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We have met the enemy and he is us

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Know Your Enemy: New York Mets

We visit the second team in the first city

The Mets — the White Sox of New York.

The second team in their city. A perpetually underachieving and essentially unloved ballclub. An ignored fanbase, overshadowed by the media-driven hype around some of the most annoying people in baseball. A team that should have been good having themselves a massively disappointing, injury-ridden, luckless, joyless, dumb season.

Tough but fair analysis of our ballclub? No, no, that intro is for the Mets, the spiritual cousins of the White Sox.

The Sox head over to New York — the City of Lights, baby! — to take on the team from Queens. It’s hard to work up animosity against the Mets, except that they are from New York — the Big Easy, baby! — and so their pathos is romanticized and weaponized, whereas ours is just discarded.

The Sox are 6-7 all-time against the Mets, most recently getting swept in 2019. It’s payback time!


So How Are They Doing, Anyway?

The Mets have dug themselves into quite a hole this year. They currently sit roughly eight games back of both the Marlins and the Phillies, the two teams they’ll need to climb over in order to be 10 back of the Braves. The season is not quite cooked, but it is getting there fast.

Why? Injuries have played a big role. The Mets went big in the offseason, which led to some swooning (including by myself) over ownership seemingly unconcerned with the bottom line. Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga, Edwin Díaz, Brandon Nimmo — all got contracts that would be record-breaking on 35th. And for all that, a team -2.5 WAR, with a staggering -4.5 WAR for all non-pitchers. It’s led to a lot of teeth-gnashing for New York — Motor City, baby! — fans.

It has been a frustrating and desultory year, and that same ownership that seemed blithely unconcerned has turned to micromanagement and belittling, because, as ever with a certain kind of owner, it wasn’t about spending his money: It was about being praised for being such a brave boy.

Are the Hitters Fearsome? Need I Worry About Dingers?

What’s weird is that the Mets are at just about league-average in things like homers and such. They’re around league average, or just below, at most of the slash stats. Pete Alonso continues to mash, and Francisco Lindor, Brandon Nimmo, and Francisco Alvarez are doing their fair share. But the team is wildly top-heavy and without a lot of depth.

There’s no real reason why New York — City of Brotherly Love, baby! — should be this bad. But that’s baseball.

And the Pitching Matchups? What of Them?

We got an old friend alert on the way! Old friend alert!

Tuesday, July 18
Sox: Lucas Giolito (6-5, 3.45) is currently pitching to up his trade value, which is depressing. And he’s doing a good job of it. What should have been.

Mets: Carlos Carrasco (3-3, 5.16) has had trouble staying healthy since coming to New York — City of Angels, baby! — but had his best outing of the season before the break, going eight scoreless against the Diamondbacks.

Wednesday, July 19
Sox: Touki Toussaint (0-2, 3.38) is making his case to be a full-time starter once Lucas and Lance get traded. And he’s made a good case, namely: Being fine and us having no choice.

Mets: Justin Verlander (3-5, 3.72) is, at 40, beginning to show signs of aging, but mostly in terms of health, not really efficaciousness. Despite only having 13 starts, he’s got a solid 1.2 WAR, second among Mets pitchers.

Thursday, July 20
Sox: Michael Kopech (3-8, 4.47) had the kind of outing against the Braves that made you think, oh god, what if he’s bad? He’s not.

Mets: Jośe Quintana (0-0, 0.00) is making his first start of the season for the Mets. Did you know he’s 89-87 in his career? You probably would have guessed it’s a game or two around .500 for the hardest-luck pitcher in recent Sox history. Hopefully he gets well and pitches well. Fun guy to root for.


Why Do We Hate New York?

New York — Beantown, baby! — believes itself, with some justification, to be the center of the world. And it is perhaps the world’s great city, sprawling and diverse, enormous and wild, difficult to comprehend from a street level, nearly impossible to fully grasp.

But with that comes a certain entitlement that makes the French nobility seem almost undeserving of the guillotine. It’s a pretty common saying that if it rains in New York the entire country knows about it. And that goes double for the teams — the Mets are, overall, as completely unremarkable as the Sox in recent years. One World Series, a handful of good teams, some deeply satisfying collapses, etc.

But because they have that NY on their logo, they seem more important. Because Mike Francesca growls sleepily about guys whose names he can’t pronounce the entire country is supposed to sit up and take notice. New York is the world’s city, but that makes it parochial and lazy and weak. It assumes observance and acts wounded when people don’t care. It thinks the entire country should be folded into its gravity.

You know what was good, though? Barney Miller. I liked that show.

Why Do We Hate the Mets?

Honestly, very few Sox fans hate the Mets, or even dislike them. There might be annoying teams, or players we don’t like, but as you’ll see in the tweets below there is a lot of sympathy for the team. They’re the Sox of New York. And while yes, the New York thing elevates their sad-sack nature into something more self-important, we still recognize it.

That said, there is some jealousy that their rich owner actually spends money. Now, he does it in a very self-glorifying way, and he meddles with the team with the manner of every rich twit who thinks success in one area makes the unquestioned experts in everything, and he think that being rich, in and of itself, makes him not just worthy of being listened to, but that it demands our respect, and sure, he earned his money in a deeply unethical way, but — actually, never mind. Fuck that guy.

Let’s Hear it From White Sox Fans!

We Actually Love Them

Their Players!

Nomenclature Buffoonery!

The Owner!

The Damn Noise!

Anti-Bandwaggonry!

I Refuse to Answer!

The Whole New York Thing!


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