I'm drawn to the Mets because I love to root for the underdog. It’s probably why I am a Jets fan, too. It's why I enjoyed rooting for the Heat when they had Ron Seikaly and Sherman Douglas, but why I tuned them out (and the NBA as a whole) after Dwyane Wade got there. I mean, even in 1986, when the Mets dominated all summer, they still found themselves fighting for their lives at multiple points in the postseason, which is what ended up being some of the most memorable moments for myself and other fans. This is clearly why my favorite Mets teams are from 1999 and 2000, despite them not winning a ring.
Also, I genuinely enjoy the story arc of each individual baseball season (and how that story fits in with the overall story of the franchise). It’s the main reason I follow sports. I also think this is why I can so easily tolerate adversity, monumental trades, action and inaction, success and failure, because it’s all part of the story. I see myself as a spectator, as a viewer and a loyal fan of the show, watching and waiting to see how it all ends.
The story of a season is always more fun and compelling when a team comes from out of nowhere to surprise everyone, than it is when a team wins and dominates like it’s expected to. In fact, I am more likely to get wrapped up in another team’s success (like the Rays in 2008) when they come out of the fringes to surprise, as well. Inversely, I'll never understand how some Yankees fan, who barely check in on baseball from April through August, only to watch in September and October, are happy when their team wins. To me, this is like tuning in to the last five minutes of a movie and cheering the credits. At that point, I’d rather not watch at all. How can you really appreciate the accomplishment, feel camaraderie and be truly happy for the people on the field if you have no real idea about what went in to getting there?
My Yankees and football Giants friends tell me I am simply lowering my expectations and making excuses for my team's failures. They say, if the Mets made the playoffs each of the next five years, I would quickly change my mind about being the underdog and I’d begin to see sports like they do. Maybe. Maybe not. Frankly, I’d love to have that problem and find out for myself. For now, all I know is that I love cheering for the underdog, which is probably why I am, again, so excited for baseball season...