Sports

Do you know where you are? It’s called Flushing for a reason

Has there ever been a team with as much drama between fans and players as the Mets?

Has there ever been a team with as much drama between fans and players as the Mets?
Illustration: AP

This is what the Mets have always been.

The Mets have always tried, and sometimes succeeded, in making up for their lack of success and standing with pure idiotic noise. They’re always fighting with each other, or with management, or with the fans, or watching the owner fight with fans, or with the front office, or the fans fight each other. The Mets experience is always fissure, always misery. They’re the baseball Jets. They even fucking rhyme, and they used to share a stadium. You can’t wash that shared stain off each other even in 28 years.

If the Yankees represent one side of the New York experience — the glitz, the standard, the history, the rep, the arrogance, the glamor – then the Mets have always represented the truer side of being in New York. It’s the same expense of course, you just get a whole lot less for it. It’s the undying nuisance of trying to complete everyday activity, the cockroaches, the rats, the lack of space and the absence of any glow anywhere in sight, the sweating out your weight in water during the summer, and the smell in the dead of August. That’s what New York really is. And that’s what the Mets have always represented.

This is the same team that had its own owner take to Twitter to blast his own team like he was a WFAN caller. This is the same team that watched its mascot flip the bird to fans, the quintessential Mets moment. It’s Vince Coleman throwing fireworks at Mets fans. This has always been Flushing, Queens. Everyone’s miserable, because it’s not the New York promised, it’s New York exposed. The fans are still trucking out to some parking lot next to the airport to watch a team not deliver. The players are still aware that they’re any error away from that group’s wrath. Every interaction with the Mets has always carried vitriol. Unless you’re the mid-80s Mets, yet many of them were too coked up to notice anything. And even they pretty much hated each other anyway.

Mets fans aren’t upset that Javy Báez and the other players found some coded way to tell them all to go fuck themselves. They’re upset because it’s a reminder of what they’ve always known without any of the lies they’ve told themselves. It’s a group of players wondering how they ended up there and/or dreaming of how to get away, either being paid by some loudmouth who thinks Mets ownership has bought him entry into the best clubs in the city or some loudmouth who doesn’t actually have any money (both of which end up laughingstocks), in front of fans who are taking out all the frustrations of daily life in the Tri-State area out on them.

Being part of the Mets World, in any fashion, gives everyone a right to be pissed off all the time. Are Mets fans right to be disappointed that their team shit out its intestines over the past month? Sure! This was an eminently winnable NL East that was begging to be grabbed by the throat, and the Mets blew it. Does Javy Báez have a right to be pissed that he’s getting booed after being in town for a month? Absolutely. Booing generally should be reserved for players dogging it, which Báez has never done. He’s just having a shit season. Lots of Mets are. Francisco Lindor, Michael Conforto, and Jeff McNeil all come to mind. But Báez was just the latest who promised to, maybe just briefly, take Mets fans from one side of the NYC experience to the other. He didn’t, they’re pissed, and the tease only makes them more so. Getting a glimpse is worse than never knowing, after all.

Do Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson have a right to be pissed? Well, actually, no…

The inferiority complex that basically brought the Mets into being, and has been their raison d’etre, festers into every corner of their being. They’re not the Yankees, but the Yankees aren’t real life. Everyone who moves to New York, who usually end up being the most annoying people on Earth, thinks they’re going to get a Yankees experience. Brunch, views of Central Park, cocktail lounges, velvet ropes. But most everyone gets the Mets experience. $23 in your checking account, a $6 bagel for lunch and dinner (though that bagel will be really good), and a landlord who won’t return your calls until the 6th at Aqueduct is over no matter that your shower is actively trying to kill you.

This is the Mets. The only mistake was not telling Báez what exactly he was in for.

Getting owned

Let’s end with some comedy. Villarreal CF hasn’t gotten off to the best start in La Liga, going scoreless in their first two games. They were pretty much paddled by Atletico Madrid in the first half of their match Sunday. But they escaped unscathed, and then were able to take the lead twice in the second half to lead 2-1 with seconds to go. Whether they deserved to or not, they only needed about 30 more mistake-free seconds to walk out of the home of last season’s champions with all three points.

If you’re going to go down, you might as well go full splat:

Atletico Madrid vs. Villarreal ends in a draw after a wild own goal | LaLiga Highlights | ESPN FC

AÍssa Mandi will get the “credit” for this, but he’ll likely point out that there’s no way he could have predicted his keeper Gerónimo Rulli was going to go for a piss before the final whistle. This pic sums it up better than I could:

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