The New York Yankees have finished their season in disgrace, getting swept in four by a Detroit Tigers team that barely scraped its way into October. For weeks now, the Bombers have seemed to be playing with foam bats, and their impotent offense has doomed them to a third successive season without a World Series trophy.
As usual, the New York Post has it dead on. “Dear Yankees!” their front page trumpets. “We don’t date losers!” They sign this little break-up letter, “New Yorkers,” forgetting that millions of New Yorkers who do date losers, who love losers, who are so wrapped up in the joys of losing that the thought of winning year-in, year-out fills them with nauseous dread.
We are called Met fans. And today is our holiday.
Mets Day only comes once a year, and sometimes not at all. It happens sometime in September or October—that magical day when the Yankees and the Mets suddenly have the exact same chance of winning the World Series: 0. Met fans put up with a lot of ribbing from our friends in pinstripes, and though we do our best to gloat back—”We have a cool mascot and a fun song,” “We were good in the ’80s!” “Winning is for jerks!”—it’s mostly sore loser stuff. But one day a year—except for the 27 times the Yanks, y’know, won the World Series—the Mets aren’t the biggest losers in town.
This year’s Mets Day is particularly sweet, and to celebrate it, I dedicate this Duke of Iron classic to the hapless, hitless Yankees. It’s been spitting rain since morning, as though God himself were hocking a loogie on the boys from the Bronx Zoo. As the Big Man knows, the Yankees didn’t just lose—they lost bad. In four games against the Tigers, the Yankees scored six times. That’s all right in soccer, but baseball, as most hardcore sports fans know, isn’t soccer. After a craven loss in game 2, boos rang down from the stands, and the players never recovered from the shock. Because Yankee fans aren’t equipped to deal with disappointment, we now get to enjoy the hideous spectacle of an arrogant franchise devouring itself.
Now that the season is dead and gone, the scapegoating will become focused, with Alex Rodriguez the chief target. There have been rumors of trading him to the Marlins, eating millions of dollars in salary just so they never have to look at him again. This would be a spectacularly bad move and will almost certainly not happen—if Brian Cashman were that dumb, he’d run the Mets—but the Citi Field hopefuls can dream, can’t we?
The Cinderella teams of 2012—the A’s, the Orioles, the Nationals and the Reds—were all knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. Now that Not-The-Yankees will certainly win the World Series, Met fans can turn off the TV. Tomorrow we face down the barrel of a long, grey off-season. The gradual disintegration of the franchise continues, with our only two remaining stars, R.A. Dickey and David Wright, likely to be traded. 2013 will be as bad as 2012, if not worse, and it will be years before success again finds its way to Flushing.
But today, we smile. It is grey, it is raining, it is cold—and the Yankees have blown the pennant.
Happy Mets Day, one and all!