they were so jealous with envy – and I will not deny telling you that I enjoyed every single minute of it! They didn’t root against the Mets, but they were letting me know they were tired of that’s being all one heard of day in and day out.

    How sweet it was.

    But thank you so very much for writing about the bigger issue when it comes to us as Met fans:

    “I’ve never believed in rubbing it in, kicking someone when they’re down, ridiculing for the sake of elevating your own position, making fun of a preference or difference, or belittling those who might be weaker. I think social media is perhaps a bit much for some because it brings out a nastiness you wouldn’t generally see in polite company. In real life I tend to call people who partake in this sort of thing out every time. I’m just fine rooting for my Mets, win or lose.

    “It’s only a game after all, a pastime, entertainment. What’s so hard about being civil? About respecting preferences and opinions? We show more about who we are and what we value by the way we treat those who are less fortunate than us …”

    I am an original new breeder who is that traditionalist and sees things in a different way. Connor is a young man just starting out on life who embraces the new sabermetrics. We both have our sharp opinions on that. Yet, I feel so bad for Connor when he is ridiculed by having pot-shots taken about his age instead of one just focusing on why they disagree with his position just as much as I am when there is an individual who calls me out as being “pathetic”, a “schmuck”, a “liar” or one who “needs to get a life”.

    Thanks for bringing that up so very much.

  • CharlieH1965

    For me, the schism occurred in 1976, when the Yankees won the pennant and the Mets didn’t decide to start winning games until the middle of September. A bunch of my Yankee-fan friends started breaking chops then — fuelled by their Yankee-fan fathers who somehow never forgave the Mets for invading the 1958-61 Yankee hegemony.

  • TPT

    me personally ? IVE HATED THE YANKEES FROM DAY ONE OF THE MET EXISTENCE lol i never was more happy than the Yankee Horace Clark days and while my Mets remained the laughing stock of baseball my love for the Mets only deepened and the hatred of the Yankees only grew worse…and then THE AMAZING METS OF 1969 the year of in your face Yankee fans ..every hurt i suffered as boy at the hands of my Yankee fan friends was so deliciously given back to them 100 fold and the divide between Met fans and Yankee only grew wider and i loved it haha ,today i dont hate Yankees maybe i just dislike them but to me its not its not like it was back then LGM

  • Pedro’s Rooster

    He probably just stopped in for a quick read. Pretty sure he’s in commenting retirement.

    I know he’s really busy–I forget what he does. Spy? Assassin? Door-to-door alpaca salesman?

    Last I heard, he was going to see Carrot Top in Vegas for like a week straight.

  • TPT

    hey JoeD we share exactly the same feelings and i too think the divde between Yankee and Mets fans was actually more intense back then than it is now ..you should read my post its almost the same as yours lol love it

  • ray sadecki

    I think the article started out well but then got sidetracked. You started talking about how the fans on yank-me boards sound exactly the same as the flamers on here, I have noticed on many occasions how the worst complainers about the mets always have glowing things to say about the skanks and their players. Yankee fans are the kind of people who feel like winners because their team wins. They are bullies and loudmouths. Some of them are such pathetic creatures that they come over to Mets boards to troll. It seems that the only happiness they can derive out of life is to try to make other people unhappy – How are you doing Alex68?

  • Metropolitan

    My opinion of the Yankees is this,they should have stayed in Baltimore where they came from

  • SCarton12

    Right on target, Ray.

  • mattbalasis

    See now that’s a little before my time — I remember it, but I was 4. For me growing up there were a lot of guys who leaned both ways depending on who was on top.

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    With half his games at DH.

  • Matlack

    Nice….most if not all of their fans have no idea that they are an imported team.

  • Metropolitan

    Yep they are not originally a New York team,they are interlopers

  • Joey D.

    Yup, they played two seasons as the Baltimore Orioles when the American League was first established in 1901 then came over as the New York Highlanders.
    Very few realize that the Baltimore Orioles were not originally the St. Louis Browns. They actually started out in 1901 as the Milwaukee Brewers (yup, Selig’s team was not the first) and left after one season.

  • mattbalasis

    Yup, I had a bunch of friends who were like that, they’d switch depending on who they were with, and i’d call them on it, “say, weren’t you a Met fan just the other day?” and they’d deny it … but they’d follow both teams.

  • Matlack

    The second Orioles were the Browns, right? The Eddie Gaedel Browns?

