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Mets Therapy Session: Reflections of a fan through the eyes of a therapist

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 06: Mr. and Mrs. Met share popcorn as they sit in the empty seats during the game between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets at Citi Field on September 06, 2020 in New York City. Due to concerns of the spread of the coronavirus, MLB games are being played without fans. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 06: Mr. and Mrs. Met share popcorn as they sit in the empty seats during the game between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets at Citi Field on September 06, 2020 in New York City. Due to concerns of the spread of the coronavirus, MLB games are being played without fans. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
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I thought it would be fun and at the same time instructive to take a look at the typical New York Mets fan of today from the perspective of a fly on the wall in a therapist’s office.

I am not suggesting that any Met fan ought to seek counseling. Psychotherapy is a serious matter and this article in no way is meant to laugh at the expense of anyone undergoing therapy now or in the past, nor belittle the patient-therapist relationship.

Having said that, I ask the reader to view this content with a sense of humor. So hypothetically, if the average Met fan were to reach out for some help to cope with a certain kind of syndrome that seems to be associated with Mets lore, then perhaps part of the dialogue (in parody form) might sound something like this, beginning with the therapist:

“You look dreadful, what happened?”

“Haven’t you been following the news?”

“Well, Iran is threatening the US by saying it will go ahead and produce a nuclear bomb. The Senate couldn’t get a two-thirds super majority to impeach the former President. Vaccination rates are crawling throughout the country. Lockdowns continue to decimate local businesses”.

“No not that kind of news. I mean more important stuff that really hits home.”

“And what would that be?”

“Let me spell it out for you – Springer, Bauer, JT Realmuto, Hand – need I say more?”

“Oh, you mean players the Mets didn’t get in free agency and who elected to sign elsewhere.”

“We could also have had Arenado, Kike Hernandez, and whoa is me, what is going to be in center field?”

“As if these players went elsewhere on purpose.”

“Of course! How else can you explain it?  I trusted Bob Nightengale who said that Bauer to the Mets was a done deal.”

“There are reasonable and rational reasons for the choices they made.”

“Oh come on, doc, what does being rational have anything to do with it?”

“Well maybe if you wouldn’t put much stock in every reporter that tweets out news.”

“I can’t help it. I get so caught up emotionally. Doc, you’ve got to help me! Do you understand my sense of urgency here?”

“Uh huh.”

“This anxiety I have seems to be never-ending.”

“How long have you been feeling this way about the Mets?”

“Since 2006 when Beltran froze on Wainwright’s curveball.”

“Oh yes, that was painful. Have you been on any prescribed medication for your anxiety?”

“Well, no, I sort of accepted the fact that this is the norm for a Met fan, you know, always getting outbid, worried that the bullpen will be stretched thin if more help isn’t added, desperate for that blockbuster deal that will really put us over the top.”

“I am confused. So you want to stay in a state of chronic worry?  Didn’t you say you wanted me to help you?”

“And now Lugo found a bone spur in his elbow and will miss at least six weeks following surgery. And all this talk about getting a third baseman. What, give up JD, Baty, and the kid we just got from Kansas City for Chapman? Is Bryant worth it?  Who is going to replace Lugo? Are we going to lose out again on available guys like Wilson and Rosenthal?  And no DH, ugh!”

“Slow down, my friend. You didn’t answer my question. You have made it crystal clear how passionate you are about the team. But are these things that you can control?”

“No but…”

“And what about all the good things the Mets have done this season. Surely you can point to some of those, no?”

“Yes, but…”

“Lindor, Carrasco, May, McCann. Villar.”

“Villar?  Do you know what his dWAR has been the last few years?”

“OK, sorry I mentioned him. But what about the other guys?”

“Well, you have a point. But what if they don’t extend Lindor? And what about Conforto, and eventually Syndergaard? And after next year, we really should be thinking about re-negotiating DeGrom’s contract ”

“Are you seriously losing sleep over this?”

“Doc, you can’t be a genuine die-hard Met fan if you sleep soundly these days.”

“I see.”

“There’s always something. Look what happened to Porter. And then Callaway. And before that Beltran again, who was mixed up in the Houston sign-stealing scandal. It’s like we are cursed.”

“Why bring up things from the past? Why not appreciate what you have and the potential for a bright future? Tim Tebow was invited to spring training, wasn’t he?”

“It is obvious you aren’t a true blue Met fan.”

“Well you know I am not supposed to take sides. So answer my question.”

“Because the past affects the present. Maybe Springer didn’t want to sign with us because of all the bad press about harassment of women by those in positions of power.”

“Believe me – he followed the highest bid.”

“If that is the case, then why didn’t Steve Cohen offer him more than Toronto did?”

“Do you really want to go down this road? We can spend many many sessions hashing through decisions players made that have no real relevance to your mental health.”

“Well that’s not true – it is very upsetting when I don’t get what I want.”

“Ah, now we are getting somewhere.”

“So you feel that Met fans are entitled to getting what they want now just to even out the great disappointments from their history with the Wilpons?”

“Yes, it is time for karma to be on our side for once.”

“And how does that happen?”

“Well, you tell me, that’s what I pay you for, isn’t it?”

“I’ll pretend to ignore that last comment.”

“Sorry.”

“Well, it is quite evident that God was on the side of the Mets in 1969. And then again in 1986. Certainly there was divine intervention then.”

“That was before my time.”

“I was there and can bear witness to it. Swoboda’s catch in Game 4 of the ’69 series. The ground ball hit by Mookie that went through Buckner’s legs. It can happen again in 2021.”

“I am not a very religious person.”

“Let’s try a different tack then. What is bothering you right now?”

“That you want to heal me from my chronic feeling of being miserable. I mean, I know we have new ownership and a new front office with a good analytics department. We really have made some good moves this offseason”

“But?”

“But I feel it is not enough. We are still missing out on some holes I am afraid we will not fill. How do you feel about us defensively with Nimmo in CF, JD at 3B, Smith in LF, and Alonzo at IB?”

“You have a point there.”

“So you agree with me that my anxiety and sleepless nights are justified?”

“Well…”

“Now you see what drove me to your office?”

“Let’s summarize what we’ve discussed so far. You are frustrated and anxious. When I offered to guide you to thinking more positively, you rejected it because that is your destiny as a Met fan. And as long as there is what to complain about, you are happier. Is that the long and short of it?”

“Well, yes, doc, thank you for putting that all into perspective for me. I am feeling much better about myself now.”

“Next week same time?”

“Yes I look forward to making more progress.”

Next. Five Mets moments we wish we could redo

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If some of you have recognized yourself or someone you know who fits the description of the fan illustrated above, then you are in very good company. Fans in other cities may be described as laid back, chilled, or even complacent. Met fans, wherever they may live, have that edge about them of never being satisfied. So while it may be exasperating to constantly complain that we could do better, at least it gives us yet another reason to wake up in the morning. LGM!

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