By Joyce Mandelkern
If Mike will indulge me, there is something I need to come clean about.
My name is Joyce and I am a Yankee hater. There. I said it for all of you to hear and know. This statement will come of absolutely no surprise at all to those of you who know me personally, although I do try to keep my feelings under control unless provoked. And therein the problem lies. I get provoked. Often and easily. And that is why I am not allowed to attend this weekend's Met series at Shea. It is for security reasons. Not mine, but everyone else's. And just for the record, this is not by order of the Mets, it is by order of my family. I think they live in fear of having to defend me if I get into a verbal altercation with a fan from the dark side who decides to get physical. I have assured everyone that I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself, but they worry. I admit, when it comes to my Mets, and my disdain of the Yankees, I may tend to be a bit overzealous, shall we say. It comes from years of having to defend not only my team, but my love of them.
Which brings me to source of my problem - Yankee fans. A very very big problem. This would not be a problem if they would just simply LEAVE ME ALONE!!!! Here's an idea - you worry about your team and I'll worry about mine -deal? I have never seen a fan base so obsessed with another team. And so obsessed with belittling another team's fan base.
Don't believe me? Ok, where to begin. Shea Stadium. On any given night there are quite a few Yankee fans there, decked out in their Yankee regalia for the sole purpose of rooting against the Mets. That is fine, but what I don't understand is, why, for example, on a night when the Mets are playing the Marlins and the Yankees are playing the Red Sox, are there Yankee fans, in head to toe Derek Jeter garb, at my game rooting against my Mets. Shouldn't they be home watching their team play against their biggest division rivals in a crucial game? How true a Yankee fan can you really be, if you are at Shea instead of watching your beloved Yankees play in a important game? I know I would never go to a Yankees vs. Devil Rays game when the Mets were playing the Braves. Well, I would never go to a Yankee game anyway, but you get the point. I am convinced that some Yankee fans get their kicks from irritating Met fans and parading around the concourse or standing up in their seats for no reason at all except to be seen.
I had Yankee fans sitting in the row behind me during game 7 of the NLCS last year. After listening to their comments all game long about Yankee this and Yankee that, and how much better the Yankees are than the Mets, I had had it when they said," it would never rain during a Yankee playoff game." I turned around and said, " Well, if it rained on the Yankees now it would certainly ruin their tee times wouldn't it, because they're not playing any more are they? Now if you can't be supportive could you at least be quiet"? In this same vein, I know Yankee fans who never go to Yankee stadium to see a game, but go to Shea for all the Met -Yankee games. As far as I am concerned, this is for one purpose and one purpose only, to torture Met fans. And by the way, I have suggested to the Mets that they not allow anyone into the stadium wearing Yankee clothes during the Subway Series. Just a thought.
In my neck of the woods there are loads of Yankee fans. Why wouldn't there be? Its easy to be a Yankee fan. Even though they haven't won a World Series since 2000 (I won't even go there), they all seem to think they have. Most Yankee fans I know still consider themselves World Champions. They are arrogant and feel entitled enough to look past the facts and believe that they are still the best team in baseball, although they haven't won an actual World Series in six years. Apparently, that is a minor point to them. They feel they should've won it, and that's really all that counts. They're outraged that they haven't actually won it, like its some inalienable right.
Pete and I recently had to spend 20 minutes convincing a die-hard longtime Yankee fan that the Mets went farther in the post season last year than the Yankees did. This person had conveniently forgotten that the Yankees lost in the first round to Detroit and did not remember that the Mets had played in the NLCS. Amazing. This same fan, a dear friend of ours since we are 12, also called me during Billy Wagner's infamous 9th inning meltdown in game 2 of last year's Subway Series at Shea to harass me. Had I called him the night before when David Wright got the game winning hit off of Rivera? Of course not. Recently, he called me after the Mets struggled in their series with the Marlins and started making fun of how the Mets couldn't beat the lowly Marlins. I shot back, "do you want to discuss which New York team is playing better baseball right now and has a better record?" Why can't he just worry about his team and let me worry about mine? And you want to know why I hate Yankee fans.
Yankee fans also seem to assume that everyone else is a Yankee fan as well. Last year I asked for Pete and I to be removed from our high school newsletter mailing list because the editor signed off "Let's Go Yanks" or whatever there little slogan is on the weekend of the Subway Series. How dare he? I sent him an email saying that we no longer wished to be on the receiving end of his Yankee propaganda which of course prompted a back and forth of heated emails. But I made my point. The whole world does not root for the Yankees.
Then there is my personal favorite: "Do you know what M-E-T-S stands for? My Entire Team Sucks." I get this a lot when I am wearing my Mets clothes. The first time it happened to me last season I was walking down the street wearing my division champions shirt and some guy said it to me and I let him have it. The second time it happened last season was during the NLCS and I had a guy coming to fix my ice maker. He walked in wearing a Yankee cap and looked at me and said, "Oh, you're one of those?" I asked him to clarify what he meant and then he hit me with the requisite M-E-T-S thing and I asked him to leave and not to touch my ice maker, but not before telling him that my entire "sucky" team was still playing while his wasn't. Like I said, I can take care of myself.
Sports talk radio is where everyone "lets it all hang out." You can really tell how much animosity there is between the two fan bases. Last year the Yankee fans made such fun of the Mets for making such a big deal about the 20th anniversary of the 86 World Series Championship. Now I ask you, what business is it of theirs? What difference could it possibly make to them what and how we celebrate? Don't you think they watch us a little bit too closely? They are quick to criticize and degrade us. Why can't they just let us be? Maybe we make them nervous. Could that be it? Hmmmm....
If it were up to me we would never play the Subway Series. It is anxiety producing for someone in my situation who constantly has to listen and answer to Yankee fans. I know there are those of you who find it fun, I 'm just not one of those. Believe it or not, I don't like confrontation. Yes, I want win to win this series, not only for our record, but because I am hoping it will help to keep all those Yankee fans quiet once and for all. Or at the very least force them to admit that we have a good ball club. If we do win the Subway Series I'm willing to bet that what the Yankee fans will say is that they are loaded with injuries so it really doesn't count. We didn't play them at their best. Never mind that we have injuries as well.
I know some of you can't understand what it is like to live with this day in and day out. I could go on and on with examples of what has fueled my intense feelings over the years. Please believe me when I say that this is not sour grapes. I love my Mets through thick and thin and I have always been proud to be a Met fan, whether we are 35 games over .500 or under .500. I have no Yankee envy whatsoever. I am sure not all Yankee fans are as bad as others. I suspect some are even closet Met fans and some say they root for both, which I will never understand. Some are very near and dear to me and we just opt not to discuss baseball, as some people don't discuss politics or religion. We respectfully agree to disagree. Some will wish me luck but I never ever wish them luck in return. I have my principles.
Pete and I have a mixed marriage. I'm a football Giants fan and he's a Jets fan and we've made it work. If he had been a Yankee fan, it would've been a deal breaker.