09.29.08

Former Mets Announcer : Amazins Fans Are Nattering Nabobs Of Negativism

Posted in Baseball, New York, New York at 6:49 pm by

(Metal Mike and Tom Terrific, acknowledging the cheers of Sam Champion ungrateful jerks Flushing’s adoring fans)

There’s so much blame to go around after the New York Mets’ 2nd consecutive September collapse ; David Wright, Joe Smith, Jeff Wilpon, Tony Bernazard, Joe McEwing, Kevin Elster, Gregg Jeffries, Rusty Staub…..tell me when to stop, please.  Former SportsChannel mouthpiece Ted Robinson, however, suggests a group addition to the above list ; Shea Stadium’s paying customers.  From MSNBC.com (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory) :

What struck me most Friday was the negativity. Florida scored two runs in the first inning and the rest of the night was mired in a cloud of gloom.

Yes, the economy is part of the reason. Shea Stadium crowds are always littered with Wall Streeters and last Friday night seemed to have a large percentage of those who were blowing off steam and getting Heinekenized and Budweisered.

Before the game I saw Mets general manager Omar Minaya and told him something that appeared in this blog last September — I believe the Mets would have made the playoffs last year if they had played the final week on the road. I still believe that and double down on the thought this year.

By Sunday, I was back in California for the best seat available on baseball™s best day — my couch with DirecTV. As I flipped between games at Shea Stadium, Milwaukee, Minnesota and Chicago, I was struck by the enthusiasm in three parks. Only Shea Stadium didn™t offer its team an obvious home-field advantage.

A stadium whose character was defined by its occupants rather than its structure was closed in grand style. The Mets lone member of the Hall of Fame, Seaver, and his eventual partner in Cooperstown, Piazza, teamed as the battery for the final pitch and walked together out the centerfield gate.

All the while most of the sellout crowd stayed and cheered. It was wonderful, yet bizarre. They love their team, the National League heritage started by the Dodgers and Giants when they played in New York, and the great players who have worn the orange and blue. But the fans seem to love the players more after the fact, more after they are through playing.

During my years as a broadcaster for the Mets, I wondered why the booing at Shea Stadium was so vicious. I have heard such booing often during the final Mets games of the last two seasons. After Sunday™s game “ which turned out to be the last ever at Shea Stadium — I heard cheers. And I can™t help but wonder why over my years of watching the Mets I had not heard them more often.

One Response to “Former Mets Announcer : Amazins Fans Are Nattering Nabobs Of Negativism”

  1. Matt in Virginia says:

    Ted Robinson’s explanation (“it’s the negativity of the fans”) for the Mets’ disappointing finish does not jive with the facts. The Mets went on the road in September and did not play like invincible “road warriors” a la the NY Giants. They played less than inspired. The pressure the team felt and to which they repsonded poorly was in their own heads. The irrational and excessive cheering of the home crowd would not have shored up their fragile self-confidence. Unlike the NY Giants, they did not (a) circle the wagons and use the outside criticism of their previous erratic performance to rally together more closely as a team; (b) they continued to play “not to lose” rather than use each little additional bit of adversity to motivate everyone to step up for the sake of the team and overcome past mistakes (Think: the Giant QB and RBs almost completely eliminating turnovers in the playoff run).

    Instead, whenever there was an excuse for hanging one’s head and feeling overwhelmed or sorry for himself, that is what most of the players did (except Santana). The more one avoids the situation one is afraid of, the more likely one will be unprepared when the situation finally arrives. This approach can be ascribed to the hitters, the bullpen and the GM.

    Maybe the Mets should have called the Giants and borrowed their wounded Army Lt. Col. for a rallying speech before one of their key series in September. The Giants, even guys as flakely as Plaxico, were able to understand the simplicity and appeal of: “no matter how daunting the upcoming challenge, swallow your fear and give a 100% effort trying to do what you have to do to help your brothers/your teammates fight through to the end.” I think it was Plaxico who said that catching all those balls and holding onto them during the frigid Green Bay game seemed like nothing compared to the Lt Col (without legs) talking about wanting so badly to be back with his unit in Iraq fighting the enemy as a unit. Whether the adversity is a good thing or bad thing is all about perspective.

    The fans instinctively know what is wrong with the team and we cringe at the lack of focus and inability to put sel-doubt aside and strive to do whatever it takes to give the team a fighting chance to win.

    That is why we are so openly negative about they way the team reacts to adversity.

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