With the Yankees in the playoffs and the Mets playing golf, I am reminded that, over the years, I’ve met people who are not from New York who just assume that all Mets fans are rooting for the Yankees in the playoffs. These same people would also, I imagine, assume that Yankee fans cheered on the Mets during the Mets’ glory years. Even the Braves’ Chipper Jones once famously told Mets fans to go put on their Yankee gear after the Braves once again beat up the Mets back in the 1990s. Well, let me tell you — nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, there are some people out there with dual loyalties, but they are few and far between. For the most part, the twain absolutely does not meet.
Mets fans are a very different breed from Yankees fans. We look at the world completely differently. We don’t have the same sense of entitlement that Yankee fans do. We have a sense of foreboding instead. We live our lives waiting for the other shoe to drop. If the Mets are winning by a score of 10-0, we don’t feel completely comfortable until the bases are empty and there are 2 outs in the 9th. OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but not by much.
I remember reading Rick Reilly’s column in SI on this subject back in 2000 (right before the Mets and the Yankees met in the World Series). Reilly is not a fan of anything related to New York, but I just love this column:
All in all, I’d say Mets fans seem to relish the honor of winning after years of sweat; of standing by their team because it’s their team, through feast and famine; of wearing their old, frayed Mets hats past all the bandwagons and Senate candidates in the crisp new hats of the easy team to root for, the soulless one, the corporate one.
He says what I’ve said all these years, that rooting for the Yankees doesn’t require an emotional investment. You root for them and they win. Period. End of story. But being a Mets fan does require an emotional investment. It also requires intestinal fortitude and a whole lot of patience.
So I did a Google search for anything else having to do with the differences between Mets fans and Yankee fans. Here are some of the comments I found:
Ask a New Yorker — The two NYC clubs have radically different profiles, and their fans do as well. It’s not as simple as rich team vs. poor team: convicted felon and Yankee owner George Steinbrenner is baseball’s biggest spender and biggest magnet for criticism of deep-pocketed, tsunami-tempered, media-hogging executives, but the Mets regularly have one of the game’s highest payrolls as well. The difference has more to do with history, personalities, and attitude.
The Wall Street Journal — Mets fans had the Yankees fans beat in one telling category: they seem to pay a lot more attention. Not only do they monitor their team’s progress more often and make more bets, they listen to substantially more sports radio (26% to 17%).
Mr. Dawkins, the Mets fan, had a ready explanation: You’d better pay attention, he said, because “you never know when they’re going to win.”
Brandweek — Yankees fans were four times more likely to fold toilet paper rather than crumple it vs. Mets fans, three times more likely to own a cushioned toilet seat and four times more likely to have “the thing in the toilet that makes the water blue.” Almost half (44%) of the Yankees fans have used a skeevy restroom at the Port Authority, compared with only 7% of Mets fans, who were three times more likely to wash their hands after using the bathroom.
All-time favorite Mets include such characters as Marvelous Marv Throneberry, Tug McGraw, Bobby Valentine, George “the Stork” Theodore and Turk Wendell. Yankee fans don’t seem to appreciate characters or any sort of individuality at all. George Steinbrenner was a man who didn’t allow facial hair on his players, except maybe for the occasional mustache. And, speaking of mustaches, Don Mattingly (who will manage the Dodgers, a Mets “ancestor”, next year) is still hugely popular among Yankee fans. He was a terrific player, but not much of a character. Same with Derek Jeter. He’s a fine player, but there’s nothing really memorable about him.
See what I mean? We really are different. I imagine Cubs/White Sox fans would understand, and maybe Giants/A’s or Dodgers/Angels fans would too, but people from cities with only one team don’t seem to get it.