I’ve read Mets fans described as the CrossFitters of the sports world: constantly complaining, saying that no one has it harder than them, when in fact they know exactly what they signed up for. Besides, the Mets are a reasonably successful franchise whose legendarily heartbreaking late-season losses have as much to do with mismanagement as some kind of curse. We disdain the (mascotless) Yankees as sellouts willing to buy success at any cost, but the Mets are one of the wealthiest teams in the National League. They just lose a lot. Mr. Met puts a smile on the face of this self-delusion, so common among baseball fans.
At a recent dinner, a friend unfamiliar with Mr. Met asked me what his race is. “He’s a baseball,” I said. He is, presumably, composed of cork, yarn and stitched cowhide. Baseballs are made to be knocked around: hit, thrown, covered in dirt and grass. And yet he strides around the field free of resentment, existing only to be used and abused and to cheerily support his tormentors. Stadiums may acquire corporate names and gourmet hot dogs. Logos might evolve with the shifting skyline. Teams may lose; players may take steroids or beat their wives. Not Mr. Met; he is one of life’s few immutables. No matter who occupies that massive head of his, Mets fans see in his face that same friendly nothingness, onto which we can project our hopes and memories.
Sadie Stein, “Mr. Met”, The New York Times Magazine (21 May 2017), 35.