  • Joey D.

    Hi Matlack,

    And though we were not born an import, we were born something much more to be proud of – one who tries to stir up efforts to create change for the social good. That is why the Mets were so much identified by the middle and lower classes – they went against the establishment.

    Oh, I’m not speaking in terms of 1962. I’m speaking about the year we were really born – 1959, when we were part of the Continental League,

    http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/nym/history/timeline1.jsp

    And unlike other sports leagues, the Continental League was formed to force baseball to expand.

    http://webpages.charter.net/joekuras/continental.htm

    So we were even born with a purpose in life!

  • Joey D.

    Hi Mike B.,
    Actually, the Yankees were on TV about as often as the Mets in the sixties. Both clubs were about the only ones to televise the overwhelming majority of their games except for many that were on the west coast.

  • Joey D.

    Hi Matlack,
    Yeah, it gets confusing after a while. LOL

  • coyote521

    Yes!!!
    I didnt think of this.
    So the “true new yorkers” label for mets fans is historically correct.

  • coyote521

    In my famly, everybody hated the yankees because they were so sliw to integrate
    (Before my time).

    In the 60’s, mets fans i knew didn’t really care about the yankees much one way or the other.
    But, yankee fans really hated the mets, and , even more mets fans.
    First they were enraged tgat the mets, a bad team, was outdrawing the yankees, a “dynasty”.
    It made them very angry.

    Then, to make matters worse,
    The mets won an improbable championship and became the darlings of new york.
    That really got under their thin skin.
    Poor babies.

  • metsfansince64

    I don’t agree about the Mets-Yankees schism being relatively new. I was a Mets fan from the time I started watching and listening to baseball games (even before 1964) and hated the Yankees. My brother was a Yankee fan, and only a Yankee fan. We both collected baseball cards throughout the 60s, and I routinely traded him all of my Yankees cards for all of his Mets cards. And now, 50(!) years later, he’s still a Yankees-only fan, and I’m still a Mets-only fan.

  • mattbalasis

    Hey coyote,
    But it seems in today’s NY hardly anyone roots for the Mets … at least according to Facebook!

  • mattbalasis

    That’s right I remember reading about that!
    I’ve never quite been able to put my finger on it, but there’s something about what’s happened with the NY Mets in recent years that really bugs me that has nothing to do with their play on the field. They’ve pulled away from their working class/lower middle class roots and I think that’s a bigger factor in their dwindling attendance than we might think. When I was a kid, NY was still a NL town even though the Mets were awful. Why? Because the Yankees weren’t very good either but mostly because the Mets were CHEAP! It was an easy Sunday afternoon at the park for a family of 4 … take the 7, get a few cheap seats, have a couple of hot dogs and make your way down to the box seats by the 6th or 7th inning … maybe even watch Kong hit one into the stratosphere. Now I understand that in order to remain competitive the Wilpons had to snazz things up, but did they have to do it at the expense of working class “family of 4” affordability??

  • Matlack

    Do you remember cutting and saving the coupons from DairyLea milk cartons to go to a Mets-Braves(yes, the Braves were awful backk then) game in the late ’70s? The Mets traditionally appealed to the working class, and some of that may have been vestigial from the Dodgers’ fan base. And you’re right, you could get nosebleed tickets and work your way down to the field if the game was sparsely attended, which most wer in that period.

    Kingman was incredibly strong. He could golf a breaking ball a foot outside into the upper level by the foul pole in left. Not much of a baseball player, but boy, did he provide some excitement.

  • Matlack

    Hi Joey D,

    When the subject of stadium statues came up awhile back on this site, my feeling was that Bill Shea should be remembered that way, along with Payson and Seaver.

  • coyote521

    According to facebook, my daughter’s maltese attended vassar ,has 505 friends, and is up for the nobel peace prize.

  • Joey D.

    Hi DrD.,
    I believe the advanced stats are most useful for reference purposes in revealing one’s habits and therefore game preparation in precise detail.

    But what I am against is the concept that it is a precise measuring tool that can be used to better evaluate raw talent, be used to measure one’s development, shape the direction of how team personnel should be assembled and re-writing how the game should be played. The information derived from stats being used to that degree becomes way too superficial to be of real use to those who rely on them so heavily for guidance.
    I will use Zack Wheeler’s current situation as an example. So many were using his advanced stats, i.e., his adjusted ERA to take into account the fielders behind him, his progression compared to others in the minors at similar stages in their careers, how few hits he was giving up, etc. as indications of how he was already going to be a force in 2014.

