It’s not easy being a New York Mets fan. Even in New Mexico. Seriously.
I’ve come to find out that I am the butt of baseball jokes. UNM Sports Information Director Frank Mercogliano, who is from Long Island and a converted Marlins fan, said this to me on a special day of mine: “Mets still suck, but happy birthday!”
My friend and former high school English teacher, Bill Torres, sent me a text right before the first pitch of the Mets season this year: “The Mets have ALREADY been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.”
I can’t even go do karaoke without being harassed for supporting the Mets.
One night, I was with my buddies at a karaoke bar, and an attractive blonde walked up to me. Before I could say anything to her, she told me she was a Yankees fan, noticed my Mets hat and asked why I liked them. I told her why. and she responded with a line that I didn’t expect.
“I don’t do Mets fans,” she said. To be quite honest, I love the Mets. But these last five years have been painful in Queens.
The Mets are a cop-out franchise to begin with. The organization was established in 1960 because the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants relocated by 1957. Older Mets fans are former Giants and Dodger fans who hated the New York Yankees.
But the Mets simply got their name from being the New York Metropolitans Baseball Club Inc.
The “Metropolitans” were shortened to the “Mets” because it was easier to write headlines for New York newspapers.
The Mets’ ballpark was named in 1964 after founder William Shea. Over the years, Mets fans, and baseball fans who’ve seen a game at Shea Stadium, have considered the ballpark a dump.
It was a dump until the day it was demolished on Feb. 18, 2009.
But to Mets fans, Shea Stadium was our crappy stadium.
In Queens, Shea is next to LaGuardia International Airport, and at times, the stadium felt more like an air traffic control tower than a ballpark.
But now there is the Mets’ new stadium, Citi Field, which opened in 2009. It was built in one of Shea’s old parking lots and feels like a refurbished control tower. During the 2009 season, the Mets wore a patch on the shoulder of their jerseys for Citi’s inaugural season. It looked more like the Domino’s Pizza logo.
And as for actual, physical playing of the game — the Mets have sucked lately. Since 2006, the Mets have choked more times than contestants at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.
In 2006, the Mets were on the verge of making their fifth appearance to the World Series. But Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina, who had a batting average of .216 and hit six home runs in the regular season, said otherwise.
Molina belted a two-run home run in the ninth of Game 7 of the NLCS. It sent the Cardinals to the World Series, and they won.
Since Molina’s homer, the Mets have been doomed.
In the 2007 regular season, New York folded a seven-game lead over division rival, the Philadelphia Phillies, with 17 games left. The Mets lost their last three games of the season which put the Phillies into the postseason and left New York out.
Painfully dubbed the “New York Mess,” the Mets collapsed again the following season. In 2008, the Mets were predicted to win the National League East and advance to the World Series.
But lighting does strike twice, or it does for Mets fans anyway.
Once again, with 17 games left in 2008, New York collapsed with a three-and-a-half-game division lead over the Phillies. The Mets lost 10 of those 17 games, which included the last game of the season to the Florida Marlins. The last three seasons the Mets have been plagued by injury. In one way or another, they’ve lost All-Stars David Wright, Johan Santana, Carlos Beltran and Jason Bay over the course.
Now with a glimmer of hope this season, the Mets have shortstop Jose Reyes. Currently, Reyes leads MLB in hits (124) and batting average (.352).
However, Reyes is a free agent after this season and looks like he might bolt across town to the Bronx. True to the Mets’ history, Reyes suffered a hamstring injury against the Yankees on Saturday and is day-to-day.
Reyes was voted to the starting lineup of the NL All-Stars in next Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game on Sunday.
I have tickets to the All-Star Game in Phoenix.
Dammit. Like I said, sucks to be a Mets fan.