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I Love And Hate This Guy Who Adopted The Mets As His Team

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WSJThere are many New York experiences: You can marvel at the inefficiency of the cab line at JFK or boo a Knicks draft pick. You can eat at the best restaurants in the world and bring up once more how much you hated the Knicks draft pick. But if you want a real New York experience, I suggest buying a Yankees hat and a Mets hat and wearing each of them around the city. You will experience very different New Yorks. Since I announced in April that I was going to pick a New York baseball team, I tried a few experiments to help me make my choice. I attended a game of each, watched the broadcasts, listened on the radio, talked with fans. I did everything but call into Mike Francesa. In order to know what it would be like to live life as a Yankees or Mets fan, I actually lived life as a Yankees and as a Mets fan. That meant wearing the gear in public, throwing myself into it and giving each team a test drive. Few people have done this. Noted Yankees fan Billy Crystal wore a Mets hat in “City Slickers,” but no one is shameless enough to switch teams from one day to the next. I, however, am that shameless.

If you’ve ever worn a Yankees hat around New York, you know you don’t get much reaction. That’s probably because there are far too many for even the most enthusiastic passerby to acknowledge each one. Depending on where you are in the city, you will be mistaken for a tourist. One bike rental guy in Central Park approached me and asked where I was visiting from (the answer: about seven blocks south of the park).

Wearing a Mets hat, on the other hand, gets you thrown into the deep end of the pool of Metdom. One guy approached me to talk about the pitching staff. By the way, I was in Edmonton on assignment when this took place. Everywhere you go with a Mets hat, in far-flung, hard-to-reach destinations like California or Brooklyn, people want to talk about the Mets. You get the feeling that if a comet was screaming toward Earth and humanity was certainly doomed, that just before impact, someone would stop you and ask whether Curtis Granderson should really be batting leadoff. This is the significance of a Mets hat—it’s an invitation for an ongoing dialogue about the Mets.

In my first column I detailed how I am an Orlando native who loves only the Orlando Magic and wanted a New York team after five years of living here. I learned, then, that Mets fans and Yankees fans are so fundamentally different that it seemed no one had ever made the choice to be a fan of one or the other. The teams chose them. Yankees fans seemed to not care about the Mets. Mets fans cared very much about the Yankees. A reader named David wrote: “I’ve experienced all the highs and lows of being a Mets fan (let’s be honest here, it’s mostly lows). I can only speak for myself and my experiences, but many of the younger Yankee fans I know are insufferable.”

My research during this process was thorough. I watched the greatest moments in franchise history. (This took less than 10 minutes for the Mets and seven months for the Yankees.) I enjoyed what seemed like the genuine joy coming from Mets moments—the hollers from the broadcast booth as Johan Santana threw his no-hitter, for instance. I read books on both franchises and preferred the Mets yarns.

Still, I had reservations. When fans argued for the Mets, I was intrigued but I kept coming back to one thing: I hadn’t suffered enough. How could I possibly relate to these people and pretend I am one of them? When I watched Carlos Beltran take a pitch that broke their hearts in 2006, I was a neutral observer. When I watched as one-hit wonders the Baha Men performed “Who Let the Dogs Out?” before a World Series game against the Yankees, I was embarrassed for the Mets, not with the Mets.

More succinctly, Jason Fry, a writer and Mets fan, tweeted last month that “Voluntarily becoming a Mets fan is like signing up to be a martyr if you know Heaven doesn’t exist.”

I got my first taste of Mets fandom on assignment in San Francisco to do a story on the 49ers. I’d purchased a Mets hat in the afternoon at a mall. As I moved from store to store, a few people started heckling me. One store clerk asked, “What’s happening?” sarcastically. I had no clue what was going on. It was like a weird dream, frankly. It was slowly revealed to me in another store, a sporting goods store, that the hometown Giants were no-hitting the Mets in New York. Worse, it was a no-name pitcher named Chris Heston doing the no-hitting. I was in the exact wrong place wearing the exact wrong hat. It was slightly embarrassing, but also slightly funny.

Yes, this is what it’s like to be a Mets fan.

This article was written by Kevin Clark of the WSJ. I cut and pasted pretty much his entire article. I hope he doesnt mind. Because you really need to read the full thing to get the whole effect.

My entire life growing up, I never even question life as a sports fan in New York. Its was Mets Jets, Yankees Giants. Little bit of crossover with the Rangers but for the more part the Isles went the way of Orange & Blue and the Rangers went with the winners. The Knicks everyone had. Never even thought twice about it. I also didnt know Jewish people existed until like 5th grade. Just another example of being young and blissfully ignorant. I went to college in the Bronx and lived in Manhattan after school. It was never questioned.

But then I started with Barstool. And people asked me why I was a fan of my teams. Why did I pick the Mets and Jets? Who WOULDNT pick the Yankees and Giants? And I always scoffed at them like they were fucking idiots. I guess its makes sense to outsiders – there are multiple teams for each sport – just pick the ones you want. But to us thats the dumbest shit we’ve ever heard. I’ve always said, just how Kevin did in his article, you don’t pick these teams, these teams pick you. Its no more ridiculous than telling a gay person to just pick being straight or vice versa. One does not simply flip a coin or close their eyes and throw a dart. I mean, they do. Lots of bandwagon fans always do. Those people are assholes. But for the true blue fans of each sect, youre born into it. Its like a Caste System in India or Royalty in England. I’ve recently been debating whether I would pass on my fanhood to my children or let them choose. On the one hand it fucking SUCKS and its miserable but on the other hand you risk your kid becoming a Yankees fan and you hate them for life. But after reading Kevin Clark’s article I think I am finally OK with the choice of burdening my off spring with the Mets.

Everything he wrote there was so true. About how Mets fans are almost like an army themselves. Its almost like the quiet nod when we pass each other like in Fight Club. 7 Line fans instantly accept one another as friends and confidants. You see a guy in a Mets shirt or hat and you know hes cried at the same moments you have and you know you’ve both screamed the phrases “FUCKING CASTILLO!” or “FUCK JASON BAY!” You are one of the few people on earth that cheered for Benny Agbayani or know that Timo Perez’s full first name is Timoniel. Being a Mets fan is a lifestyle. Its a culture. Its been a shitty one for a long time but its a much richer, deeper lifestyle than that of the other half of New York.

Not to say there isnt rich tradition and diehard fans of the Yankees. But you just simply cant have the same type of brotherhood when you’ve won as much as the Yankees. Its like growing up rich, you’re automatically gonna be spoiled to some extent. Cant be avoided.

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So Kevin, I love you choice. You are as dumb as a box of rocks. I hate you because I’m watching what seems to be a nice, functioning man flush his life down the toilet. But I love your choice. Get ready for a ton of unnecessary hatred disappointment and misery.

PS – I would give up ALL that lame hippie dippie brotherhood garbage for a bunch of rings.

PPS – Whos the other guy in the Mets cartoon? Harvey as Batman, Keith, Jerry Seinfeld, Mr Met and who? Cant tell who it is.