How far have your juggernaut, dynasty-in-the-making New York Mets fallen? So far that we can't even be patronized properly.
Last March, I shared with you a delightful piece of junk mail from the Danbury Mint, one that sucked us to up the way we should be sucked up to. It went like this:
When the greatest sports franchises are counted, the New York Mets are always at the top of the list.
Obviously, it would have to have been one of us doing the counting, but I liked the tone and the implication. The Mets were great, we were great, everything was great…buy an end table.
One historic collapse later, the newest pitch from Danbury indicates we are not great anymore. We are something else, according to the current come-on for the exact same pricey Sheacentric tchotchke:
The New York Mets are one of the most beloved franchises in all of sports.
We are beloved — not great, but beloved. We've also been downgraded from “one of the most successful teams in all of sports” to “one of the most storied teams in Major League Baseball history”…of course to properly express the most recent chapter of that story, you would be advised to place your hands over your children's ears.
As much as I love the New York Mets in the institutional sense, I don't want anybody to call us beloved. I want us to be feared, loathed, resented, envied. Call us Bad Guys if you must, as long as the Bad Guys Win again in my lifetime.
But no. We're beloved. We're chums. Or, to speak in homonym, we were chum to the Marlins. And chumps for the Phillies. And churned by the Nationals. We choked that lead of a quantity so familiar in a time frame so ingrained to memory that it's no longer necessary to specify either the quantity or the time frame. So if we want to be sold that end table that we still do not need (yet is still pretty sharp), we will not be romanced with word of how handsome and powerful we are; we are instead informed that we are the fans whose team other teams rub the heads of for luck.
The Mets are beloved? That strikes me as code for “the Mets are lovable losers,” which expired as an operative phrase around here by 1965 at the latest. Losing rarely makes you lovable, not when it is done frequently, not when it is committed at a crucial juncture, not as you were stashing your playoff tickets in your wallet.
The smoldering wreckage of September 2007 is still visible in my rearview mirror. There is nothing in particular to look forward to, save perhaps for engaging the services of Yorvit Torrealba. Thus, I have to ask the Danbury Mint:
What's to belove?