Booing and Other Mets Fan September Rites of Passage

“Fucking covid Sox are gonna choke this up” — Manasquan Rob, long-suffering Mets Fan

The lack of clarity and punctuation in the text a group of us Mets fans received yesterday afternoon from Manasquan Rob didn’t keep the relevance from hitting us all right between the eyes.

The calendar showed September 1. The Mets were under .500, and their acting GM had been busted for DUI, asleep at the wheel of his car somewhere in Connecticut earlier that morning. It was only the latest in a string of hapless foibles that Mets fans everywhere have come to expect as part of the fabric of our franchise, every bit as blue and orange as Mr. Met.

Yup, it’s that time, Mets fans. The duration of our season can now be dedicated to rooting against the Yankees. And to further kick us in our collective shins, while the Mets acting GM was presumably sleeping it off in a cell somewhere, Gerrit Cole was in the process of looking nearly unhittable in striking out 15 Angels in only 7 innings of work out in Anaheim, stopping a mini losing streak for the Yanks in the process.

That pretty much says it all. The Yankees recently reeled off one of the longest winning streaks in the history of their storied franchise to again emerge as favorites to win the World Series, while the Mets responded with two of their biggest “stars” dissing their own fans (using the thumbs down signal) for having the audacity to boo their horseshit performances. September baseball in New York sure is alive and well post-pandemic, folks.

It didn’t matter that Manasquan Rob’s text ignored the fact that the Red Sox had already ceded the top Wild Card spot to the surging Yanks. Or that even before losing 11 players and coaches to Covid-19 appeared poised to miss the postseason. The point here being that a diehard Mets fan was choosing to focus his energy on rooting against the Bronx Bombers with his own team just five games out with a month to play. Such is the reality of living life as a fan of the New York Baseball Mets during the month of September.

Wait til next year, indeed.

Other notes as SportsAttic plays catch up with the collective angst of Mets Nation:

*I know I’m not the only one who was caught dreaming, if only for a day, about how the whole “thumbs down” controversy might turn into a September rallying cry when the Mets swept a doubleheader against the Marlins on Tuesday, winning the first game of the twin bill after going into the 9th inning trailing 5-1. Could a modern day reincarnation of Tug McGraw’s “Ya Gotta Believe” stretch run for us back in ’73 be brewing? It was all right there for the taking–a weak schedule stretch against the NL East bottom feeders for the Mets, while the Braves came back to earth facing tougher competition than the patsies that had facilitated their division lead. Thor was on the way back to tighten up our bullpen (even with only two pitches at his disposal), and Jake was throwing on the side for the first time since earlier this summer. Michael Conforto had seemingly rediscovered how to hit, and maybe even Lindor and Baez would rise up to the fans lofty expectations and use their public shaming as motivation to play like actual stars worthy of hundreds of millions of dollars. Could it still happen? Sure, five games out is nothing, particularly when one considers just how flawed the Braves roster is. But sometimes a season is just poisoned, and that appears to be the case for the 2021 New York Mets. I mean think about it — our first GM got canned for sexual harassment before the season even got started; Robinson Cano (who none of us ever wanted anything to do with anyway) was suspended for PEDs (again); deGrom’s magical greatest season ever gets derailed by multiple injuries; Thor’s rehab never came together as scheduled back in June; our $341 million dollar star hitting like Teddy Martinez; a lackluster trade deadline effort only landing us a guy who plays a position we’ve got covered for the next eleven years (and strikes out more than Dave Kingman); and now the current GM, who replaced the GM who turned out to be a sexual predator, and presided over our shitty trade deadline effort, is found passed out behind the wheel in the wee hours of the morning, following a bender that apparently began at a charity event hosted by our new billionaire owner. All together now…SAME OLD METS.

*Speaking of Steve Cohen. Did this guy underestimate just how deeply cursed our ball club really is, or what? I mean, c’mon, he was one of us! He’s seen it all just like we have. From the Nolan Ryan trade to managing to lose Tom Seaver for no return not once, but twice. And a thousand other disastrous events since then too lengthy to chronicle here. The point is Steve Cohen lived all this right alongside the rest of us. And he bought the ball club anyway. And now it is like the baseball gods are on a mission to teach this guy a lesson. We should be running away with the watered down NL East this year, Stevie. For the first time since 2006 we have a lineup that should strike fear into opposing pitchers. We had starting pitching and a deep pen heading into the year. Hell, we could even look at Cano’s suspension as a blessing in disguise, as it would create more plate appearances for Jeff McNeil. And here we are. No hitting, with a rookie none of us had ever heard of back in March as our most consistent starting pitcher. And yeah, we still can’t trust Edwin Diaz as our closer. No, this won’t be easy, Steve Cohen. This shit runs deep.

*And what of this supposed controversy around booing players? The first baseball game I ever attended was at Shea Stadium in 1971. It seemed pretty straight forward to me back then — when the Mets did something well, we cheered. When they messed up, we booed. The fans around me did both at that game, at the pre-appointed times. Fortunately there was more cheering than booing that July day, and the Mets won the game on the way to a third-place finish in the NL East (sound familiar?) that season. I’ve followed that simple prescription pretty much to the letter ever since as it pertained to my Mets, and I’ve reserved some of the most passionate booing for hated enemies of ours over the decades since. There have been many — hello, in no particular order, Chipper (Lar-ry) Jones, John Rocker, Vince Coleman (oh how I hated him — which he repaid me for by coming to the Mets years later and absolutely sucking), Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla (see Vince Coleman), John Tudor, Pete Rose, Whitey Herzog (smug SOB White Rat..), Richie Hebner (see Coleman and Bonilla), Derek Jeter, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley…the list goes on ad infinitum. Am I supposed to reprogram myself now because we happen to be living in times of participation trophies, when we are apparently supposed to be more sensitive to the feelings of athletes whose hundreds of millions of dollars of earnings are both directly and indirectly coming from our passion for their chosen sports? Nah — I’m going to keep booing when terrible play or arch enemies deserve it.

*So do the Mets still have a chance, what with the record standing at two games under .500 and the Braves taking on yet another patsy tonight out in Colorado? Of course we do, but let’s hang on a minute, because we’ve seen this movie a time or two in the past. If we use history as a guide, it’s reasonable to expect the Mets current little run to continue for awhile. We’ve still got several more Marlins and Nats games on the schedule, and the prediction here is that we climb back over the .500 mark and creep a little closer to the Braves and Phils by the middle of the month. That should be enough to suck the lot of us back in, raising our hopes to the brink of giddiness. By then Thor and his flowing locks should be closing games with his 100 MPH heat, and deGrom may even toe the rubber against live hitters. But these are the Mets. And we’ve already established the season is likely poisoned beyond possibility of recovery. To me, it feels a lot like 1987, when the Mets clearly had the best team in the National League, defending their 1986 championship. But an early suspension of Doc Gooden, followed by multiple injuries and chemistry issues (Kevin Mitchell for Kevin McReynolds?? Are you effing kidding me??) ultimately torpedoed their season. Still, despite all that adversity back in ’87, late-September arrived with the Mets having righted the ship just enough to claw back into spitting distance of the division-leading Cardinals, with three games on tap for Shea Stadium in a key late-season series. And yes, I did forget to include Terry Pendleton on that list of players we booed with a passion like no other. Remember him? Practically leaping out of his shoes at a Roger McDowell sinker that didn’t sink enough, and ripping our hearts out with one swing of the bat?

It’s coming Mets fans…

Let’s go Red Sox.

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