    On the other hand, those of us who were not going by the stats were instead raising precautions based on what was being less publicized but being reported by many who were watching his progress never the less. That he was getting away with mistakes in the minors that he would not be getting away facing major league batters. That did not just include less experienced hitters being fooled by pitches going out of the strike zone. It was also said that he was getting out minor leaguers just on the speed of his blazing fastball but that he had to learn to do more with the way he was throwing it (a layman’s explanation by me).

    That is what we are seeing now. We do not know what the future – or even the rest of the season holds for Zack. He might very well learn how to not only settle his control problems but to get more assorted movement on his pitches to keep batters honest. But at his point he hasn’t, and those of us who didn’t rely on the advanced metrics to formulate opinions were correct in our projections of what his progress would very well be at this point. Those who were relying so much on metrics and penciling him as contributing to a certain amount of wins this season were painting a much different story. He is going to have his good games but he is going to be very inconsistent for quite a while yet for those problems – the ones that the stats did not reveal – are still with him.

    Also, you wrote ” Pythagoran record usually is within 3 games of the expected win”. Those theories are not always so accurate, especially when taking into account what a team’s record should have been at the end of the season which is not a projection but actual fact. According to that, the Orioles in 2012 at 82-80 at best should have been at 85-78 and at worst 79-83 but nowhere like 93-69 (which would make it14 games off). Same with the 1969 Mets. With a 92-70 pythagoran, at best, they should have 95-67 and at worst 89-73 (eleven games off) but not 100-62.

    And the 2012 world champion Giants at 88-74 should at best been 91-71 and at worst 85-77 (nine games off), not 94-68.

    It’s all numbers and useful, of course, but it’s the DEGREE that so many of us dispute. I’m not discarding it, but as you know, we’ve had our disputes when I’ve used empirical knowledge against your statistical knowledge regarding last season and I think there were points I made which you were not able to dispute outside the realm of stats. If something can be justified statistically, it should be able to be justified empirically as well. There should be no conflict. There should be no stone wall. Stats should be able to disprove points made based on conventional perspectives by tackling those specific areas of contention on those other terms as well, that being the conventional perspective.

    Like with the performance of Marcum – Fangraphs argued that he was pitching much better and that it was the Met fielding that was doing him in while others like myself pointed out how something suddenly changed with his pitches from one inning to next and batters were suddenly teeing off him and that what was being hit was nowhere near the fielders or just lucky hits that fell in. We were able to dispute the “statistical” findings but the statistical findings could not dispute our “empirical” findings.

    That’s what I mean by the statistical argument. The conclusions made by stats should also be explainable in terminology other than just stats.

  • Peter

    A Mets win and A nats and Braves lose and the Mets are tied for first. Just throwing that out there to the people who complain here. The thing the Mets have that most of the NL East teams do not is depth. It is not seen now but it will very soon. The young pitchers should be on their way, and a heavy influx of hard throwing pitchers in Montero, Degrom, Syndergaurd, Walters, Black, Leathersich, and Thorton as well that should enter the bullpen and can start if needed down the stretch, and also if they are in it September when the rosters expand it gives them an even higher advantage. I would also assume Flores will soon be at shortstop for Mets or traded with a pitcher for a big bat. Id say things are looking good when you look at the standings and think of it from that prospective.

  • MetsFAN660

    Perfect timing for a post about civility. Everyone should take a couple of minutes and look at the dialog I had on the post called True New Yorkers Know What’s Up. Some really hateful stuff. I know there are valid issues with the team and with the ownership, but the level of anger thrown at them, and sometimes at me for daring to support them is insane. It’s sad these attitudes still exist in this day and age, and even sadder that they show up in a forum about sports. It’s painful to see, but important so that maybe we can all, myself included, keep things in perspective.

