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You’re wrong, Calcaterra: Mets fans most certainly do live and die with their team

Jan 25, 2011, 5:35 PM EDT

Sad Mets fan

A couple of weeks ago I wrote this about Mets fans:

I don’t think there’s a fan base of its size in all of sports that has a more balanced take on things. Mets fans love ‘em when they win. When they don’t, well, they’re not gonna cry about it and make their lives miserable. Don’t get ‘em wrong — they’ll be there for the team through thick and thin — but you rarely find a Mets fans who lets his team’s misfortunes truly upset him any more than a few minutes after the game is over. Life goes on. There’s another game tomorrow.

What I should have said but neglected to was that I was basing this solely on my interaction with Mets fans here on the pages of HardballTalk, which is an obviously limited sample size.  Yesterday Matthew Callan of Amazin’ Avenue considered the quote and applied it to his experience of interacting with fellow Mets’ fans. An experience that I shall not hesitate to note is much, much broader than my own:

There’s no real answer to the question Calcaterra’s assessment poses, since it’s unfair to generalize any group as large and diverse as Mets fans. My own feeling is that he’s both wrong and right–wrong about the “living and dying” part, but right about Mets’ fans reasonableness and perspective (at least for the moment). What say you?

Before that closing comes a very well-considered post that does more to mine the psyche of Mets fans than I’m capable of doing.  His verdict: oh, yes, Mets fans do live and die with the team more than I presume.  I have to concede that he’d know better than I.  Go check it out.

  1. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jan 25, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    Regardless of who Mets fans are, let’s focus on hating on those smelly Phillies fans. All Marlins, Braves, Nats and Mets fans unite to FIGHT THE POWER! Down with hope, up with dope! I think that’s how it goes.

    • xmatt0926x - Jan 25, 2011 at 6:00 PM

      Your going to need to combine the fans from those 4 teams to fight the Phillies fans. Your still going to lose the battle, but at least it will be a little closer.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jan 25, 2011 at 6:02 PM

      Maybe all of the other NL east teams could pool their best players to create on NLEast super team to take down the Phils. Hey, if your team can’t win the division, at least they can keep the Phillies from winning it.

      • larryhockett - Jan 26, 2011 at 11:09 AM

        The funny thing is, the Phils would still have the better rotation of the two.

    • Jonny 5 - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:17 PM

      I think the Phills sold out 6 of 14 spring training games in clearwater fl. So far…… I’d say the fans are pretty much kicking all other fans asses without even trying. But bring it on El Bravo heyward!!!! We can handle whatever you throw at us. 😉

  2. poreef - Jan 25, 2011 at 5:53 PM

    As a Mets fan who grew became a teenager in the early 90s, I’d say I’m most “comfortable” with the Mets when they are somewhat embarrassing. Not Vince Coleman / K-Rod level, but lovable loser / tragedy way. Think Anthony Young.

    My favorite Mets teams were the Bobby V years – guys like Timo Perez playing above their level, but even then there was something “right” about how they lost. Balls spinning in the dirt at home plate and rolling fair. Armando blowing Game 1. etc.

    I don’t consider this fatalism but part of the larger kitsch atmosphere the Mets fostered for most of their existence. By contrast, I find the Cubs fan base (I lived in Chicago for 7 years) and media to be among the most obnoxious around. Every September, its some combination of blaming a curse and running this year’s scape goat out of town.

    I don’t think the Mets are cursed or fated to fail like fans up in the Hub used to think. That’s a little too “me me me” for me. It’s just kinda what the Mets do but with some charm. In other words, when they lose, if it’s done tragically in some way it fits with my expectations and thus can’t quite get too worked up about it.

    • poreef - Jan 25, 2011 at 5:56 PM

      That said, I still, really hate Yadier Molina. Where does he get off hitting a game winning home run?

      • umrguy42 - Jan 26, 2011 at 10:49 AM

        As a Cards fan, I agree about obnoxious Cubs fans.

