By Mike Steffanos
As you could probably tell, I'm a pretty big Mets fan. My 72-year-old Mom, however, makes me seem like a dilettante in comparison. She's not a fan that would be classified as cerebral by any stretch of the imagination; she simply roots for the Mets with raw emotion and heart. I usually call her after Mets wins to share a mother-son gloat, but I gave her a call last night about 45 minutes after the game ended because I knew she would be in rough shape. Sure enough, she was crying over the dreary outcome. We talked for a while, which I'm sure helped a little, but knowing my Mom she had trouble getting any sleep last night. Hey, just another thing to hold against La Russa and company.
Still, by the end of our call my Mom was telling me how much she believed we could still come back, and trying to cheer me up. After I hung up, I had to smile despite my disappointment. This is a franchise that is down much more than it is up, yet if there is one common denominator among Mets fans, it is their unswerving belief that their team can somehow find the magic to bounce back from the brink of disaster. As a whole, we're generally a fairly pessimistic group, but not when our back is to the wall. Mets fans are certainly not perfect, and we feel no need to anoint ourselves as the "best fans in the world," but what I love about Mets fans is our ability to hope.
Almost all of you reading these words are far more than just casual fans. We climb aboard the exhausting marathon of a baseball season from the beginning of April and faithfully stay until the last out has been recorded. Our reward in most years is disappointment, but we haven't quit on the team yet and we won't now. It's as simple as that.
A love note to FOX
Much has been made of how low the playoff ratings are this year. Since this is the first time the Mets have made the playoffs in 6 years, I'm watching much, much more of the telecasts than I have since 2000. All I can say is that at some level, FOX has themselves to blame. Instead of talking to the viewer, they bombard us with mini-features and graphics that impart a frenetic video game type of feel to the telecast. Frankly, I'm exhausted and disgusted by the whole experience.
After a season of watching SNY, which managed to get a lot of things right, it's a stark comparison. Gary, Keith and Ron do a good job of entertaining and informing while allowing the game to be the star. You get the idea while watching FOX telecasts that they don't have that same faith in the game of baseball as they desperately try to reach out to attract a few more casual fans at the expense of real baseball fans. Even the longer commercial breaks break baseball's natural flow and make the game seem more disjointed. Sure, more commercials mean more revenue, but less people tuning in offsets that, doesn't it?