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We Already Knew It Was Our Town

Mike SteffanosMonday, October 9, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

A lot has been made, given the respective fates of the Mets and the Yankees this past Saturday, over which team now owns New York. One side will tell you that the Mets have taken over by outlasting the Yankees in the post-season. The other side insists that the Yankees regain their hold on the Big Apple by dominating the back pages with speculation over the fate of Joe Torre and Alex Rodriguez. To me, the whole issue is irrelevant -- I'm a Mets fan, always have been, always will be. What do I care whose bandwagon the indifferent masses are jumping on? If you want to put A-Rod on the back page, knock yourself out. If WFAN wants to spend more time on the Yankees' soap opera than the Mets story, so be it. There isn't much of value that comes over those airwaves, anyway. For myself, and those of you reading these words, this has always been our town. Sometimes the rest of New York realizes it, sometimes they don't.

I know that many, if not most, of my readers have more hard feelings toward the Yankees and their fans than I do, and I'm not going to try to talk you out of anything. Many of you spend much more time among them than I do. To me, I've had too many years of the level of debate that runs along the lines of, "your team sucks." "No, your team sucks." "No, your team sucks." It just gives me a headache. Frankly, it doesn't matter all that much to me what Yankee fans, or the vast majority of trend-jumping casual fans feel about my team. I guess there was a time that I did, but one of the few benefits of getting older is getting some perspective on what's important and what's not.

Don't get me wrong here. I do appreciate the irony of the situation. I remember when the Mets first signed Willie Randolph to be manager back when I still listened to Mike and the Mad Dog every day. Mike Francesa repeated a joke that Billy Crystal made at some Yankees fan function to the effect that Willie leaving the Yankees for the Mets was like going to bed with Pamela Anderson and waking up with Louis Anderson. Francesa thought the line was so witty he must have brought it up about a dozen times. Maybe that's why it popped into my mind Saturday night that Louis was looking pretty damned good all of a sudden. I'm not above feeling a little sense of revenge.

For most of the local media, it will continue to be about the Yankees, and that's honestly fine with me. We Mets fans have had it jammed down our throats for so long that our team isn't the Yankees, I can't help but find it insincere and even hypocritical when one of the local columnists sings the praises of the Mets -- especially the ones who have had their nose buried so deeply into Yankees posteriors for so long. It's not as if you receive any more wins when you earn the dubious love of the pundits -- if you don't believe that, ask the Dodgers.

The bottom line is that I don't waste much of my time being hung up on the Yankees, and frankly, that's something I'm proud of. It wasn't always this way, I remember back in my twenties I had much more loathing for that corporation in the Bronx. A funny memory, although it didn't seem quite as hilarious at the time, was the somewhat clueless girlfriend that gave me a t-shirt as a gift to honor my fondness for a team that played baseball in New York. Unfortunately, she had purchased a navy blue shirt with the white Yankees NY logo on it. I freely admit that I was rather outraged at first, but I was smart enough to appreciate the thought behind the gift and realize that she meant well. Patiently, I explained the difference between the Yankees and the Mets. Her take was that, since the Yankees were better at that time, I should switch my allegiance and keep the shirt. I just smiled, decided to be an adult and let the thing go, not arguing with her any further. I was proud of my new-found maturity. Later on to celebrate, I ate her liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

This maturity level has only grown over the years, to the point which you don't find me gloating about the Yankees in this space. I'm just as happy to let all of the silly controversies pass me by. Next spring, if the Yankees closer wants to come into games playing the music that Billy Wagner has been using for much longer than he has, so be it. Live and let live, that's my motto.

Faith and Fear in Flushing: More Mets and Yankees
I enjoyed Greg's thoughtful piece from yesterday on the whole Mets fan/Yankees fan thing.

New York Times: Oliver Perez
If you missed it yesterday, I thought Murray Chass' story on Perez was terrific in both informing us on the kid himself and the manner in which Rick Peterson works with pitchers.

