The Mets, Jets, and Dems; My Triumvirate of Lost Causes
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The Mets, Jets, and Dems; my triumvirate of lost causes
By Rob Hoffman on June 26, 2017 at 5:53 AM
I’m in a slump. This is an undeniable fact, and not one of those alternative facts that I’ve read so much about. I’m not really slumping personally, I mean everybody in my family is healthy and gainfully employed, as well as the fact that my friends all seem to be doing fine. The nation is not engaged in full-scale war, and the economy is about as stable as you could ask for, but aside from these trivial formalities, I’m definitely enveloped in a deep quagmire of defeat and futility. I’m speaking of course about my favorite “teams,” the New York Mets, the New York Jets, and the Democratic Party. Three “teams” I hate to love.
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Let’s see, staying up late and partying with the elite, and then losing badly on the playing field. Yup, sounds like Matt Harvey would be a fitting candidate for the Democratic party. (New York Times)
Now before we get too carried away here, I am not implying that all Met fans and Jet fans are Democrats. Nor am I saying that you are a loser for rooting for any part of this above listed triumvirate of futility. All I’m saying is that I root for three teams, and right now, (And in the Jets case, “right now,” can be defined as meaning the last 48 years) they are looking pretty sorry, and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of hope in sight.
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I’m pretty sure that if you put a Mets cap on this guy, he would tear his rotator cuff. As it is, he’s going to require the political equivalency of “Tommy John” surgery, after suffering the latest stinging loss for the Democrats at the polls. (Getty Images)
Why are certain individuals drawn to losers? (People ask my wife that all the time) Is it for that one-in-a-million shot at actually watching them win, and then getting to savor that opportunity to crow about it? That seems like putting up with a lot of misery for a rare shot at victory. In fact, while it may be incredibly satisfying to be able to celebrate that rare championship, more often than not, your team of losers are going to break your heart. As the years turn into decades, all of this suffering begins to leave you empty and disillusioned, and you begin to wonder why you are wasting your time with these chumps in the first place.
Sure, losing builds character…said everybody who has ever rooted for a loser, but it does make you morally superior to all of those people who spend all of their time rooting for a winner. Like most people, my values were shaped by my parents. My father was a man of strong passions who liked what he liked, and hated what he hated. As a young man growing up in the Bronx in the 1930s and ’40s, he had a chance to enjoy living in the epicenter of the Yankees’ incredible success. My father was born in 1928, and the Yankees won the World Series in 1932, ’36, ’37, ’38, ’39, ’41, ’47, ’49, ’50, ’51, ’52, and ’53. This meant that by the time he was 25, he could have savored the sweet smell of his borough’s team’s success 12 times. This does not even include all of the years they went to the World Series and lost. Nor does it list the other subsequent Yankee titles in the mid to late 1950s and early 1960s when he was still relatively young.
Yet, my father rejected the Yankees and all of their achievements, throwing his unyielding passion and energy into the New York “baseball” Giants, a team of much more modest accomplishments. (Until of course they abandoned him, and the rest of the Metropolitan area for San Francisco, but that’s a blog for another day.)
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Who grows up in the borough where the great DiMaggio, Gehrig and Dickey ply their craft, and decides, “Meh, I’ll root for the Giants instead.” If my father was Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea would have completely ignored “The great DiMaggio,” and instead the old man would have told tales to the boy of the “The great Whitey Lockman.” (Getty Images)
It wasn’t like my father didn’t like taking the easy way out, it’s just that he felt that rooting for the Yankees was boring. Considering he was also a fan of the Mets and Jets, as well as a life-long Democrat, he must have experienced a lot more “excitement” considering how often this group has ended up on the losing end.
While rooting for the Yankees doesn’t make you a Republican, there were comparisons between Yankee fans and Republicans long before George Steinbrenner got snagged for making illegal campaign contributions to the Nixon campaign in 1972. They used to say that rooting for the Yankees was like rooting for U.S. Steel. U.S. Steel literally represents the type of big business corporation that epitomized the Republican party for generations. Both the corporate types who ran the businesses of America, as well as the all-powerful New York Yankees, dominated their respective worlds in their pinstripe suits. Big business and the New York Yankees: Power, authority, success, and timeless traditions. All of the things that nobody gives any thought to when thinking about the Mets, Jets, and Democrats.
