This week’s Marist poll on local baseball (!) found that 51 percent of New York City registered voters consider themselves baseball fans, and of those fans 53 percent favor the Yankees, and “a little over a third” are true to the orange and blue. This is no shock, as New York is overrun by noobs who may feel that affiliation with the storied franchise of Boss Steinbrenner and Rudolph Giuliani will make them instantly more New York-ish, and by downtrodden souls for whom the 26 rings bring to their humdrum lives a vicarious feeling of victory.
Some readers may be surprised to learn that 84 percent of Yankees fans say the Yankees are the better team — and 61 percent of Mets fans say the Yankees are the better team, too. But this, too, is no shock to anyone who has been to see the Mets play at home.
Booing the Mets at home is legendary, the stuff of jokes and point–counterpoints. Sportswriters, sportscasters and managers have complained about it, which just makes us boo louder. Mets fans will boo any member or semblance of the Mets organization who offends, disappoints, or pisses them off, including Mr. Met, the Home Run Apple and Rick Astley.
Mets fans are also prone to despair, even something close to nihilism. Though it is only early July, many fans have given up on the season, and some have invented a drinking game to get through the sorry remainder of it. In good times we live in existential dread of another collapse; in bad times we are actually more comfortable, feeling a combination of relief that the worst is now behind us, righteous indignation at the hours, dollars, and beers we wasted while we waited on its inevitable arrival, and a strong desire to see Omar Minaya and a few others pay for that. You can be a Mets fan, in short, and still think the Mets suck. In fact we think it makes you more of one.
There is one bright spot for Mets fans in the poll. While 69 percent of us do not expect the Mets to make the World Series, 53 percent of Yankees fans expect their team will. This is a joke that hasn’t gotten old since 2001, and we look forward to enjoying it again this fall.