24. Can a Yankees fan root for the Mets this year or ever?
The main subject matter I cover with the guys that man the door of my apartment building spans a very narrow spectrum. We talk about the weather. And we talk about sports.
I was surprised today when I didn’t have an immediate answer to the question: who are you rooting for to win the World Series?
Here’s the issue. I am a Yankees fan. My grandmother wouldn’t have had it any other way. She listened on the radio or watched on the television (or both!) every Yankees game. All 162 per season for every year that I can remember.
The Mets are, at least in theory, one of the Yankees’ enemies. They only square off six times each year (3.7% of the season). But the games have heightened importance as key inputs to the “who’s the best team in New York” debate. The bragging rights are important to fans who want to believe that they’re rooting for the superior team in their neighborhood. Add on the fact that the Yankees and Mets squared off in the 2000 World Series at basically the height of my fanhood, and you’ve got the conditions under which I was trained to dislike the Mets.
Now the Mets are in the World Series. They have a young team with great pitchers and some very likable players who are hot at exactly the right time. If they were any other team (except the Red Sox, of course), I am almost positive I would like them a lot and would root for them. The Royals are actually young and likable too. A win for either franchise would be a good story — neither has won the World Series in 30 years.
So can I root for the Mets? I’m inclined to say “yes.” And the main reason has nothing to do with my Yankees loyalties. It has to do with a higher loyalty. The Mets will not need to beat the Yankees to win this year. So my fanhood is not compromised by rooting for the Mets right now. But more importantly, I have good friends who would like the Mets to win. And I would like for them to enjoy that ending to the great year that their team has had. So I am giving myself a loophole: I’m not rooting for the Mets; I’m rooting for my friends. Corny, yes. But actually how I feel.
Note to reader: This is day 24 of 92 in my commitment to write for 30 minutes each day from October 1 through the end of 2015.