On the Eve of the First Subway Series

In a blog called Clutch Bingles, a blogger named Brian mentions the fact that “Dana Brand wrote a book that fondly remembered The Last Days of Shea. …It’s one of the many things I genuinely love about Mets fans over Yankee fans. Mets fans lost their oft-derided stadium (even oft-derided among themselves), and they still mourn it. … Yankee fans, meanwhile, lost a palace with an unmatched history of championships (albeit one with a ’70s disco make-over) and replaced it with a gray gaudy mall — and Yankee fans hardly shed a tear for the old place … There’s no similar poetry devoted to the final days of old Yankee Stadium, not in the same vein as in the book by Brand, who obviously speaks for a lot of Mets fans. It’s like the Yankees brass (with the help of The City) plowed over a community park to drop an exclusive baseball version of the Palisades Center into the South Bronx, and Yankee fans loved them for it, even if that mall hardly loves them back.”

In the superb blog Subway Squawkers, the excellent Yankee blogger Lisa Swan wonders what people think now who had once said that they’d rather have Wright and Reyes than A-Rod and Jeter.  It is a fair question.  The stocks of Wright and Reyes are down at the moment.  But I still enjoy rooting for them to find their way, more than I’d enjoy rooting for Jeter, and much much more than I’d enjoy rooting for A-Rod.  When I noted this on Lisa’s Facebook page, it prompted several Yankees fans to marvel at comparably absurd preferences Mets fans have expressed to them over the years.  One woman marvels that her Mets fan husband says that he’d rather have Ike Davis than Mark Teixeira.  One man mentions that back in the ‘70s, the guy who owned his local deli said he’d rather have Doug Flynn, Ron Hodges, and Dan Norman than Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson and Mickey Rivers. 

Of course I’d rather have Ike Davis than Mark Teixeira.  I too was glad to have Doug Flynn, Ron Hodges, and Dan Norman rather than Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson and Mickey Rivers.  Wright and Reyes versus Jeter and A-Rod?  No contest at all.  These sentiments are relatively uncontroversial among long-time, die-hard Mets fans and they are entirely incomprehensible to Yankees fans.  This is how the fan bases can be told apart.  It is incomprehensible to Yankees fans that we would actually prefer players we know to be inferior to theirs.   We write books and poems of love to a mediocre newish stadium and they can’t even produce a tear (let alone a book or a poem) for a truly historic old one.  They can’t comprehend that we don’t envy them.  They think we should.  We don’t.  We feel superior to them, precisely because of the perversity and the sentimentality that prevents us from envying them. 

As I’ve said before, Yankees fans are just as good people as Mets fans.  But if the only way I could be a baseball fan was to be a Yankees fan, I wouldn’t do it.  It doesn’t look like fun to me.  For all of the disasters and absurdities, I can’t help but find Mets fandom fun. 

So here we are at the first Subway Series, a psychological point of the season that both Mets fans and Yankees fans know is important.  I’m psyched.  Because I know that anything can happen.  Yankees fans also know that anything can happen.  But they are not as much at ease with this fact as I am.

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