  • kw_all

    on the topic of sabermetrics, i believe both extreme views are wrong, saber numbers are not the end all and ignoring them is just plain stupid.

    that being said, the emphasis on OBP and walks is good .. but mostly for certain types of hitters, specifically people who hit #1, #2, #8 and #9.
    for the other spots in the order, specifically 3 – 7, SLG and batting average with RISP (not OPS with RISP) is the key metric to look at. i dont like OPS qith RISP because of the Duda effect (not picking on him but making a point) my eyes tell me a high OBP by my #4 hitter, without a high SLG percent leads to lots and lots of men left on base instead of RBI’s, #4 is paid to drive in runs, not walk around the bases and wait/expect someone else to drive them in.
    saber does not acomodate for productive outs and traditionalists dont always see value in turning the lineup over with a BB, particularly in the NL where you have pitchers hitting 9th

    to me the model franchise in this era are the red sox, they get deep into counts (running up the # of pitches) and slug the ball when they get their pitch, the have high OBP hitters and high SLG percent hitters, guys have different skill sets and they seem to put a lineup together better than most the last 10 years or so. at least thats my opinion 😉

    advanced pitching metrics are another story, but the predicitive aspect of some of the metrics can be over or understated … a low babip is not always luck, sometimes stuff is a factor. vice versa as well.

  • TPT

    i think the hatred rivalry was so much more intense back then then it is now so yea i agree i hated the Yankees so much back then

  • mattbalasis

    What puzzles me is the spike in this sort of hurtful rhetoric whenever the Mets seem to be doing well … I’ve noticed it before and I’m still not quite sure why it happens. You’d think people would be happy to see the team doing well.

  • Andrew Herbst

    You’re right. NY fans have so many more teams to choose from as opposed to other cities.

  • mattbalasis

    Low babip has always bugged me as well because for a pitcher I think it can mean the hitters aren’t getting good wood on his pitches (Chris Young, the pitcher, was like that), and for a hitter high babip isn’t always “good luck” sometimes it’s because they’re crushing everything.

  • Matlack

    Not sure why, but here is one possibility. The fanbase is nearly unanimous in its contempt for ownership. However, there are two camps when it comes to Sandy Alderson and the job he is doing. Of these two, let’s call them ‘tribes’, one of them seems to view the outcome of the Alderson experiment with advanced analytics as a zero-sum game. No room for coexistence, much like some see the Holy Land. If the Mets are seen to have hit bottom and are indeed on the upswing, one ‘tribe’ tends to feel the need to rationalize it, with alacrity. If the other ‘tribe’ isn’t buying the rationalizations, the insults flow liberally. Although everyone who posts in here is a passionate fan, it seems very existential for some, over what is merely a game.

    Just watch the reaction every time Connor writes an article.

  • Mikey

    And what part of WAR and WOBA takes RA and RS into account?
    HOW do you score more runs?
    By Getting more Hits or By Getting on base more?
    Most of your Saber metrics ignore what most feel are the most important stat. and those who realize they are important are accused of Ignoring or disliking stats!

  • SCarton12

    It’s simple really; they think if the team is overachieving, then the $#%@ cheap ownership and their, moneyballing, evil henchman(GM) will not do anything to improve the club and eventually, these #@$% worth nothing overachievers will start underachieving, got it? also they despise TC because he works cheap, any good manager will not work for under 5 mil/yr. Basically, they are like a wife that suffers from low self-esteem, they need bling to make themselves feel better.

  • DrDooby

    Hi Joey D.,

    neither Wheelers 0.6 fWAR or 4.17 FIP in 2013 made for a very bright outlook for 2014. His minor league stats were solid but far from spectacular too.

    A mid 90s fastball with velocity held deep into games and plus movement, plus very encouraging SCOUTING reports on a potentially plus breaking ball and developing changeup were the valid reasons for optimism. And Wheeler had been pretty good until his Coors Field clunker, actually.

    Wheeler is a funny case. He basically is an “all scouts” type of pitcher who was acquired by a GM who was one of the pioneers for implementing Sabermetrics into his evaluations decades ago.

    So, very sorry, totally have to disagree with you here.

    Now, you can make a much better case on Zack Thornton or Brad Emaus if you wish. Of course, neither was a high profile acquisition. Problem is, Sandy Alderson & Co. have done very little according to the “sabergeek playbook”. Which of course ceased to exist a decade ago….Vic Black ? Dilson Herrera ? Nimmo, Smith, Cecchini ? Wheeler & Thor ? Amed Rosario ? Granderson for 4 ? Colon and his constantly worse FIP ? The Youngs ? Sandy has really betrayed the ideals of the orthodox Sabermetricians, come to think of it….

