I am not accustomed to being ahead of curves, writing-wise. Or at least I am not used to it relative to how accustomed I am to being too overwrought, too late, and too inclined to read macro-scale tragic implications into stories that barely survive the daily news cycle. So it’s not with a little bit of pride that I note that I wrote my last “The Mets are a dumb-sad lost cause to end all dumb-sad lost causes” posts back in late May, here and here. That those posts followed the usual over-passionate blurts with four-digit word counts on the same subject — again, I’m bragging, but I fucking owned the Gary Matthews Jr. Overreaction Beat — is telling, too, of course. I’m not here to argue against my own idiocy. I’m just noting that I gave up on this year’s Mets first.
Anyway, that the Mets went on a month-long winning binge after my Lost Cause post
is obviously related to said post was kind of embarrassing, but also exciting from a fan’s perspective — I’m used to being wrong, as noted, and I was pleased (if baffled) to be proven so for a few weeks by Frank Jeffcoeur and the rest of the Mets cut-out bin brigade. But now that the Mets have settled into the dreary, unlovable mediocrity that I (and everyone else) was forecasting three (or more) months ago and brutal eulogies for the team are choking the internets, I guess I get to feel prescient? I imagine that would feel better if the baseball team in which I’ve foolishly decided to invest evening television time and emotional capital wasn’t revving up the three-catcher platoon once again, part-timing its alleged prospects and wasting $12 million and a roster spot on a meatball artist they use with a frequency that makes most Rule 5 picks look overworked. But of course they’re doing that, which means that my blood-rare prescience arrives with a big, glutinous side portion of Hating My Favorite Baseball Team Again. It is delicious.
The idea of Mets fan exceptionalism — the notion that somehow our fucked-up team is more fucked-up than yours — never really resonated with me, but there is something about the way in which the Mets have managed to lose over the last few seasons that’s both unique and remarkable. Credit the New York media environment for the hyperspeed pace of coverage — Tyler Kepner of the New York Times treated GM Omar Minaya (above, left) to some preemptive image restoration today, and Minaya hasn’t even been fired yet — but credit, too, to the Mets for making such uncommonly poor big-ticket personnel decisions and (relatedly) finding such unexpected and clownish new ways to run down their organizational rep. Our long-running fan-pain and visible-from-space organizational incompetence may not be deeper or vaster than that of, say, Giants or Pirates or Royals fans, but the team and organization itself might be harder for a fan to love than any other in baseball. There’s a reason why fans are getting on some Serpent and the Rainbow shit and burying this team before it’s officially dead, and a big part of that is the simple and easily understood wish to be rid of the hollowed-out emotional entropy that accompanies watching this Mets team suck sadly along through another meaningless August. At It’s Mets For Me, die masterscreeder who goes by I.M. Forme tries to situate this particular Mets disappointment in the long continuum of hollowed-out, entropic et ceteras:
Many of your favorite Mets blogs got of the ground in 2005; your humble servant here got started bringing Met-style mediocrity to the wide world of webs during that year (hint: anniversary presents!). Now that the team’s story has followed its arc back to the laughable shambles it was in before the Yankees turned down Carlos Beltran’s overtures, it is fair to say the Mets blogosphere faces its biggest challenge yet: staying interested in this crap. And we’re certainly sagging under the pressure. In 2007 it was easy to believe the Mets would take the next step, in 2008 it was hard to believe they could do that again, in 2009 it was fascinating like a car crash, and here in 2010 we got what we expected: a listless circus of sometimes violent clowns underperforming even the lowest expectations we had for them. From the owners to the “management” to the “stars” the organization comes together to earn their place as the laughingstock of professional baseball.
I bolded the part that’s the best few words I’ve yet read about this year’s Mets, so that you might notice it better. And I’m going to leave it there. Giving up earlier than everyone else is seldom an achievement to brag on, but I’m going to rest on that particular achievement and bag the rest of whatever I have to say about this team until the season’s over. It would almost certainly end up being redundant, anyway — everything I.M. Forme wrote above was true six years ago (or one year ago), and there’s nothing about the dreariness of this emptying-out season that wasn’t easily predicted last winter. There are other things to complain about and other things to celebrate and it’s hard to conceive of a way in which any of those things could be duller, more dire, or less deserving of one’s time than these Mets. If this is what being right and/or prescient feels like, I am really anxious to get back to being wrong. It’s more fun.