[TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains descriptions of addiction and Mets fandom. Due to this, it may trigger negative effects in people who have experienced addiction (past or present), or more generally Mets fans. Accordingly, it should not be read by anyone, ever, and should you choose to do so I take no responsibility when you end up sharing a box with Bubbles under a railroad trestle.]
As the season gets underway, it is apparent that fractures are forming in the Mets fanbase earlier than usual, even for our fractious and uncouth selves. At various times I have been an optimist (no, seriously) and a pessimist, and that caused me to think about the emotional toll that being a Mets fan brings. I began to wonder whether this might be a sign of addiction, and of rock bottom coming up at us. Having watched both The Wire and Breaking Bad in their entirety, and given my pending degree from Hollywood Upstairs Medical College, I consider myself an expert in addiction. I also have seen rock bottom many times, most recently in Colin Cowgill form. So I decided to explore Mets fandom from a medical perspective (note: not a medical perspective). First of all, let's develop a working set of signs of addiction. According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of addiction are:
1. Feeling that you have to use the drug regularly — this can be daily or even several times a day
Ask yourself, how often do you log in here? Check other sites? Watch sports on TV? Yup.
2. Failing in your attempts to stop using the drug
If you're still here, then you've probably overwhelmed your better senses. If you were here arguing about the relative merits of Drew and Tejada for the 85th day (not an exaggeration, this conversation went on for, at minimum by my calculation, 85 days), well then. Yeah.
3. Making certain that you maintain a supply of the drug
Opening Day is Coming!!! I need to get the afternoon off work! It's the offseason, I need to check out what's happening in Venezuela!
4. Spending money on the drug, even though you can't afford it
Ticket + parking + food + beer = by the hour, similar bill as trip to Scores to watch a game. Seriously. This had not occurred to me before--probably because I hate strip clubs--but going to a ballgame costs about as much on a per hour basis as going to a strip club. And the seats are way less comfortable.
5. Doing things to obtain the drug that you normally wouldn't do, such as stealing
Illegal streams anyone? Saying that a dad shouldn't be present at the birth of his child? Wishing that another human being gets seriously injured or humiliated in front of millions of viewers?
6. Feeling that you need the drug to deal with your problems
The Mets: the cause of and solution to the quandary of what to do every weekday summer night.
7. Driving or doing other risky activities when you're under the influence of the drug
Sports Radio 66, THE FAN, you're on the air. Being a grown person who has had no physical activity for years and jumping up and down.
8. Focusing more and more time and energy on getting and using the drug
If you read box scores from the Savannah Sand Gnats or the Nippon Ham Fighters every single day, you might just have a problem.
Does that sound like you? No you say? Sure it does. If you're reading this, you can be sure it does. And I've gathered all of these people who love you who are saying, in a non-judgemental manner, that you might just have a problem. The good news is that we're all here for you and in 1935 Bill W. (a pseudonym) and Dr. Bob Smith (oddly, not a pseudonym) started a little organization called Alcoholics Anonymous; through its own efforts and those of various similar organizations, the 12-step model that Mr. W. and Dr. Smith pioneered has helped millions of people to break the terrible cycle of addiction. And so I thought it best to adapt the 12 steps pioneered by these gentlemen to Mets fans. I'm not saying that this will cure you of addiction, but it might help you to get through what looks to be another tough season.
I'll start. Hi, my name is Mookie and I'm both a cat and a Mets addict.
1. We admitted we were powerless over the Mets—that our team had become unmanageable.
Come tomorrow, the Wipons will still be in charge, we'll still have 3 guys who can play 1st, and we'll be trying to figure out which of our relievers exist above or below the Carson line (we need a Mendoza line for pitchers), and there ain't nothing you or Terry Collins can do about it. Just be cool with this.
2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Ya gotta believe! Also, the soothing voice of Gary Cohen.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of Dickey as we understood Him.
To keep this away from religion, I want to point out that if there is one truth to which all religions (including lack thereof) generally adhere, it is that God (or gods, or nature, or trees, or whatever it is that people find spiritually appealing) does not care about who wins a baseball game. But you know who does? R.A. Dickey. Can I get a RAmen!?!?
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to Dickey, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
I'll start. I thought that Frank Catalanotto was going to help turn the team around. Also, I was generally in favor of 3/36 for Ollie when it happened. Ok, there, I said it. You beat that in terms of missing the mark. And I'll just show myself out now.
6. Were entirely ready to have Dickey remove all these defects of character.
We're all afraid of leaving the basement. It's ok. Together, we can do it. He ended up very close to Jose's hamstring. Coincidence?
7. Humbly asked Dickey to remove our shortcomings.
He has already started with TdA and Thor, but we can keep asking and he'll keep giving. I'm looking at you, Wuilmer Becerra.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
The good news is that, in terms of other teams and their fans, this should be a really short list. But if you have children and have raised them to be Mets fans, you have some explaining to do.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Amends can be in the form of therapy or a BMW. Your choice.
10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
Boy, I hope I'm wrong about so much right now. I will admit it promptly and without delay if that turns out to be the case. Especially that best bullpen in the majors things that I see on the horizon, or Ruben Tejada for Cy Young (more likely than any batting or fielding award).
11. Sought through meditation to improve our conscious contact with Dickey as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Meditation comes in many forms. Perhaps gamethreads and MSPaintz. We know that the Dickey approves of MSPaintz. Humor is pain leaving the body, and you are some of the funniest people I know. Perhaps spreadsheets and Fangraphs and thought experiments. Perhaps puppies and poop jokes.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to Mets fans, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
"Sports Radio 66 THE FAN, you're on the air! " "Hi, I'd like to talk about discrepancies between ERA and xFIP and what that can tell us about Bartolo Colon." *click* (In other words, keep trying).
I want to emphasize that I love the Mets, and I hope these steps will assist with self-actualization of love of the team while diminishing whatever it brings.