By Mike Steffanos
Years ago I worked the night shift in a large plant that employed hundreds of workers, both male and female. As often happens when you throw a lot of men and women together working odd hours, there were enough relationships and affairs going on to fuel the plot needs of a soap opera.
I remember walking out of the break room with a female friend of mine as one of the plant's more infamous couples were walking in. By the look on their faces, you could tell they were fighting yet again. My friend looked at me, shook her head, and just said, "crazy love." I knew exactly what she meant.
We've all been through it, or at least were a witness to it -- the kind of love that takes you from the heights of ecstasy to pure misery and back again in an endless, dizzying cycle. At first the highs are many and the lows are few. By the end of the cycle the things that once delighted you about each other are but a faded dream that you cling to until you can't even remember what they were anymore.
In a way, that's what some Mets fans seem to be experiencing with the orange and blue object of their affections. I was shocked by the amount of anger and tension that was in the stadium Saturday. It was my first trip to Shea in 2008, and it's going to be a long year if this is what we see all season.
I do agree with those who made the point about how the Mets played a part in the alienation of the fan base. One common complaint is how they've been jerking around the partial season ticket holders since Citi field broke ground.
Jeff Wilpon and others are giving interviews crowing about how the demand for Mets tickets at a much smaller park will benefit the Mets as a business. That's correct -- the smaller supply will drive up demand and make it much easier for the Mets to sell their tickets.
Of course, Wilpon and company are absolutely deaf to the fears of those who have supported the Mets for years and are afraid of being shut out next season. Then they raise prices substantially following last season's awful collapse, proving again just how out of step the Mets as an organization are with their fans.
I can't tell you how many times in the past few days I have heard some version of that from fans. Along with the general frustration and disappointment from the collapse, anger with specific players for their failure to produce and their failure to show the same anger as many fans feel about last fall, the Mets organization's seeming disregard to the concerns of their fans fuels the flames of discontent.
This love/hate relationship that a substantial number of Mets fans have with their team right now reminds me a lot of that old crazy love -- without all of the inspired desperation sex, unfortunately.
The larger problem is that these mixed feelings contribute to the tension and lack of true support at Shea right now. The anger and apprehension negate any home field advantage to the point where the Mets seem looser and more together on the road. If it continues all summer it will work against what all of us want -- a winning team.
Moreover, these showers of frustrated boos that are waiting to be unleashed at any player for failing to produce at a given moment are noticed by those around the league. That free agent that you covet in the off-season might decide that, all things being equal, he'd rather play somewhere else.
Such is the "logic" of crazy love, in that it always seems to work against what truly would be the desire of both parties. That's why it usually dies out, to borrow the words of T.S. Eliot, not with a bang but with a whimper.
My hope for any alienated fans is that you can find a way to reconcile your frustrations with your love of this team. After all, rooting for a team is supposed to be fun. Thus far for the Mets and their fans, this season has provided little enjoyment.