More Mets Stories:
SportsSpyder Mets

Continuous Mets Coverage:
Hot Foot

Comments (12)

Agree with you regarding the Yankees. Most of the time they barely register on my radar.

But I do wonder when some new sports talk radio effort will come along to supplant those two certain idiots on WFAN. There's a big old market not being served, which usually spells opportunity. So where is it?

I think ESPN 1050 had a golden opportunity. The door was wide open for him. Too bad the best they could come up with was Michael Kay.

Let me apologize to all in advance for my redundant repetitiveness, since I know a lot of your readers overlap with those of FAFIF. But your post today dovetails so nicely with an idea I posted over there while watching the first inning of Saturday's clincher. And let me say, I'm trying it, and it's working. Here goes:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Attention all Mets fans! Attention all Mets fans!

Let me propose that whatever happens between now and the end of this post-season, we join together in the following loving tribute to our vanquished crosstown brethren.

When you, in your Mets cap (as I'm sure you'll all be wearing as often as possible this October), happen upon a fellow sports fan wearing anything with the "YN" Bronx logo on it, please do the following.

Don't gloat; don't argue; don't do the "in your face" dance. Simply look at them and smile. Make eye contact with them and smile for as long as possible.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I'm making new friends wherever I go doing this; not the Yankee fans, that is, but all the people who watch me put this Gandhi-like hex upon them. Here in the South (though Florida is really too far south to be considered "the South"), there are Northerners, and there are Damn Northerners. Mets fans are usually classified as the latter. This week, I've found this to be untrue, in no small part due to the $975 million dollar breakdown in the Bronx (that's the combined payrolls of the 2001-2006 Yankees, with nothing to show for it).

The best revenge is winning.

NostraDennis - your maturity and equanimity is to be commended.

Awww, shucks...thanks, Mike. You're makin' me blush...

Hi Mike- I had company over the weekend so I just had a chance to catch up on your site- excellent piece once again.
Although I am a Yankee hater, I'm not all that vocal about it. I hated them more years ago, now I think I just don't care about them either way. I think what bothers me is that the Yankee fans have gotten spoiled over their past history-especially the last 10 years,
They EXPECT to go to the World Series and win and anything less poor Joe Torre's life hangs in the balance. Where as a met fan is simply thrilled that our team has made it this far, and they were happy last season that the team was above .500 and not an embarrassment.
For me thats what makes it fun being a Mets fan, our team gives us a thrill, or an upset-what have you but there is always emotion behind it, instead of a well oiled Yankee Play Off Robot-where if they won the ALDS it probably would not have been a big deal to them-it's old hat, and thats sad because you lose the exhuberance of the game and don't enjoy the fun of October baseball.

Hi Shari - That's why I don't agree with some Mets fans who want the Mets to copy the Yankees and spend tons of money buying superstars. I'd like to see the Mets continue to be a real alternative to the Yankees, with a lot of home-grown players even if it means we can't be in the World Series every year.

Hi Mike- I defintiely agree, as I have been saying I love seeing the progression from laughing stocks in 2004, to hey, they're not bad last year to this season. I didn't think they would pull off the NLDS no less sweep it, for Met fans that was thrilling-to a Yankee fan it's the way it should be-and to prove your point, who was one of the big heroes in this series-not Beltran-ENDY CHAVEZ, along with Wright, Delgado, Glavine, Maine and the bullpen guys, Mota, Heilman, Bradford, Feliciano and yes even my favorite Billy "Wanker". It was a collective effort. What the Yankees and their fans forgot-those teams from 1996-2000 were comprised of everyday solid good ball players, not high priced superstars. The Yankees seem to be going back to the 80s-the Dave Winfield years when they had a lot of high paid talent and nothing to show for it.

That's why I read you every day, Shari, you just "get it".

You all say it better than I can, all I can say is Amen.

Well, you are uniquely qualified to say "Amen" better than most...

Same here Mike-thats why I read you everyday too........ : )

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