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Wall Street Journal Writer Who Joined The Mets Bandwagon Back In July Gives The Rules To Bandwagoning

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WSJThe Mets are the hottest thing in New York. There are typical big NYC sports moments—when the Rangers make a playoff run or the Knicks lead after the first quarter of a game—but this is very different. This is a New York phenomenon on par with going to see “Hamilton” or asking everyone you know if they know how to get tickets to “Hamilton,” or pretending you’ve already seen “Hamilton.” It is cool to be a Mets fan, so all cool people are now Mets fans. This is a problem for many Mets fans, and it’s one I know all too well.

I’ve lived in New York for five years, after growing up in Orlando, where baseball is two hours away in Tampa, and major-league baseball is even farther away. Needing a team to root for here, I picked the Mets over the Yankees in July, after a months-long experiment. At the time, the Mets were floating above a .500 record and looking like a team primed for a playoff run in 2016. And then everything changed.

But make no mistake: I am still a bandwagoner, just like every deGrom-jersey-wearing transplant (or those former Yankee fans) currently populating New York. A few Met-fan friends—people who can name the entire 25-man roster from 1986 and every stop on their LIRR route—have confided that they are slightly annoyed about this. There is a new breed of well-adjusted Mets fans who have arrived at Citi Field, the type who have no idea why you would make a Baha Men joke or wear a black Todd Zeile jersey. This can be confusing for everyone. I’m here to help. Through my months of being a bandwagon Mets fan, I have learned quite a bit about diehard Mets fans, the most peculiar of species. With that in mind, I put together a handy list of how to approach bandwagoning New York’s hottest team, now that they’re two wins from the World Series:

Admit You’re Bandwagoning -The number one rule of hopping on the bandwagon is to be as up front as possible about it. Do not try to create an origin story for your fandom if it’s not legitimate or easily explained. No one believes your story about how you became a Mets fan. No one.

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Dont Get Cocky –  Congrats, your new team is up 2-0 in the NLCS. Here’s what you shouldn’t do: start talking trash, or worse, tell Mets fans to relax or start celebrating. These fans have been through a lot. They can recite collapses like the names of family members. The absolute worst thing to do is to tell them everything is going to be all right. It just may be all right, but let Mets fans be neurotic and anxious. They’ve been here before, you haven’t (or worse, you’ve been here with another, more optimistic team).

Do not do the opposite, either, and default to depression and assume the worst. Just be yourself; import your own disposition into Mets fandom.

Learn As Much As You Can – A boss of mine was at a wedding last year and the best man began his speech by talking about being at the “Benny Agbayani game” with the groom, as if everyone knew what he was talking about. This is a standard feature of Metsdom—there are slices of history that only they cherish.

Buy Mets Fans Drinks – I can’t emphasize this enough. You bring a bottle of wine when you visit someone’s home, don’t you? Well, you are in their home stadium, home bar, whatever, for the next few weeks. Drinks are on us, the bandwagoners.

Remember Kevin Clarke? He was the dude back earlier this season who decided to declare allegiance to the Mets. I wrote about him when he first joined up. My, how much things have changed in just 3-4 months. People were basically offering Kevin Clarke condolences on his newfound life as a Mets fan back in July. And then, in his words, everything changed.

I’ve talked a lot about the Mets Bandwagon in this improbable run. Did a whole podcast on it. I blogged about Lena Dunham and Chipper Jones. That asshole De Blasio. There’s good Bandwagon Fans and bad ones. Kevin Clarke is one of the good ones. He respects the wagon. As a fellow Bandwagoner for the Islanders, I apply these same rules to my new hockey fandom. He knows the drill.

Which is what scares the fuck out of me. Because if you look at Rule #2 Of Being A Mets Fan, your boy KFC is clearly breaking ranks. All year long I’ve been reluctant to dive in head first. The eternal pessimism and fear inside of me hasnt allowed me to do it. But with the Mets up 2-0 in the NLCS, on the Dixie Bus, beating Arrieta, with Daniel Murphy playing like a postseason Paul Bunyan, I have turned heel. The cockiness is on a hundred thousand trillion, and I’ll be honest – it terrifies me. I’m sitting here today saying to myself “What if deGrom loses a nail biter and then game 4 is a slugfest and all the sudden its a tied series??” I’m worried about 3 in a row in Chicago. I’m worried about Harvey’s bruise. What if Murphy doesnt see another pitch and nobody else in the lineup picks up the slack?? I’m flying too close to the sun on wings made of nothing but Daniel Murphy magic.

And then I think about Kyle Kendricks and Jason Hammel and how the Mets have their four aces to win 2 more games and I go right back to my new cocky self. I think about how 41% of all of the Mets pitches this season have been 94 mph or faster and how the Cubs just can’t hit power pitching. I think about the Hank/Big Cat Mush. And I just know there’s no way the Mets blow this series. The Old KFC would be sitting here waiting to lose 4 in a row. Not the New KFC. And not the New Mets. This team is different and so am I.

Big Cat and the Cubs STINK.

LGM.