Sunday, February 18, 2007

What Do Met Fans Want ? What do any fans want ?

The starting pitching is uncertain, but there are plenty of candidates, including several age 25 and under, with several younger ones on the horizon. There are a bunch of future closer candidates in the system led by Ambiorix Burgos and newly-acquired Marcos Carvajal. Lastings Milledge, Carlos Gomez, and Fernando Martinez are among the best outfield prospects around. Francisco Pena may be the next great young catcher. Now, most likely not all of these prospects will become stars, but suppose a couple of them did every year, Omar continued to fill holes with free agent signings and judicious trades, and Willie Randolph cements his place as one of the all-time great field leaders in baseball history.

The Mets go to the World Series 5 out of the next 7 years and win it 4 times. Heaven ? Is this what Met fans want ? Or do they secretly wish for some of these prospects to fall flat on their faces ? For Omar to make a bad, maybe horrible trade or two so they can all criticize him ? For a couple of key injuries that will always have the team scrambling to come up with replacements ? Do Met fans want a team that wins over a hundred games every year, or one that's in a close race to make the playoffs ?

As my "profile" for this blog relates, I was a Yankee fan as a kid, but I found it much more interesting to follow a team that was always trying to improve, rather than one whose season didn't start until October. If the "new" Mets become the old Yankees, how would I feel? I'm pretty sure I'd still root for the Mets, but wouldn't watch nearly as many games or find it necessary to check box scores or team news nearly as often.

Personally, I'd like my team to be a contender every year, but not a runaway favorite. What if the Mets had gone all the way last year and won the World Series ? To be honest, I probably wouldn't follow them as closely this year. And if they win it all this year, it will be a thrill, and I'm sure I'll be less interested in the team next year.

I recall what I think was an old Twilight Zone episode where an inveterate gambler begins winning every time, and can't bear it. What is the thrill of gambling if you know you are going to win ? Similarly, how much enjoyment can one derive from rooting for a team that is always favored ? There can only be disappointment !

Opinions, please.


Anonymous Dana said...

I agree with you completely about this, Barry. I expressed similar sentiments on my blog back in October,
Baseball, as far as I'm concerned, is all about hope. When it becomes about expectation it is boring. Few fans are willing to admit this and I have the impression that many fans find this kind of thinking to be incomprehensible. But I will admit to actually being pleased by my sense that the Mets will have to fight much harder this year than they did last year. And as the triumph of the Cardinals proved last year, there's no formula for maximizing the likelihood of postseason success. What I want is an exciting season rooting for guys I like and enjoy. It would be great if they won something, but as far as I'm concerned, it's not absolutely necessary.

7:40 PM  

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