Saturday, May 28, 2011

Old Man Wilpon Is a Dick and So Is Jeffrey Toobin.


Go see them.

Of all the troubles plaguing the Mets (The recurring injuries, a "Yosemite Sam"-minded owner, possible actionable ties to the Maddoff Ponzi scandal) low attendance is the most embarrassing and the most imperiling.
The first baseball game I ever saw in a park was at Shea. I didn't enjoy it much, despite the fact that the fans were absolutely insane about the team. The Mets got destroyed by the Houston Astros. On the ride home, I muttered "Mets suck" under my breath, and my uncle heard it. My uncle insisted on explaining the history of baseball in New York to me, and how the Mets were important because they brought the living legacy of National league back to New York City.
At times, I still cannot believe that the Dodgers, the Giants, and the Yankees all played in New York for decades... and when you look at what happened in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, -well let's just say that the sudden disappearance of the National League from New York in 1957 is stupid and baffling, and arguments for relocating the Hall the Fame to the old Polo Grounds are less so.
Sure, it may feel a little weird walking into Citi Field and seeing a shrine to Jackie Robinson at the entrance, -because it's not as if the Dodgers organiztion no longer exists (although some people in Brooklyn would insist otherwise.) The point remains that a game, an entertainment business took it upon itself to racially desegregate ahead of the nation, and it happened in National League baseball in New York. Some say, it couldn't have happened anywhere else, with any other team, with any other man other than Jackie Robinson.
I agree.
So why not have a church, as it were, built to comemorate Ebbets Field. Why not have a giant number 42 in the hall, dwarfing all visitors with the weight of history. The Dodgers organization went on to the West (Blame Robert Moses for that by the way, Walter O'Malley did what he had to do,) but they can't have taken what happened here with them anymore than they could take the fans of Brooklyn along with them. Jackie Robinson, as you may well remember, didn't go out West with the Dodgers and instead decided to retire as player for Brooklyn.

But back to the current standard bearers of the National League in New York City: 10 days ago, the Mets were playing like the superstars that their fans "gotta believe" that they are. In Steinbrenneresque fashion, Fred Wilpon put down his team's most notable players (Did Dave Wright really deserve that bullshit?) Jeffrey Toobin who interveiwed Wilpon for the New Yorker piece just shrugged it off as candor...
Well not really.
Let's be clear, even in sports, an area of human cultural focus largely (some would pretend entirely) and rigidly regulated by math and statistics, there is no such thing as "just being honest." You can be as factual as your knowledge allows, you can be blunt, you can be biased, you can be cruel, you can be unfair and still be dealing in the "facts."
The truth is: It's a long season in baseball. It always is. Whatever George Steinbrenner's ghost may have to say on the matter, you don't get to the All Star break in good form with the boss saying you suck or that you are overrated. There is so much more baseball (frustratingly so) to be played by this latest generation's assembly of elite players, that no one can honestly appraise a team's valor, fortunes or worth without conceding that they really don't know who is going to win a given series, a given division, or even a single game.

After all that's why we still watch.

The Mets don't suck if you're a fan, and Jeffrey Toobin of The New Yorker claims he's a fan. So to him, Fred Wilpon and all the fair weather supporters of this team in the media: This is New York, not LA.
It's only the end of May for cryin' out loud. Boston's in first as I write this.

I'm a life long Yankee fan, and I'm telling you to go.
Go see the Mets.

Go as soon as you can.
It's one of the best new stadiums in baseball (jets flying overhead notwithstanding) and it's a team that could, at any moment, play great baseball, -and recently did for quite a stretch.

If that's not excitement in sports, I don't know what is.
-SJ

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