  • louisrstennes@yahoo.com

    Silly, Silly, Silly. The Yankees started playing in 1901 and moved to NY in 1903. Since that time they have had a storied history and along the way 27 World Series with numerous players in the HOF. The Mets started in 1961 and have two world series championships. The teams are as different as a diamond is to cut glass. They both may sparkle but only one is the genuine article! I always considered Yankee fans as being from Manhattan, the Bronx, Westchester and a lot of fans in Jersey while Mets fans are from Brooklyn, Queens and the Island. As a lifelong mets fan I never considered the Mets as a New York team. If I had the authority or owned the team they would be called the Long Island Mets. Brooklyn has the Nets, and the Island has the Islanders and we should be connected to Long Island. That’s my take.

  • DrDooby

    As for Pythagoran records, you’ll also see that usually teams that significantly exceeded their totals generally crashed back to earth the following year. So, it does have predictive value. And exceeding ones Pythagoran record certainly is not a sustainable skill.

    Of course, the magic of unlikely seasons or just unlikely games is part of the joy in watching the game. Stats are a helpful tool. But that’s about it.

  • Joey D.

    Hi DrD.,
    LOL – love that, the “sabergeek playbook”. WIll send you a copy of my first publication – the “old geezer playbook” once I remember to write it!
    But there were cases made for Wheeler based on his minor league stats and the arguments many were using to justify how much of a top line pitcher he was going to be. As you know, I refer to the case of Marcum to show how advanced stats could be seen to make what appears to be a very convincing case.
    As far as all the other names you mention, only time will tell. I am not following them closely as I was Zack because I will admit Zack was the focal point of the 2011 trade which you know what my feelings are – which has less to do with the Beltran/Wheeler exchange as it does the circumstances.
    Hey, never thought I would hear one who is into saber stats connect Sandy Alderson to the word “betrayal”. I thought that was only reserved for us in the “core”. LOL Life is really full of surprises.
    With Curtis, the only reason I am having second thoughts is because the slow start has me wondering if 2012 was just an off year or an indication that he was really starting to go down. It wasn’t the power since he still had plenty of that, it was the .225 hitting, the tail off in the second half and those 195 strike outs. He’s only 33. But my thoughts always were that he was not a cleanup hitter and the Mets couldn’t stop just with Curtis.
    Well, let’s go fishing tonight!

  • louisrstennes@yahoo.com

    By the way just to correct your misconception. When the old Giants played the Dodgers it got damn nasty at times. As a kid I hardly missed a game on tv and went to Ebbetts Field when I could scrape up a few quarters and let me tell you who could forget Sal Maglie who was nicknamed “The Barber.” for throwing REAL tight. And look at old films of Durocher coming out of the dugout and fighting. Sometimes it was as good as Gillettes’ Friday Night Fights.

  • Joey D.

    Hi DrD.,

    “Of course, the magic of unlikely seasons or just unlikely games is part of the joy in watching the game. Stats are a helpful tool. But that’s about it.”
    Beautifully said. On that I have no disagreement with you for they help me as a reference to know the players more as well. But as far as predicting the following season, it’s very limited. How often do we see good things predicted for “sleeper teams” that the stats themselves would be difficult to predict such success, even taking into account the new acquisitions? That’s based on “gut reactions”.
    That’s why you know I was so upset about the circumstances in which Zack Wheeler was brought over here. Not Zack, the circumstances. The Mets could have been the 2011 “sleeper team”.

  • mattbalasis

    Yeah but that’s a very “Yankee” way of looking at things isn’t it? To spend your way out of down-turns? Most Mets fans I grew up with have been dreaming of a modern day Frank Cashen who will re-stock the farm … and most (while grumpy on account of the past few seasons) are nevertheless starting (like myself) to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Mets fans who don’t get excited about prospects? That just doesn’t sit right, and it’s also something I’ve mostly encountered on-line. I mean some of these guys you’d think are actually rooting against guys like Syndergaard and Nimmo … how can you root against Nimmo? Have you seen his face? He looks like he’s 14!

