- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

Seven Years, Eight Wishes

Seven years ago today, the blog for Mets fans who like to read was born [1]. Thanks to all who have read along with Faith and Fear in Flushing since its founding on February 16, 2005, no matter what condition the Mets’ condition’s been in at any given juncture between then and now.

To mark the occasion, I’m gonna make seven blog-birthday wishes and maybe an eighth to grow on. I’ll skip the 2012 world championship since my wishing won’t make it so. But maybe a few sincerely chosen words offered in this space might make a difference here and there.

1) Live and let live a little. Make your Mets case as you will across the marvelous spectrum of media available to us. But don’t begrudge your fellow fans their fury or their fun. We all agree we like the Mets as a going entity. Where we take our opinions from there is up to each and every one of us. Express yours, but don’t think you’re going to negate others’ by shouting or hashtagging them into submission. Everybody just grows louder and crankier when absolutism and obstinacy set in. Preserve lungs. Seek hearts. Change minds, perhaps.

2) See it another way. Best mind to change? Your own, at least once this year. Alter a worldview the way you might bring a pair of slacks to the tailor at your local dry cleaner. Maybe your dearly held assumption about a player or an owner or an announcer or whoever isn’t 100% right. Nothing wrong with being, say, 95% accurate now and giving yourself some wiggle room down the road.

3) Don’t boycott what you love. My tenth-grade social studies teacher learned I was a Mets fan. I’m a Mets fan, too, he told me, but I hope they lose every game they play this year. HUH? I gasped. The year was 1979, the depths of de Roulet, and he wanted the team sold ASAP. I got it but I couldn’t quite go with so draconian a solution. (The Mets were kind enough to forge a middle ground, losing merely 99 times and only then going on the market.) In that vein, I get the notion that an inoccupation of Citi Field theoretically speeds along certain transactions that may seem necessary in light of where the franchise has undeniably gone awry…but why wholly deprive yourself in the interim? Don’t want to overly support the Mets? You can curb your habit, I suppose. Yet you’re not sitting there rubbing your hands together over news of the veritable swallows returning to Port St. Capistrano only to turn your nose up if someone asks you to go to a game in 2012. I never try to spend anybody else’s money, but I’d advise investing in at least one game this season. Why? Because when the season ends, there won’t be any more for another six months.

4) The Mets are fun even if their record isn’t. I loved this article by Adam Rubin [2] about @JedSmed and the Mets Twitter hashtag of the day. I had no idea concepts like #MetsMafiaNicknames emanated from somebody specific. I just saw a mob of them being Tweeted and jumped in. So have a lot of other people — Mets fans, mostly. It’s generally brilliant, 140-character fun if not always flattering to the state of the Mets. So what? I love the Mets yet have been laughing at/with them whenever they’ve deserved it all my life — including in tenth grade social studies, if memory serves. The figurative terrorists won’t win because you acknowledge the Mets’ prevailing tendency toward imperfection. Their laudable qualities will eventually shine through, even if they’re harder to detect at this moment, even if they have yet to regenerate in full. When they do, it’s all we’ll be talking about. Until then, as Seth Berkman noted in the New Yorker, plenty of high-profile people who love the Mets (and at least one fan of much less renown [3]) don’t fear their inherently amusin’/Amazin’ nature. Faith should always trump fear here [3].

5) Negative is just what you used to get with your pictures. Springtime is the season of the true believer, which is as it should be. You’re a Mets fan, you should be as optimistic as you wanna be. But don’t wield your sunny side like a cudgel at those you perceive as “negative”. Does the net perception of the Mets, seven weeks from Opening Day merit an outlook overwhelmingly sanguine? We can quibble over the particulars, yet it’s not surprising forecasts veer to the mostly cloudy. Three consecutive sub-.500 seasons, an incredibly uncertain ownership situation, a slashed payroll, the deletion of the team’s most outstanding player, no camera-ready hot prospects, crossed fingers over recovering shoulders and ankles…damn right it’s not a positive scenario. Yet what a great story it will be if the Mets surpass their modest expectations. I’m not optimistic that will occur in 2012, but that doesn’t make me negative toward the Mets. I’m prepared to be uplifted from the waters of pessimism as contrary proof materializes. And if it doesn’t? The Mets’ll still be fun, somehow. I like being a Mets fan too much to be turned off by something as pedestrian as a fourth consecutive sub-.500 season. If this springtime doesn’t lead anywhere, I hear they’ll have another one next year. My true belief will be intact.

6) If you can’t beat them, don’t enjoin them. When this blog began, I was — as I’d been for as long as I’d had nothing else to lean on for Mets information and insight — extraordinarily sensitive to what beat writers and columnists wrote about the Mets. They set the agenda for how we as a people thought about the Mets on a daily basis and I saw as one of my charges correcting the record [4] when I thought something inane or worse was written. I don’t much care what beat writers and columnists write, blog or Tweet these days save for the information and (hopefully) insight they bring me from their unique vantage point. There are just too many sources for Mets thoughts of which to avail myself. If I read a good story by a writer paid to write it, I like to let you know. If I read a good story by a writer whose labor is, like mine almost all of the time, derived from love (per Patsy from Ab Fab, “of course they don’t pay me; you can’t put a price on what I do”), I try to mention it, too. The stuff that’s awful? The stuff that exacerbates my recurring headaches? The stuff that gets facts wrong? I try my very best to let it die in the shadows. Why publicize what I don’t recommend? Why stress over it, either? I’ve got some absolutely fabulous bookmarks to go with whatever still works on our mostly dormant sidebar. You probably do, too.

7) Everybody is people. From what I’ve been able to ascertain in my blogging travels, nobody is as venal or calculating as you’re willing to assume. Nobody’s really an idiot. Nobody’s out to sink the ship from within or without. The Mets attract good people to their cause, no matter the results or the commentary they produce. It’s easy to make assumptions about people you don’t know. It’s also folly. I’d urge one and all determined to reach conclusions regarding motives to think before typing. You might be surprised to discover people who take actions or positions you don’t embrace aren’t bad people. If you’re really interested in their motives, just ask them.

And one to grow on: Let’s Go Mets. Can’t be said enough.

Congratulations to Howard Megdal and the Mets on reaching accord [5]so he will continue to be credentialed to cover them in 2012 as he’s been in the past. Readers of his work at LoHud Mets Blog and other venues come out the real winners from his quest to maintain optimal access.