Wrong Side of History

By Taryn “the Coop” Cooper

I liken Mets history and those who surround themselves with the comfort it to a form of pornography.

Sounds harsh, but I like, as an example, that my husband and I are included in the acknowledgements of several Mets books, most notably Greg Prince’s recent “The Happiest Recap” book.  The reason being is that when we get together, we all talk about Mets history, games, players.  Prince devoted an entire encyclopedia of books to it (coming to a bookstore near you!); my husband likes to write Metsifestos on themes in Mets history during the offseason.

I’ve mentioned before that in my Mets household, we talk a lot about the Mets: current, past, future, you name it.  We talk games, we talk former players, we talk defining Mo-Mets.

But when Giancarlo Stanton came up lame on a ground out, we started talking about history.  I said that it reminded me of an Endy Chavez injury in a game against the Phillies in 2007.  All my husband could say was, “The Marlins have a good chance of breaking the 1962 Mets record if Stanton is out for a long time.”

I replied, “Well, what’s wrong with that?”

He said, “I like it, it’s a badge of honor.”

::head desk::

Therein lies the problem, folks.  A team that lost 120 games and won only 40 is revered.  And honored.  Even wear it as a badge of honor.

Sigh.

But then when I raised the question to other Mets fans on Twitter, here are some of the responses:

 

 

It made me pause…was in the minority that I wouldn’t want, with all the crap I take daily for being a proud Mets fan, on top of all the crap this team continually puts me through, that the worst team in baseball EVAR is a label that I wouldn’t mind shedding? Here’s a longer thread between myself and Mr. DrHrdMet and Concerned Fan Fred Solomon.

 

 

 

 

casey-stengel-2Now, that last tweet between Señor Solly, Mr. DyHrdMet and I went in another direction, but it did give me pause.

In the grand scheme of things, as Jason mentioned, the 1962 exercise in futility did ultimately lead to the 1969 Miracle Mets, a team that gave everyone in the city and beyond hope and something to cheer.  But during the seasons between, Casey Stengel retired.  He had an overall losing record and didn’t encourage his players to be better.  His number was RETIRED by the team in 1965.  Well before the team had any inkling they’d win anything.

The ridiculous attachment to this honor because it somehow defines our legacy is preposterous.  Is it any wonder that we cling to things defining moments, as opposed to, you know, WINNING TEAMS? In fact, the tangent with Solly and DyHrdMet was about just that: how this team seems ashamed to honor the best and most fun team in visible ways (like retiring numbers) or even honoring their best offensive position player (Mike Piazza) seems a concept foreign to them.

I hate that I just got so mean spirited.  I don’t want to call out the fan base because that’s unfair.  I guess that this badge of honor is just the wrong side of history, one that I wouldn’t mind losing.

But I guess it just goes to show that overall, we’re okay with being mediocre.  Surely, I’d rather have entertaining teams, and build for the future.  But acceptance of this is just endemic of this franchise.

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