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We Now Pause For a Moment of Sanity

Mike SteffanosWednesday, October 18, 2006
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?

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Comments (9)

Regarding your last paragraph: I agree wholeheartedly with all of it except the "More commercials means more revenues" bit.

The endless gimmicks and ad-in's sap the suspense from all but the most exciting playoff games. How the hell wants to spend 4 hours on an event that should take perhaps two and one half hours? Don't tell me that doesn't have a negative effect on the price of an ad spot.

A while back Bill James pointed out the obvious on this matter: fewer commercial minutes available, for a better product (which the games would be if the pase was more brisk) would result in higher per-minute prices. The only loser might possibly be the networks who would have to find something else to view sooner; but another Andy Griffin rerun would be a small price to pay for a baseball game treated right.

dd - That's the rest of the point as was making, when I said, "but less people tuning in offsets that, doesn't it?"

Right. (to your response to my earlier comment)

Question: could an ommission that might feed the Mets fan's sense of grievance be seen as a lucky omen, do y'think? Particularly since the ommission in question is sort of funny.

The other day Mike directed us to a piece that ran at SI.com, decrying the pitiful excuse for playoff baseball that the National League fan must endure this year. Exhibit One was the matchup between Antony Reyes and Oliver Perez, who had about negative three games won between them.

Well, fine; but then there weren't so many big winners in the NL this season, were there? A quick glance at the ESPN Wins leaders shows that the bunch tops out at 16 wins, which is pretty damn odd in itself and probably announces another sea change in pitching patterns or something.

But looking at the list I noticed something: Steve Trachsel wasn't on the list. Sure we all know he was rotten, but he DID get credited with 15 wins; he sure should be on that list tied for second place next to Tom Glavine. Noting that, my thoughts went back to my older sister, who dropped out of high school, got married and had a kid, then went back and was validictorian at her school -- or would have been if they had gone strictly by grade point average. But she did not get to make that speech; they found a more suitable candidate. I wonder, is the National League ashamed of Steve Trachsel's won/loss record?

ps: Quoting from memory, the league batted .288/.365/455 against Trachsel. More or less as if every hitter he faced was Ryan Zimmerman.

I have so many problems with FOX, but one that you didn't mention was their almost constant self-promotion. Between every batter, we're reminded about the next FOX broadcast of the postseason. And that's it's our "duty, Judy." Can we just watch the game that's being played, for cryin' out loud?

What drives me crazy about the fox Broadcast is the 2 main guys both have strong Cardinals roots!! Can't we Mets fans get some equality?

As much as it pains me to say this, I am actually looking forward to watching Playoff games on TBS. From what I have been reading they are trying to be less Braves and more 30 teams

dd - I think I'll take any lucky omen we can find. BTW, can your sister pitch?
C Dubb - It's like they think everyone in the audience has ADD. I hate all that and more about their telecast, but didn't feel like spending too many words on FOX.
mrmet82 - They gave us Steve Lyons for the NLDS, and he works for the Dodgers. Obviously they don't care about that. I'm with you on TBS. They can't possibly be worse.

Aside from the wanker Joe Buck, his insipidly stupid "I know New York" comments (you don't, Joe), and the shameless self-promotion of Fox and the longer advertising breaks, the guys in the control truck keep screwing up!

Since the off-season began, I've counted at last four times when the director missed switching back to the on-field action and missed pitches! In fact, they missed almost an entire David Wright AB after Delgado crushed his homerun in game 4 (I think it was game 4). Never knew you could strike out on one pitch! Fox baseball coverage stinks from a technical aspect.

And as far as the booth is concerned, give me Joe Morgan and John Miller, Keith and Howie Rose, hell, I'll take Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy (I live up north these days). I do like McCarver, though, most of the time.

Anyway, keep the faith. It's time for more magic in Queens.

JG - I liked McCarver more a few years ago, but that's just me.

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