Why the Mets are the playoffs’ most lovable team …to hate

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Young team. A contender once more. Greatest city in the world. What’s not to love about those Mets? Turns out, a lot.

By Kyle Magin

I really, really don’t want to hate the Mets. Their existence just makes it so hard not to.

Look, this is a young, exciting team. Most of its talent is home-grown, more than any other playoff team. They haven’t been to the playoffs in seven years. Youth, self-made organizations and extended playoff absences make my heart grow very fond for most any organization and are the reason I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing Toronto, Houston, Kansas City, Chicago or Pittsburgh win the whole thing. Hell, I’d even tip my cap to the Dodgers or Rangers because they’ve been grinding toward the finish line as hard as anybody.

But the Mets, man, where to start?

How about with start times? Since the first two games of the NLDS are going to be contested in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, the start times are 6:45 p.m. on Friday and 6:07 p.m. on Saturday, PST, respectively. That’s objectively good scheduling. You let the country’s second-biggest media market in LA get home from work on Friday before first pitch and enjoy good baseball in prime time on Saturday.

Since you scheduled both games for non-school /work nights back east in your No. 1 media market, you did your best to do as right by as many fans as possible. Good job, baseball.

Ask Met fans, though, and you’d think someone killed their cat, Narcos style. They don’t care that the West Coast exists and fans there deserve to watch their teams without it interfering with work on Friday or Saturday family/outdoor/chore time. They whine and bitch about baseball not marketing to their kids (who don’t have school the next day) (they can stay up with a strategic nap or like the rest of us did at 9 years old: copious caffeinated sodas and sugary foods) like people on the West Coast don’t raise families or want to watch a game with their son or daughter after they get home from work. With that particular gripe, Mets fans are a proxy for New Yorkers in general: The world revolves around me and up yours for acting otherwise.

They also seem to forget that most of their home Friday and Saturday night games for the past six months have begun at 8-8:15 p.m. PST, only an hour and a half before the scheduled times of this weekend’s matchups. Isn’t that the city that never sleeps?

Then we need to deal with Matt Harvey. The Mets’ ace is innings-limited on his own accord because he’s coming off Tommy John surgery last year and he’s trying to get paid a mountain of money when his free agency comes up in 2017. That’s probably a smart move he’s making as a man who wishes to protect his arm for a shot at future earnings. Here’s the thing, though: explaining that to Mets fans is like trying to tell a toddler they can’t have more ice cream.

They see the carton right there and the apple slices you’re trying to sell them on aren’t going to cut it. Mets fans don’t get why Harvey just can’t be a competitor and keep going. To get the fans off his back, Harvey instructed his agent, the one and only Scott Boras, to tell the team about the innings limit and cast doubt on his ability to play with the team during the postseason. It’s funny to actually watch someone make a shit sandwich. Harvey says he’d like to play but can’t and attempts to make Boras play bad cop, when everyone knows Boras doesn’t move a finger without Harvey’s OK. Then, the fans view Harvey as a commodity and not as, you know, a person who would like to continue to earn plutocrat money for playing a child’s game. All of these considerations smash together in a Dumpster fire where nobody’s wrong, nobody’s right and everyone comes out looking like a selfish asshole, chickenshit, or both. People call Harvey the Dark Knight of Gotham, which is fitting because he really is the hero those people deserve. Throw in a nearly-missed workout on Tuesday and terrible excuses to cover it up and Harvey is another good proxy for everything everyone hates about professional athletes.

It takes really terrible people to throw a wet towel on a young organization that’s playing in a premier playoff matchup for the first time in nearly a decade. I want to love the Mets, but God, they’re just awful.

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