I’m a diehard Yankee fan. But for the last few
weeks of the season, when I should be celebrating the Yankees’ renaissance as a
contender and the meteoric rise of Joba Chamberlain, the Mets have stolen my
attention and glee. Heresy, you ask? Well, it’s not quite the debacle of walking
out of the Evil Empire into the Boston Tea Party, but it is a bit disconcerting
when more of my TV attention is on the Met games rather than Yankee games. And
yes, maybe it is heresy, but before my fellow fans excommunicate me, let me
kneel before the box and hope to be forgiven, and perhaps I’ll be understood.|
Traditionally a Yankee fan has two enemies: the cursed Boston Red Sox, whom we
take an unending drooling pleasure in squelching year after year (okay, they got
lucky in 2004—the curse lives on), and the crosstown team, the New York Mets.
Now, in reality, as a Yankee fan, you really don’t care about the Mets, you only
keep an eye on them for some extra good fun. Life is really all about crushing
Red Sox Nation. The Yankees and Red Sox have provided the usual great rivalry
this year (including a delicious sweep at Fenway, again), and the Yankees
themselves have staged a marvelous turnaround and fought back into contention
with an exciting season-long comeback into the playoffs.
When you have a big sports rivalry, there are two main sources of pleasure.
First, you love the intense games and the competition to better the other team
in direct confrontations and in the standings. You sweat out every game, every
inning, every side story and of course, every pitch—especially when the game is
on the line. That’s the foundation of your banana split, the four scoops of ice
cream. But what you really enjoy, almost as much (and often a great deal more)
are the spoils of victory. These are the fixings of your dessert, the
toppings—whipped cream, chocolate and fruit sauces, cherry and sprinkles. That
is, when you win and they lose. They’re out, you’re in. You get the thrilling
pleasure of taunting, ridiculing and belittling your friends who happen to be on
the other side of the fence.
But like I said, while you obsess about the Red Sox, you do keep an interest in
the Mets; but this year, everything has gone topsy-turvy and the Mets have
stolen my attention.
How’s that? How can a lifelong diehard Yankee fan be distracted from his own
Simple. The perverse pleasure of watching the most historic collapse in baseball
history—and the Mets, no less—is riveting. Who can watch Yankee games with the
slaughter going on next door? Granted, the Yankees drama was over—they were in
the playoffs—though they had a shot at the division title.
Then to hear the idiotic statement by the Mets TV analysts announcing that the
Mets have grit and it will show (this came after an anemic three-hit performance
capped off their seven-game slide, allowing the Phillies into a tie for first).
What? Over the most crucial part of the season, did the Mets not just illustrate
the most pathetic display of a flaccid spirit ever witnessed in baseball history
(regardless of whether they can salvage their season) with their swoon occurring
against the worst teams in the National League? (Normally the announcers are
pretty good, as opposed to the blithering, boring idiots the Yankees employ.)
And the usual satisfying accompaniment to the toppings of this delicious
dessert—the taunting, ridiculing and belittling of Mets fans—is entirely absent.
Mets fans are so sick, you can’t even engage them in a little banter. "What
team?" they ask. "Who are you talking about? I’m not a baseball fan, you must
have me confused." You can’t find Mets fans anywhere. They’ve either experienced
total amnesia or have holed up like bears in hibernation, waiting for the
upcoming winter to thaw out and get to the promise of next spring. You can’t
blame them, but I can blame the Mets. They so thoroughly dispirited their own
fans that they robbed Yankees’ fans of simple sports pleasures like drubbing the
enemy and rubbing it in.
Okay, enough about the Mets (who stink). It’s playoff time and either one more
heartbreak postseason or happy rendition of the Joba Rules. This time, however,
the Yankees rule!