An MMO Fan Shot by Matthew Kayser
This Long Island native and ’80s child fondly remembers going to Shea Stadium as a kid, back when Doc, Darryl, Keith, and Mookie owned New York and, to a greater extent, my heart. I can vividly recall seeing such inspiring slogans as “Catch the Rising Stars” and “Baseball Like It Oughta Be” adorning the upper reaches of the Big Shea.
When I think of all that the overly confident new GM of the Mets, Brodie Van Wagenen, has accomplished thus far this offseason, I have to chuckle at the potential 2019 slogans his actions would warrant. I don’t know about you, but “Deeper Than We Were Last Year” doesn’t really excite me. Worse yet, can you imagine seeing “What a Bench!” plastered atop Citi Field?
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not denying that the Mets are better than they were last year. But better is not good enough. Not for me, and probably not for you. And it shouldn’t be good enough for the folks in charge. Not when they’re a New York City team that finished in fourth place the past two seasons and won only 77 games last year. Not when the NL East is more competitive than ever and the next major free agent signing could tip the scales in one team’s favor.
Immediately upon his hiring, BVW said he wanted to change the culture of this team. He said he was committed to building the absolute best team he could – both now and in the future. He and the rest of the front office have failed in that regard. The Mets can be, and should be, much better than they are right this second.
Again, I’m glad the Mets have a deeper bench. I’m happy the bullpen is vastly improved. But they’ve yet to do anything to force me into evolving from a casual observer who merely hopes for a 2015 redux into the obsessive, over-the-top fanatic I remember being as a kid. The obsessive, over-the-top fanatic I would love to be now.
And yes, I really do want to be that type of fan. I want to go all in. If the Mets were to unexpectedly announce today that they have signed Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, I would immediately do the following (upon receiving my wife’s permission, of course):
1. Renew my subscription to MLB.TV so I can watch each and every game this season.
2. Plan a trip to NYC this summer so I can watch the Mets play an entire homestand at Citi Field (I currently live in NW Indiana, not far from Chicago).
3. Find out when the Mets are playing on the road against regional opponents such as the Cubs, Reds, Brewers, and Cardinals – and then buy tickets to those games.
4. Shop online for Mets gear that I can wear when I watch them play regionally.
I am quite confident that I am not alone in that regard. These are just some of the things thousands of currently casual fans would do should the Mets sign either of the two best players available this offseason. The team’s level of commitment to winning and changing the perception of the franchise would instantly garner these advances in our level of commitment, and deservedly so.
And yes, signing someone like Harper (whom I think is the better fit for this team) is the type of move a team should make for multiple reasons. Not only would it make the Mets better on the field, but it would also serve as a much needed statement to the team’s fans, current roster, and opponents.
For a franchise that has spent most of its existence floating aimlessly between irrelevance and ridicule, this sort of statement is likely more necessary than the drastic on-field improvement it would provide.
Perhaps then, and only then, BVW and the Mets could reveal their suddenly believable and justified slogan for 2019: “Now Come Get Us!”
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This Fan Shot was written and contributed by MMO community member and die-hard Mets fan Matthew Kayser. Have something you want to say about the Mets? Send your article to GetMetsmerized@aol.com or use this Contact Form. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.