The Price Of Power

For the longest time, Citi Field was a ghost town.  A ruin.  A shell of a stadium.

That was when the Mets were bad.

Well, now they’re good.  And almost too quickly to believe, Citi Field is filling up again.  Tickets are selling, fans are entering in droves, and once again, the Mets have a full audience to play for.

And I thought that was a good thing…until yesterday.

Let’s talk about yesterday, because it deserves some mention – beyond the absolutely dreadful loss of two key players, the Mets won their eighth straight, and completed a sweep of the Marlins.  Taken completely out of context, it was a good game – and indeed, for the people in the stands, it was out of context, as most of the fans didn’t learn of the extent of the injuries to both d’Arnaud and Blevins until after the game.  For fans in the stands yesterday, there was a hell of a time to be had.

Now, I’m not against bandwagon fans in principle.  Here’s what I am against: fans who come out to a ballgame as if it was some kind of fun activity like going out for coffee, as opposed to something that a substantial number of people really care about.  Fans who go to Citi Field because they’ve heard the name “Matt Harvey” bantered about recently and they wanted to see him, then lose interest after Matt runs out of gas, and start doing whatever they want in the stands to entertain themselves.

Now, here’s something else that may surprise you: I’m not against the wave, in itself.  In the sixth inning of a 10-1 loss, it’s something for the crowd to do to keep occupied.  Anyone who’s still at the game at that point is a fan; you can do the wave if you want.  However, here’s something I am against: a crowd, composed mostly of people whose idea of baseball knowledge is knowing that the Mets and the other team keep taking turns on the field, starting the wave around the fifth, keeping it up pretty much nonstop until the ninth, and complaining mightily when one section – mine – decided, stubbornly, not to oblige them.

Here’s a message to the fans in section 529, and in particular, the two drunk-looking guys who stood for almost the entire second half of the game, yelling over at our section, making rude gestures, and generally communicating the concept that anyone who doesn’t do the wave is not cool enough for them: it’s a baseball game.  It was a hell of a game, too.  A one run game, going to the ninth.  You call yourself a fan?  You’re getting excited that the Mets are suddenly winning?  Well then, here’s the first step to being a real fan: when Alex Torres enters the game in the eighth with two outs and the tying and go-ahead runs on base, you don’t do the wave.  Honestly, it’s just not the time.  You know what else you don’t do?  You don’t A) start the wave, then B) literally start booing the section that stopped it (louder than anyone booed any Marlins players, I might add).  You are at a baseball stadium, watching a baseball game.  You are not coaching a wave-doing team, and continuing to attempt to start the wave, while Alex Torres is LITERALLY ONE PITCH FROM GETTING OUT OF THE EIGHTH, is absolutely asinine.  You know what fans do?  When a pitcher gets a strikeout to end a key inning, they cheer loudly.  Here’s what fans do not do: fans do not fail to notice that a pitcher has ended an inning with a key strikeout because they were too occupied with chastising another section for not doing the wave.  You’re at a baseball game.  If you don’t want to watch, that’s fine.  Just keep to yourself.  But know this: some people are real Mets fans.  When they go to Citi Field, here’s what they want to do (I can imagine how hard this may be to comprehend, at a baseball stadium) – they want to watch a baseball game.  And literally booing an entire section while Alex Torres is working his heart out and ultimately succeeding to get the Mets to the ninth is not something that “real” fans do.

And one more thing, to all the people who went to the park to see Matt Harvey and lost interest around the fourth inning: there are very, VERY specific times that it is okay to boo a Met.  Here they are, for the most part: you can boo a Met if he has displayed a lack of interest and effort for a prolonged period, then fails at an important moment of the game.  That’s it.  You do not boo a player who is out on the field, working his hardest to get the outs that his team – our team – needs.  In the eighth inning, a group of fans – led, it barely need be said, by the same drunk guys who booed a section for not doing the wave – decided that the game was going too slowly.  Never mind that Buddy Carlyle was on the mound, working his hardest to retire the Marlins: this group of fans, who just NEED you to know how cool they are, decided that Carlyle was not working quickly enough for them. So they decided to boo him.  That’s right: a Mets crowd booed a Mets pitcher, working in a jam and trying to maintain a lead, for stepping off the rubber.

Another message to people who plan on attending a Mets game in the near future: when a pitcher is working out of a jam and trying to contain an opposing offense, you do not boo him for taking a few seconds too long.  This should not even need to be said; apparently, the stands yesterday were filled with people who had been promised a Matt Harvey complete game, because as soon as Matt left, and the game took on a normal baseball pace, these people completely lost interest.  Yeah, you’re great fans, absolutely tuning out of a game after your starter leaves in the seventh.  But back to the point: you DO NOT boo a Met for making the game go, in your most probably incorrect opinion, too slow.  If you want to boo a visiting pitcher who makes several pickoff throws in succession, go ahead.  But don’t do it to a Met.  You look like a bigger idiot than M. Donald Grant.

So you know what?  It’s great that Citi Field is selling out once again.  But I hope, for the sake of those Mets fans who actually care about what the Mets do, that fans like this lose interest quickly.

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