        Also, in regards to Yadi, I say: bwahahahahahahahahahaha! ;p

    • spudchukar - Jan 25, 2011 at 5:57 PM

      Your making it hard to hate you guys.

      • spudchukar - Jan 25, 2011 at 5:59 PM

        Sorry, You are making it hard to hate you guys.

  3. Lukehart80 - Jan 25, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    “Wrong about the “living and dying” part, but right about Mets’ fans reasonableness and perspective.”

    I don’t think you can have it both ways. To whatever extent you “live and die” with a team’s fate, you’re not keeping a reasonable perspective. That’s not a criticism of any specific fan or fan-base and I am as guilty of getting carried away with my fandom as the next guy.

    I see it as an either/or situation, either you’re living and dying with the wins and losses or you have some perspective. At a certain point, I think a lack of team success forces perspective on you, otherwise there’s too much dying without enough losing, and you’d lose your marbles. It’s the teams that have a fair amount of success that more often cause people to get carried away; there’s enough success to convince some fans that it should always be there (which of course it can’t be) and they lose said marbles when it’s not.

    There are obviously exceptions in both directions, but I think that’s the general structure of things.

  4. nyyankeefanforever - Jan 25, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    Kudos, Craig, on sharing both your interesting perspective on the Mets fans’ psyche and Matt’s not altogether conflicting counterpoint to your post. I think you’ve both touched a few nerves to which many Mets and Yankee fans of longstanding can relate.

    As a native New Yorker and frequent blogger with almost as many Met-friendly friends as I do fans of the Yankees and a few other team persuasions, I took the liberty of polling a few of them on this point.

    One of them, I think, came up with a pretty good description for it: You’ve got to be philosophical to be a Mets fan in this town. Another said he thought Roger Kahn’s “Boys of Summer” autobio chronicling his “wait til next year” love affair with the Brooklyn Dodgers captured it well. Another said he that whenever he talks Mets baseball with anyone he always feels like he’s consciously trying to strike a balance between expectant anticipation and quiet dread — but never boundless optimism or crushing despair like he sees from fans of the Yankees and other teams.

    Thanks for your interesting post and followup. Definitely food for thought.

  5. Jonny 5 - Jan 25, 2011 at 8:03 PM

    I don’t accept the labeling of any fanbase. Baseball fans are baseball fans. They’re awesome, smart, straight laced, sober, drunks, stupid, smell like roses, smell like dumpsters, stat heads, ignorant of stats, happy when the team wins, sad when they lose, rowdy,gracious, ignorant, calm, and every other description ever placed on a human being.
    No, Mets fans can’t be quantified in words, paragraphs, or even books. And either can any other fanbase. To try to do so is a failure of immense proportions, akin to stereotyping. And it doesn’t hold water. It’s useless and self serving usually.

    The only fair and truthful way to label Mets fans? They are all baseball fans. Just like any other.

    • evanpenn - Jan 26, 2011 at 6:04 AM

      Wow, beautifully put Jonny. I was going to try to say the same thing, but you did it better than I was going to. There must be over a million Mets fans. Trying label them as a group is fruitless.

  6. Old Gator - Jan 25, 2011 at 11:38 PM

    If Mets fans really did “live and die” with their team to the extent that Callan claims, Flushing would have a higher suicide rate than Lithuania right now. And they’re about the same size too.

  7. indaburg - Jan 26, 2011 at 9:27 AM

    Although the Rays are my team now, having grown up a Mets fan in the Kingman-Foster-Mazzilli-Youngblood era, I understand that Mets fans are merely accustomed to having lowered expectations. As those great philosophers, the Gin Blossoms, put it: If you don’t expect too much from me, you might not be let down. I understand that mindset. Tempered enthusiasm (except for 1986–glory days, they’ll pass you by).

  8. BC - Jan 26, 2011 at 10:05 AM

    Let’s put it this way. I’ve pre-paid my funeral, updated my will and notified next of kin at this point.

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