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The infamous “Butt Fumble,” considered by many as the worst play in NFL history. It’s considered even worse than “Wrong-way” Marshall running a fumble back the wrong way for the Minnesota Vikings. (You Tube)
I believe that when one begins to investigate the three mainstays of ineptitude, the Jets, Mets, and Democrats, they will find the similarities can be quite unnerving. Let’s see if we can piece together the flaws that bind these three losing organizations together.
The Jets and the Democrats have both been accused of arrogance despite rarely enjoying the fruits of victory
The Jets, Mets, and Democrats seem to relish “moral victories.”
The Jets, Mets, and Democrats all claim to have a method to their madness, and that one has to stick to that plan because eventually it will bear fruit.
All three love to accuse the opponents who they are competing with of cheating.
They love to cling to past glories.
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In many respects, Joe Namath is to the Jets what JFK was to the Democrats. Both were men with tons of potential who had their careers tragically cut short, but upon closer examination, appeared to have been a bit overrated. Oh, and they were both injury prone. (Getty Images)
Let’s begin with the premise that both the Jets and the Democrats are arrogant. If you talk to general managers from around the NFL, there is a consensus amongst nearly all of them that the Jets do things a little bit differently than the rest of the league, and yet when some of their “ways” are questioned, they scoff at others believing that they know better, despite the fact that they haven’t won since before man-kind walked on the Moon. The Democrats also like to point out that their voters are smarter, better educated, more urban, and better informed than those who vote Republican. While on the whole their may be merit in both arguments, at some point you have to turn these ideas into victories.
Speaking of victories, when did “almost winning” become a thing? In the latest special election that took place down in Georgia, Democrat Jon Ossoff, a documentary filmmaker, and graduate of the London School of Economics, or in other words, just a good old country boy from Georgia, lost to a twice failed candidate for state office for the Republicans by about four percentage points. Many Democrats enjoyed pointing out how comparably well Ossoff did considering that Tom Price, the former Congressman from that district, and a Republican, had won the district by 24 points in November. Let’s hear it for not losing by too much! Hip, Hip, yawn!
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Matt Harvey goes out for the ninth inning against the Royals in game five of the 2015 World Series. Harvey had been pitching a shutout, until he wasn’t. He pitched well, and it was a tremendous effort. One that failed. Another moral victory. (New York Times)
The Jets went to the AFC Championship game two years in a row a few years ago. In 2009 they lost to the Colts, and in 2010 they lost to the Steelers. They played hard, and were competitive in both games, but eventually lost. These were tough games against great opponents on the road where they were the underdog. A moral victory? I suppose. At end of the day however, they are nothing more than the same kind of losses that have left the Jets without a Super Bowl trophy for almost 50 years.
All three of my “teams” claim to have a plan, and they simply have to stick to the plan in order to become successful. The Mets for example don’t wish to push their pitchers too far because they’re young and they don’t want to get them hurt. Well, the Mets have five top-notch arms in their starting rotation, but they’ve never actually been active at the same time. Why you ask? Because at least one of them is always hurt!
The Jets are currently rebuilding, and have cut pretty much every quality veteran player on their roster, and don’t even have a proven quarterback to start the season. They do have a couple of young quarterbacks who every other scout in the NFL said were not NFL quality. The Jets drafted them anyway, and surprise, surprise, are expected to be the worst team in football this year.
The Democrats, while licking their wounds during their latest defeat have begun to ask if they should still be under the thumb of their congressional leader, Nancy Pelosi, who is 77 years old. Their most energetic speaker isn’t even a Democrat, it’s Socialist Bernie Saunders who is 74. Joe Biden is talking about running in 2020 when he’ll be almost 80, and let’s not forget that Hillary was almost 70 when she ran. I understand that Harry Truman would like to throw his hat in the ring, just as soon as he celebrates his 133rd birthday! Do you think that maybe the Dems could use a fresh approach, with a little new blood?
