Since Squawker Jon is very busy with a real-life work project, there hasn’t been much Mets Squawking in this blog lately. Heck, we’ve had more “Mad Men” talk lately than Mets talk! (Speaking of which, click here to hear a drunken Don Draper sing “Meet the Mets.” If I were in charge of the Yankees big-screen entertainment, I would have that clip played at the next Subway Series in Yankee Stadium! )
Anyhow, I wanted to talk about something one of the officers in my running club wrote a while back, because it relates to the reason for this blog: Mets fans vs. Yankees fans! Josh is a fellow blogger and a cool person, even if he is a Mets fan. And he has a theory about New York baseball fandom as it relates to runners. His theory is that most New York runners will choose the Mets over the Yankees. He bases this on the fact that “while the Yankees have an illustrious history of being the winningest team in baseball, the Mets don’t.” So he writes the following:
Now if you consider the average runner as he is compared to all the other runners on a bell curve which includes the slowest and fastest runners in a race, he is most likely a middle-of-the-pack runner if not slower. He or she is very unlikely to win anything at the end of a race except maybe a chance to break their own personal record. This experience of continually “losing” races and trying to overcome a physical challenge naturally builds an underdog mentality in many runners. The NY Mets have often been associated as the underdog team, so many runners can relate to them more than the Yankees.
Josh's theory also relates to the idea that hope springs eternal each year, both for runners and for Mets fans.
“Since many runners are middle-of-the-pack runners or slower, every new year represents a chance for them to do better and to break pr’s; in their point-of-view, to win. This high level of personal optimism as runners gets transferred to a renewed optimism each year in a team that they can relate to with all their failed seasons that makes them feel that they are due for a long-awaited win.”
Long story short, Josh did some analytics here, surveying New York runners, and then surveying a control group. While the majority in both groups preferred the Yankees to the Mets, the runners did actually have a pretty healthy margin of Mets fans – 41% -- to the control group of non-runners, which only had 12.5% percent Mets fans. You can read the entire piece here.
This blog post confirms for me that everything is a matter of perspective. You see, the people in my running club seem to be very fast to me. Heck, Josh was a pacer for the Brooklyn Half-Marathon for those people running the race in two hours, and has run half-marathons on his own even faster than that. While I have improved a lot as a runner over the last year or so, I am still in the back of the pack. And the only way I am ever going to run a half-marathon in even two hours any time soon is if I take a cab from the starting line to Mile 5 or so in the race!
So if *these* runners have an “underdog mentality” and root for the Mets, what does that make me? A Toledo Mud Hens fan? Or perhaps the club below is really the team that matches up to my current running skills.
Perspective is everything, and I have to keep on reminding myself when it comes to running to be the best I can be, and not focus on how I compare with others. However, in baseball, how you do against others is what is important. But even then, perspectives are different. My Houston Astros fan friends seem to be absolutely stunned that their team is still in first place, with the best record in the American League.
And the Mets still have a better record than the Yankees this year, but you wouldn’t know it from the trash talk (or lack thereof) usually emanating from Flushing when the Mets are doing well.
As for Yankeeland, the Bronx Bombers may have just swept Kansas City, and may be back in first place, but many Yankee fans, including myself, are still anxious about this season. With good reason!
And here is my perspective. I want the Mets to make the postseason, and I of course want the Yankees to make the postseason. My own perspective is focused on this blog, and both teams being successful will be good for the Squawkers! Yes, I am a solipsist here. So sue me.