The baseball gods are taunting us Mets fans in a most diabolical way. The Yankees against the Phillies? Are they kidding? Can there be a more unfortunate World Series matchup? We're being treated to our crosstown rivals against our divisional rivals, both of whose fans are an obnoxious bunch.
Okay, I admit that my assessment of the fans is based on unscientific, anecdotal observations. I also admit that the Mets haven't provided much for me to write about on the blog. I already spend enough time here kvetching about the state of the nation or the world, so why add the Mets? I'm reminded of the time I pulled into the parking lot this summer at Citi Field, the Mets' new home (quite impressive, by the way), to attend a Paul McCartney concert. When I complained to the attendant about the $30 parking fee, she told me, "You'll see a better show here tonight than you ordinarily would." True enough.
Regardless, Yankees fans consider the Mets the lil' brother team of New York, and Phillies fans consider them choke artists. Whether there's any truth to these observations, do I need to hear them? So which team to root for? The fact is that if the Yankees win, I'll be directly subjected to their fans' bragging. Then there's my age-old resentment: the Yankees are the ultimate beneficiaries of the lack of a level playing field that taints baseball. Unlike all other major sports, baseball has no salary cap. It's no coincidence that baseball's richest team is also its most successful. What would you expect with a 2009 payroll of $208, 097, 414? That's higher than the GNP of many countries. What kind of record would the Yankees have without that unfair advantage? Nor am I impressed when Yankees fans talk about the team's home-grown talent. They can afford to keep their players. In baseball's case, Obama's comment about "spreading the wealth," if applied, would be to the betterment of the sport.
Then there's the question of character. What kind of character does it take to root for the team with the best record? Isn't it a greater testimony to one's intestinal fortitude to stick with the team more prone to misfortune?
For all these reasons, then, I'm rooting for the hated Phils as the lesser of two evils. Even if I'm choking as I say it.