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Taking Back New York

On Thursday, I had a three-part series about how the Mets taking back New York.  For  your convenience, I have consolidated all three  parts in one mega-post here.

PART I: Can the Mets Take Back New York?

After two consecutive sweeps, the Mets are rolling. With the Nationals loss last night, the Mets increased their lead in the NL East. Not only do the players seem confident, the Mets fans also feel confident. So confident they have resumed the taking over New York talk.

When I grew up, the Mets owned New York . . . it was the first and only time. The reason the Mets owned New York was not only because they were the winning team, but also the sheer caliber of their star power with Strawberry, Gooden, Carter, and Hernandez. It was a fun team and it was a fun time to be a Mets fan.

It all came crashing down with the Worst Team Money Can Buy. The Mets were no longer likeable and they no longer winning. The Yankees then had a dynasty featuring the Core Four and the disturbingly forgotten Bernie Williams. Seriously, Yankee fans who refer to the Core Four do not deserve those championships.

Seemingly, the Mets are primed yet again to take back New York. They have star power with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard. When David Wight comes back, we can include him. It also helps that Matt Harvey and Steven Matz are local kids.

The last time we had this conversation was 2006. The Mets were the best team in the regular season that year. They had star power with Wright & Reyes, the two Carloses, and Pedro. That was an immensely likeable team. Their attempt to take over New York ended with that Adam Wainwright curveball.

After the 2007 & 2008 collapses and the Yankees’ 2009 World Series title, the possibility of taking over New York was dead. You see it’s not enough the Mets be really good; it’s also important they’re clearly better than the Yankees. Right now, the Yankees are also in first place.

We Mets’ fans quickly forget most people now were raised Yankee fans, who worshipped the temple who was Derek Jeter. I’ve heard people like Mike Lupica say New York is a National League town. He’s obviously referring to the ghosts of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants.

My grandfather was a New York Giants fan. He passed away almost thirty years ago. Initially, my father was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan. The Dodgers moved to LA when he was eight years old. When the Mets came into existence, the Yankees were the only team in town for five years. Effectively, it was for another seven as the Mets were mostly awful and always sub .500 prior to 1969. The New York is a National League town was either a myth or an outdated fairy tale. Long story, short, most people now have no concept of New York as a National League town.

With that said and looking at everything, the Mets can potentially START taking over New York. Much of that will depend on the young pitching this year and in the ensuing seasons. Even if the Mets were to win the World Series this year, I’m not convinced the Mets take over New York. It will, however, accelerate the process. It’s not important to me that the Mets take over New York. However, I would still like to see it.

I want to see it because it means we’ll see a stretch of baseball like we did from 1984 – 1992. It also means the Yankees fell on hard times, which is always good for the soul. Most importantly, it’s easier to raise my son a Mets’ fan when the team is actually good. I’d love for him to see Mets’ teams like the ones I had growing up.

PART II: So Who’s Coming Along for the Ride?

On Sunday, the Mets were rolling and on their way to a sweep of the Nationals to tie them for first place in the division. Mets fans were ecstatic . . . and irritated.

Yes, irritated. All over Twitter Mets fans were complaining about other Mets fans. What was really going on was hardcore fans were complaining about bandwagon fans who just showed up as the Mets got good again. Oh the bandwagon fans, they’re the bane of the hardcore fans existence.

We all know them, even if they won’t admit it. They say inane things like I want to see both New York teams do well. They’ll ask how the Mets or Yankees are doing in August when we all know too well how they’re doing. They come to the occasional game with no gear on or with the tags hanging off of it. Hardcore fans HATE bandwagon fans.

I have some bad news for Mets fans that want to take back New York. You have to welcome the bandwagon fans. The hardcore Yankee fans that can wax on and on about players like Luis Sojo, Graeme Lloyd, and Chad Curtis are not becoming Mets fans. You’re getting the Yankee fans whose favorite players are Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
Like I said in Part One of this series, taking over New York is not that important to me.  The reason is I’m more concerned about sharing this ride with Mets fans who know players like Darryl Boston, Armando Reynoso, Rico Brogna, Mike Baxter, and Josh Satin. If you know these players, you know what it’s like to be a Mets fan. In 2006, the Mets hadn’t taken over New York, and yet, Shea Stadium was still rocking. Mets fans don’t need to take back New York to fill the ballpark. There are plenty of hardcore fans out there.

These are fans that when the Mets finally win the Workd Series, they’ll want to share it with someone special to them. It’s the reason why my Dad turned down a ticket to the 2000 World Series. He’d rather watch the game with my brother and I. It’s the reason I so desperately want to take him to a Mets World Series Game. He deserves it.

You hardcore Mets fans also deserve it. The bandwagon fans will enjoy ANY championship, but it won’t be special to them. Let them have their fun. We can take back New York and know what it really means.  I say let them along for the ride. Just make sure that when they board the bandwagon, we will already have the good seats because we’ve been here the entire time.

PART III: Why Does it Matter?

Since those ’80’s Mets teams and the Yankees recent dynasty, the subject of the Mets taking back New York arises whenever the Mets begin winning again. Why?

I understand that winning will help take back New York. I understand it comes along with a more interesting and talented team. However, Mets fans snipe at the bandwagon fans that come with taking back New York.

This obsession isn’t present in the other Nrw York sports. I’ve never heard a Jets fan talk about taking over New York. All Islander fans care about is beating the Rangers. They don’t care about taking over New York. Honestly, I think the Nets fans just want to be relevant. I think they’ll settle for that before taking over New York.

Here’s the difference between the Mets and those other teams:

  1. The Mets once owned New York; and
  2. Yankees fans are intolerable

Since Interleague play started, we’ve had to deal with Yankee fans on a more consistent basis. They’re smug. They lord it over Mets fans when they win. When they lose, they point to 2000 and their other 26 World Series titles. They need to be taken down a peg or 26.

We’ll always have Yankees fans to deal with.  We were hoping with Jeter gone, they would begin to fade. Of course, this year they’re winning. I’ve heard Yankee fans spouting off they have a better record and a bigger lead in their division. You see that’s the rub. They’ll never admit it, but the Mets bother the Yankees fans.

Giant and Jet fans live in relative harmony. Two Super Bowl wins over the hated cheating Patriots will do that. Islander and Ranger fans hate each other’s teams, but they’ll admit it. In a small way Rangers fans welcome the return of the Islanders because it makes the rivalry so much better when they’re both good.

Yankee fans like to pretend there’s no rivalry. However, they’ll never admit to their panic in 2000 that they could’ve lost the World Series to the Mets. They were touting Severino last night. I think a large part of that was Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz, and Wheeler. At least the Mets fan will admit they hate the Yankees and they want to retake New York.

I think another reason Mets want to take over New York is their children. I started this blog to share my experiences of raising a Mets fan. If the Mets are good, it’ll be a lot easier to raise a Mets fan. Also, you want your kids to enjoy baseball. It was a lot easier for me as a kid to enjoy baseball in 1988 than it was 1993. Admittedly, this is the part of taking over New York that interests me the most.

Hopefully, the Mets are on the rise and on their way to retaking New York. Personally, I’m not consumed with it, but I will enjoy the ride. I can’t wait for those smug Yankee fans to be put in their place. More importantly, I can’t wait to raise a son in an era of good Mets baseball.

You know what?  I’ve talked myself into it. Let’s take back New York!

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