Mike's Mets

Friday, February 03, 2006

Why is the Mets' own network ashamed of the Mets?

The above title is the $64,000 question for today:

Sports Illustrated: What will SNY be?
I really was just going to ignore this article. Alex Belth, who is a Yankee Blogger, is a fairly promising young baseball writer, but not when it comes to putting aside the typical obnoxious Yankee fan's superiority complex and writing objectively about the Mets. I found this article full of childish little shots at the Mets. This paragraph tells you all you need to know about Belth's "objectivity":

But for all the endearing moments the Mets have enjoyed in their relatively brief history, can you imagine a "Metography" on Jerry Grote or Skip Lockwood, Marv Throneberry or Pat Zachry? The team's history is littered with players who went on to greater success elsewhere -- Nolan Ryan, Amos Otis, Ken Singleton and Jeff Kent, to name a few. Heck, even their golden child, Doc Gooden, went on to pitch a no-hitter for the crosstown rivals, winning two championships in the Bronx (along with Darryl Strawberry) to boot. After Tom Seaver, Ed Kranepool and a handful of others, there isn't much to lionize over the course of a full hour. What are they going to feature? The Art Shamsky Report, Late Night with Ron Swoboda, Fly Fishing with Kevin McReynolds, and Hot Dog Highlights starring Willie Montanez and Lenny Dykstra?

Funny how Yankee fans always feel the need to point out that Gooden and Strawberry spent their twilight years in the Bronx, as if somehow this robs Met fans of what these two once represented. Judging by his picture, Mr. Belth was in diapers when Doc and Darryl were truly great (and truly Mets), not the shadows (especially Doc) that he witnessed in the Bronx. Actually, if the maturity level shown in this article is any indication, that time in diapers probably dragged on a couple of extra years.

If you get past Alex' immature need to put down the Mets and my equally immature need to retaliate, you are left with some interesting questions.

What's wrong with a biography of Marv Throneberry or Jerry Grote? In their own ways, they contributed a lot to what the Mets are, and fans a few years younger than I am don't know who they are. I could think of many candidates whose stories should be told: Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Tug McGraw, Lee Mazzilli, Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, Wally Backman, Doc, Darryl, Ron Darling... I could go on and on. None of these men spent their entire career with the Mets, but they were all important to Mets history. Some were great players, some not so much. Yankee fans are obsessed with greatness; Mets fans have a different, more human take.

If you ever see YES network's programming when a game isn't on, you see a lot of garbage. For every Yankeeography narrated in John Sterling's pseudo-dramatic style, there are 100 infomercials, a dozen reruns of the Ultimate Road Trip, a couple of Boston vs. NY Poker Challenges and a Michael Kay CenterStage with Donny Most.

If YES network is guilty of bad programming and a somewhat haughty infatuation with Yankee greatness, that's their deal. The bigger question for Mets fans is why SNY -- owned in good part by Fred Wilpon and the Mets -- seems to be bending over so far backwards to not be the Mets network, almost to the point of being ashamed of the team whose games will be the centerpiece of the new network.

They're so concerned with having a network that appeals to non-Met fans, it's starting to offend actual Met fans. We wonder what is going to be in this for us, especially since we will form the backbone of viewership for SNY. Hell, my local Connecticut cable system wasn't even aware of SNY when I called to find out if they will carry the new network. I'll probably have to go through the hassle of switching to satellite -- and other than Mets games, what will my reward be?

Only Mr. Wilpon and the Mets could start a new network and shortchange their own fans in the process. Maybe if we speak up enough, Mets fans can effectively take back our own network.

[Since I like to be fair, I consider this article by Alex Belth on the 30th anniversary of free agency one of the best baseball articles I've read all year, and I'd be interested in reading his Curt Flood biography when it comes out.]

MLB.com: Anderson Hernandez shines in Caribbean series opener
Jesse Sanchez reports that Mets 2B prospect Anderson Hernandez drove in the winning run with a single in the top of the 11th inning as his Dominican Republic team defeated Puerto Rico's 5-4. Hernandez wound up 4-6 in the game with an RBI and 2 runs scored. Hernandez was understandably happy after the game:

To get four hits and get the game-winning hit is unbelievable. This is a short series and we can do it. Like they say, 'Those who win have the most fun.' I'm happy we won, and I think we can win this tournament.

... I feel really great. I never thought I would be here representing my country. I was able to get the hit that gave us the win, and I'm very happy about that. It is a great feeling.

Those that win have the most fun. Maybe Anderson can teach that one to his teammates in camp this spring.

Mets Geek: Let's see what they got
Michael Oliver makes a good case for pushing the top prospects harder during spring training.

Just a heads-up
I will have the fifth and final installment of my New York Mets Hot Stove Moves posted later tonight, featuring the Benson trade and an overall assessment of the winter's action.

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