Are You a Bad Mets Fan?

A loyal reader of MetsToday emailed this morning with this question:

Joe, I did something last night that I never did before. Usually, I stay up till the last out of the game — even for these west coast trips. And when I go to Shea, I NEVER leave early — no matter the score, the rain, whatever. But last night after Kuo hit the third homerun, I packed it in and went to bed. Does this make me a bad Mets fan?

— (name withheld)

Rather than answer this fan directly, I will instead address the question publicly, because no doubt there have been other Mets fans catching their zzzz’s by 10:30 last night.

The answer is a big, loud, NO — you are NOT a bad Mets fan for hitting the sack after the second inning.

Normally, I’d say a fan is not a fan if he/she is bailing on their team before the last out — that would be called a “spectator”, not a “fanatic”. Leaving a baseball game before the ninth is akin to leaving a movie 15 minutes before the end — the story isn’t over, and you most likely will miss the best part.

Any Mets fan who lived through Game Six of the 1986 World Series (I mean the first time, not one of the several thousand times the repeat was played on SNY) knows you CAN’T give up on the Mets before they get their “last licks”. After all, you have giddy memories of NBC announcing that Marty Barrett was named the World Series MVP, just as Calvin Schiraldi was soiling his shorts. You have the vision of the Shea Stadium scoreboard stating “Congratulations Red Sox – 1986 World Champions” ingrained in your head. Then you see the Gary Carter two-out single, then Kevin Mitchell’s, then Ray Knight’s … you know the story. After witnessing that game first-hand — and the NLCS against the Astros the week before — Mets fans were permanently conditioned to remain in front of the TV set, or plastered to their stadium seat, until that final out was executed.

However, that conditioning gets jarred now and then. The Art Howe Era had a lot to do with breaking our collective spirit. In the last two years, though, the inability to stop watching returned as these “new” Mets — assembled by Omar Minaya and guided by Willie Randolph — in many ways resemble the “old” Mets. Maybe they’re not as brazen, or as intimidating, but today’s Mets had a lot in common with their ’86 brethren — they played as a team, they played hard, they played the game right.

But something’s happened recently, because the Mets are not playing the game hard nor right. Not everyone is sacrificing themselves for the good of the team. Not everyone is accepting and executing their role with the end goal in mind. Part of that is pressing — trying to do too much. But there’s another issue that is much more concerning: many players are mentally and emotionally quitting when the going gets tough.

The Mets quit on us last night in the second inning. You could read it on their faces and in their body language. And it’s not the first time it’s happened in the last two weeks.

That said, when your team quits on you, you as a fan have every right to quit on them. There is no reason for you to lose sleep while the zombies in Mets uniforms disgrace themselves at ungodly hours on the left coast. It’s only one night, and they’ll be back on the right coast in a few days — to play the Yankees. Which is why you need to get your rest now.

This coming weekend will be a whole new ballgame, and you should fully expect the “real” Mets to return — spitting fire and brimstone in the Bronx.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.