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Ladies and gentleman, allow me to introduce the face of the future of the Democratic party, 74-year-old Joe Biden. He brings a lot of fresh ideas to the political arena such as rotary phones, and long-playing albums. (Getty Images)
The Mets, Jets and Democrats love to tell the world that the other side is always cheating. The Mets whined about Chase Utley’s slide in the 2015 playoffs against the Dodgers, turning Utley into some sort of modern day “Ty Cobb,” a dirty white player who needs to be suspended. The Jets were the ones who blew the whistle on the New England Patriots during the so-called “Spy-Gate” fiasco. (Of course we know that the Patriots do cheat. The question is, why did they waste it on the Jets?) The Democrats are apoplectic right now over Russian meddling in the 2016 election, not to mention the fact that they believe Trump colluded with the Russians, as well as their charges of voter fraud against the Republicans, and what they believe are numerous instances of voter suppression by the Republicans in many of the 50 states. As Charlie Sheen would say, there is a solution to all of the above. “Winning!”
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Chase Utley damaging the not-so-promising career of Reuben Tejada. Utley has now joined Pete Rose, and Roger Clemons as all-time Met villains. (You Tube)
Perhaps the worst shared feature that plagues these three struggling franchises is their seemingly desperate need to cling to past glories. It almost seems as if the Jets were forever blessed and cursed by the history making victory in Super Bowl III over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts. Namath’s guaranteed victory provided short-lived glory that has never transpired into any type of organizational framework for success.
The Mets as well have lived too long off of their history making World Series victories. The “Miracle Mets” of 1969 were the darlings of baseball to be sure, while the arrogant and brawling Mets of 1986 seemed to relish the idea of taking on the world in their quest for dominance. The ’86 Mets went on to play two of the most breathtaking post-season series in baseball history, winning both, and gaining a measure of respect from the baseball world. It seems though however, that the Mets have never quite recaptured the glory brought to them by the likes of Seaver, Doc, Daryl, and Keith. Their attempts to constantly call on the ghosts of these former greats only serves to highlight their incompetence, especially compared to the achievements of their crosstown rivals, the seemingly always successful New York Yankees.
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For Met fans everywhere, this picture made it seem as if all things were possible. It all came apart so quickly, not unlike the success of the Democrats in 2008. By the way, I had this picture framed in my first apartment. When my wife was pregnant with my first son, we took the room it was hanging in and prepared it for our soon to be arriving first-born. I asked my wife when she took the picture of “Doc” down where I could put it. She said without missing a beat. “The garbage.” (Getty Images)
For the Democrats, they seemed to have peaked in 1967. When both FDR and LBJ established the welfare state, and brought forth the idea that government could step in and play an active role in an individual’s life for the better, the Liberal’s mission seemed to have been accomplished. The “Reagan revolution” set all that on its ear. Ever since, Democrats have been trying to defend and preserve the accomplishments of FDR and LBJ. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for ingenuity and fresh ideas. When they actually do try something new, like “Obama Care,” it turns into World War III, and a string of seemingly never-ending losses on election day. Until the Democrats find a united message that resonates with the American people going forward, they’re going to get their “Ossoff’s” handed to them a lot.
Until the Jets, Mets, and Democrats somehow find their way, I’ll be turning off the television and checking the “box scores” with scorn and disappointment, waiting for things to turn around. . Those like yours truly who continue to suffer with these three also-rans are modern-day tragic heroes. Creon himself, perhaps the greatest tragic hero in literary history, if faced with year-after-year of watching the Jets, Mets, and Democrats lose contest after contest would have thrown up his hands and said, “Thou art horrific!”
Perhaps one day I will get the opportunity to celebrate a “triple crown” of sorts. A Jets Super Bowl victory, a Mets World Series championship, and a Democratic president. Maybe 2020 will be that year? Oh wait, Zach Wheeler and Matt Harvey just went on the disabled list, and the Jets drafted two safeties, and the Democrats have no power to prevent “Trump-care.” Yeah, never mind.