BRONX, NY – I have returned from hibernation to find my beloved Yankees one win away in the World Series. The Bombers will again host the Phillies of Philly in a Game Six of the 2009 fall classic (after the Frillies held on phor dear life in Game 5) And while most normal people in New York will be supporting the Yanks in their quest for a 27th World Series title, Mets fans seem to be tilting towards Philadelphia like a seesaw would tilt with Shaq at one end and Wee-Man at the other.
At first I was surprised by how Mets fans could abandon the greatest city in the world for a city whose claims to fame are a cracked hunk of metal, a sandwich made of sliced beef and cheese whiz, and a fictional boxer. But the more I thought about it, the more I understood their decision. Losers are attracted to losers.
When the Giants and Dodgers skipped town after the 1957 season (presumably because they were both tired of being #2 to the Yankees) New York was left without a National League representative until the Mets came to be in 1962. The Mets, seeking some identity, chose to wear the colors of the two teams that had left New York like seaward rats only a half-decade before.
What the Mets did that 1962 season was post one of the worst records (40 W â€“ 120 L) baseball has ever seen. Since then the Amazinâ€™s have had some spectacular wins (â€™69, â€™86) and many spectacular losses. In recent memory the Mets have endured some awful defeats (the 1999 NLCS when Kenny Rogers walked in the series clinching run, and the 2006 NLCS when Carlos Beltran took a called third strike to end the series) and catastrophic collapses (2007, 2008). It seems the Metropolitans have mastered the art of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
And now Mets fans have found, in one of their fiercest enemies, someone who truly understands their losing ways…
The Philadelphia Phillies own the distinction of having the most losses in the history of organized sport. They have managed to hang one in the loss column over 10,000 times throughout their history. No other team (not even the Chicago Cubs who havenâ€™t won a championship in over a century) can say that they have losses in the five-digit range. Ol’timey baseball columnist and poet George E. Phair summarized Phillie Phutility in his poem The Magic Number.
If the Giants win but two of four
And the Dodgers six of ten,
Then the Phillies as in days of yore
Will finish last again.
The persistent phutility of the Phillies is something even Mets fans can laugh at. And while the Phillies had successful sides in the early â€˜80s and one of the strongest teams in baseball over the past few seasons, some would argue (myself included), that even a broken clock is right twice a day. Now, Iâ€™m not knocking this current Phillies squad. I gave them even odds to win the Series. But I advise you to enjoy this period of success, Phillie Phans (and Mets fans who are rooting for the Phillies). It will not last forever. Because when the inevitable return to mediocrity occurs (it happens to everyone, including the Yankees) you will still be the team with the most losses ever. That just stinks like a Jimmy Rollins prediction gone bad, doesn’t it?
Why not choose the sweet smell of well-earned, time-tested Yankee victory cigar?
Angry Ward tomorrow.