Wednesday, October 7, 2015

One and Done?

For many years I have been saying that I do not kick someone when they are down.  I try not to gloat when I win or if my team beats your team because I realize that the pendulum swings both ways.
As a lifelong New Yorker I have rooted for only two baseball teams, the Brooklyn Dodgers and after the desertion to Los Angeles the Mets.
During the 50’s I endured taunting from fans of that other team in New York, no, not the Giants who also fled NY for the warmer climes of California. (By the way we can all thank that rat bastard Walter O’Malley for not only taking Dem Bums away but also convincing Horace Stoneham to take his Giants out as well. Also complicit in this slap in the face to NY was Robert Moses who wouldn’t work with O’Malley on a new stadium.
The dominant team in the area was the Bronx Yankees.
Ever since they threatened Boston with bankruptcy if they did not fork over their only good player at the time, Babe Ruth the Yankees have wheeled and dealed and used their extraordinary wealth to keep winning.
They basically bought any good player they could and never cared if there were performance enhancing drugs used as long as the player could help them win. (Rodriguez, Giambi, Pettitte, Clemens...)
This is in no way sour grapes on my part nor am I the only one who saw what they wealthy owner of the team was doing as evidenced by this 2003 story from The Onion.
There were bits of luck involved in many of their games such as the play by Jeffrey Maier that allowed the team to win a game they would have lost.  They went on to win the World Series but would not have even been in the fall classic were it not for the umpires missing (?) a clear violation of baseball rules!
But I digress.
From the mid 1950s when my dad took me to Ebbets Field until the stadium was abandoned in 1958 I was a staunch Bums fan. Five years later I transferred my allegiance to the new National League team at Shea Stadium.
And whenever the Yankees beat either team I would hear my friends explain how much better they were and how my team basically sucked. I had to hold my anger but my dislike of the Bronx team grew steadily into a hatred of all things Yankee.
I couldn’t stand that people actually rooted for a team that stacked the deck in their favor or seemingly had the pool of umpires rooting for them.
But throughout the lean years for my teams I continued to be a fan of the underdog.
And when the Mets finally had their first winning season and improbably went on to win the 1969 World Series I was overjoyed!  I did not throw their success back at any Yankees fan.  I did not even notice that our Bronx rivals finished under .500 that year.  It did not matter.
But I do recall many Subway Series games where the Mets lost and the fans were taunted as followers of a second class baseball team.  Some of otherwise nice friends were in that group.
So let’s now fast forward to the 2015 season.  Note that both the Mets and the Yankees were picked to be mediocre by the so-called sports experts.
However both teams were relevant for the entire season and both teams made the playoffs.
As this is being written the Mets are in Los Angeles to play the Brooklyn defectors (they will always be that to me just like they were “the bastards” to my grandfather who despised O’Malley more than you can imagine.)
The winner continues on in the playoffs.
The Yankees are licking their wounds over being shut out by the Houston Astros in the American League Wild Card game.
Both teams had surprising seasons so the fans of both teams should be somewhat happy.
Mets fans realize they are still the underdog against Los Angeles not to mention a long shot to win the World Series.  It sure would be sweet and we root but we're realistic and we have a young team!
But the difference was apparent when the Astros made the final out in yesterday’s elimination Wild Card game.  The fans at the stadium booed their team off the field.
One group of New York fans appreciates a good effort while the other demands only the championship.  Nothing less will be tolerated.
And so I will not taunt or gloat or say anything derogatory about the Bronx team other than, Nice Try guys.  Wait till next year!

And Let’s Go Mets!

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