  • DrDooby

    The entire idea is to get favorable chances. It’s like counting cards at the casino. And a lot depends on circumstances. In 2011 the Mets just didn’t have the money to take chances – unfortunately. And looking at the sorry state of the upper levels of the farm system back then, they also didn’t have the prospects to take chances. Nowadays, they’re in a much better position to take chances. Better ( though far from perfect) financial situation and far better upper level talent ( in parts due to the previous regime’s doing – but too late for them). In all likelihood, this is merely a .500 team in 2014, maybe a tad better. But as you rightfully point out, sometimes stars align. Maybe this is the career year for Dillon Gee and Jon Niese and they combine for 60 starts, 390 IP and a 3.25 ERA. Unlikely but certainly possible. That’d be better than what Matt Harvey, Jeremy Hefner and Shawn Marcum combined to do in 2013…

  • mattbalasis

    Yeah but was there a lot of hostility among the fans? I know a couple of guys who were around back then and they tell me that yeah there were always a few nut-jobs, and there was hostility but it was mostly good natured, not violent or personal & hurtful like you see these days. Incidentally a friend I used to work with was married to Leo Durocher’s nephew. She got to know him before he died and she said he was an amazing guy, mind like a steel trap … especially for numbers, dates and details. He’d never forget anything.

  • NeedNewOwners

    Yes. Please include yourself.

  • louisrstennes@yahoo.com

    Thanks for the good insight into Leo Durocher. I always loved his interviews because like you said he was a walking encyclopedia on baseball. I also remember that in those days a lot of managers would be the third base coach too. I think Leo was the third base coach at least I think I remember him there when Bobby Thompson hit “the shot heard ’round the world.”

  • Srooz RLoos

    Remember Durocher on the dugout steps of the Polo Grounds
    screaming at Maglie to “Stick it in his ear!”. Making sure the
    batter and the Dodgers in the dugout heard it. Home plate
    umps like veteran Jocko Conlon gave as good as Durocher.
    One time Durocher was in an argument at home plate with
    Conlon and Durocher loved to kick dirt. This time he slipped
    and kicked Conlon in the shins which would have been an
    automatic expulsion but Jocko turned right around and kicked
    Durocher back! That was real baseball and people today
    just don’t know how much they missed. I can still smell the
    cigar smoke, beer and the Harry M. Stevens hot dogs
    at the Polo Grounds in my mind to this day.

  • louisrstennes@yahoo.com

    What a great story Thanks! Some of the greatest baseball games in history was between the Giants and Dodgers. An historic rivalry that will never be duplicated.

  • Joey D.

    Hi DrD.,

    I wish it was only a case in 2011 that the Mets didn’t have the money to take chances. It’s that they didn’t have the money to meet their capital obligations, no less their operating ones. When one needs $100 million to stay in business and does not have the $25 million to pay back MLB on an interest free loan and is given an indefinite extension of it’s deadline to do so, then even the saving of $5 million is significant. Those were the circumstances that led to taking the team out of the wildcard hunt, not the desire to get a highly rated pitching prospect in lower A-Ball for a farm system that at least was NOT in a sorry state as far as pitching prospects were concerned (Harvey, Montero, Familia, Mejia, plus some lesser publicized arms like Germen, Torres, etc.) to go along with those already showing promise on the major league level (Gee, Neise, Parnell along with the young in arm Dickey).

    The point that this way the Mets at least got something substantial instead of nothing at all for Beltran is not exactly true. The Mets could have gotten a chance for October baseball for they were doing quite well with those they had and Wright was coming back. And of more importance, it didn’t matter if the team fizzled; the moves undermined what the players themselves had been doing and all that accomplished was leading to the slow understanding that saving money was the primary goal of this organization and the apathy we see today.
    You see, DrD., I do believe when becoming so involved in advanced stats it overtakes the sense of priorities, that being the team – instead of being the methodology. Think of it – I’m angry at 2011 and even though I understand everything you say about the situation, those explanations do not cut the mustard for a team that was in the position the Mets were.

    And let us say that my “gut” feelings are correct about this team already being capable of making real noise this season – with the fiscal situation being what it is, what do you think te probabilities are about repeating 2012 when nothing is done once again to help fill up our weak parts or a repeat of 2011 when contributing players who could save us money now or down the road (Colon, Murphy, CY, ) are sent packing for prospects?

  • Joey D.

    Hi Matt,

    Guess the organization is less focused on it’s middle class roots since the middle class itself is spending less and they want fans with open wallets, not families looking for an inexpensive way to spend a time out together.

    But back in the sixties and early to mid seventies, the cost for a ticket at Shea and Yankee Stadiums were basically equal. In fact, in the late sixties, a general admission ticket for the Mets was $1.50 and the Yankees was $1.30 (which would be a difference of approximately $1.50 today, so for a family of four, it was like $6.00 cheaper to go to a Yankee game and see Mickey Mantle.

    But who cared? I remember in 1968 on I think was the Dick Cavett show, Jimmy Piersal said the Yankees drew the tourists while the Mets drew the fans.

  • SCarton12

    Don’t get on my case, I agree with you. You said you were puzzled and I gave you an answer.

  • Dan Bahr

    Don’t forget, there were no blogs or bulletine boards or social media back then. Now it’s easy to speak with people from all over the world and it’s also easy to get hostile with people you’re never going to see. The rivalries between the 3 NY teams were fierce, especially among the die hard fans.

  • MetsFAN660

    There are some on here who hate the ownership so much, that they’d rather see the team fail so they can keep lashing out. As I said before, there are a lot of legitimate gripes, but do they call for hoping they “burn in Hell”? Hey, there are always trolls, and always some real fans with screws loose. Then there are those who’s hatred is based in the owners religious beliefs, and they are the ones who fan the flames the most. I know it’s a tiny minority, but I’m surprised that it’s tolerated on here.

  • Mario Caraballo

    facebook? joking right?

  • mattbalasis
  • DrDooby

    Hi Joey D.,

    I know you’re still bitter about the aborted 2011 “run”. But you will agree that the 2011 lacked depth. And that the 2011 Buffalo Bisons were bereft of prospects to either help the Mets down the stretch or as trade bait to give them a fighting chance:
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/team.cgi?id=e526545d

    The young arms in the pipeline you mentioned back in the summer of 2011 are
    Mejia – out till mid 2012 after TJ surgery
    Montero – doing well in the Gulf Coast League (!)
    Harvey & Familia – just getting their feet wet for AA Binghamton after opening the year with St.Lucie in A-Ball and still a year away
    Torres – with the White Sox

    Your “best” arms at AAA were the unforgettable Chris Schwinden, Josh Stinson and veteran poetry slammer Miguel Batista. Getting another high end arm like Wheeler was a much needed talent infusion instead of the faint hope that the thin & broke major league club wouldn’t need any of the non-qualified pieces at AAA down the stretch. Would you have felt comfortable with Chris Schwinden starting a key game in September during the imaginary playoff run ? Sure, ya never know. But hoping for that is like planning your finances around an expected lottery jackpot.

  • Joey D.

    Hi DrD.,

    Yes, I will agree the 2011 team lacked depth and a whole lot of things. In fact, I won’t disagree with any of the logical reasons why the Mets should not have been expected to continue playing as well as they were. But those same explanations could not answer as to why the Mets were playing the great ball they were. That is just the nature of athletic competition. And we’ve seen it happen in baseball way too often.

    So all the reasons one can give as to why the Mets had no chance and Sandy was right in what he did has no merit to it in the world of baseball and can only be seen as an excuse because those moves were justified in the world of business. It was not done out of any re-building plan that could have not waited to the off season to begin. And it was not deemed that throwing away an entire season was worth a top rated low-A prospect – nobody undermines a team for those reasons. It is unheard of not allowing players to play out the season when they are doing something nobody expected of them. It is one thing being wise and not making foolish moves to bankrupt a team for such a chance as we did in 2004, but it’s another dismantling the team and deciding for them that the season was over when in the position they were in.

    If nothing else, what was done in 2011 took all the joy away of being the type of fan who lives and dies with the team (and only seems OK for those who enjoy being arm chair general managers). It was a kick in the stomach and for that, I will always be bitter and angry at the Commissioner and the Wilpons – and for Sandy Alderson for if nothing more, his having the balls to do it. If Selig had any sense of what was good for the game, seeing how the Mets were playing at the time he should have made some sort of financial arrangement for MLB to take over the immediate payments owed by the Mets contingent on sterling Mets not taking on any new players but allowed to retain those they already had on the roster.

    Then after the 2011 season, they don’t re-sign Reyes, they sell the minority shares and do everything else necessary to pay back those loans. Either that, or then Selig should have never had stepped in and not prevented them from having to declare bankruptcy.

    That’s why I cannot forgive what happened in 2011. I can forgive Yogi Berra for his bad managerial decision that perhaps cost us the 1973 world series or Steve Phillips for trading Kazir or even Tom Glavine for not feeling devastated and blaming the fielders behind him for that bad first inning (though that is a tough one) than I can forgive what was taken away from us that year for even if we wound up finishing below .500 anyway, at least we know we did it on our own.