Dear Mets fans,
It's been a while since you last came to visit. You weren't missed all that much. We love to hate each other, sure, but it was kind of nice without you.
This is your first trip to town since last August. Philly has been a little busy since then. There was the World Series and the parade and the ring ceremony and, man, it just hasn't stopped. You probably saw most of it on TV since you didn't have much else to do after September. You remember all the pageantry that goes along with being a world champion, right? No? Well, maybe you have some faded pictures of 1986 in a shoebox somewhere.
This might be overstepping our relationship, but can we tell you something? You guys seem awfully haggard. It looks like you haven't slept much lately. Guess choking away two straight division titles will keep you up at night.
It has to be brutal to be a Mets fan. The Fightin's got off to a typically slow start and still managed to finish the first month of the season with an 11-9 record. That's where they were at this point last year - two games over .500 - and we all know how 2008 worked out for the Phils.
Meanwhile, the Mets enter the series having lost seven of their last 10. They're three games under .500 and looking sloppier every day.
Their season certainly hasn't gone over well with the New York media. Stories about the Mets are frequently peppered with words such as "pressure" and "anxiety" and "failure." And the headlines are even more vicious:
A Strange and Sad Season
Mets Remain Amazin'ly Powerless
Mets Can Produce Only More Frustration
And the best of the lot . . .
Ya Gotta Be Kidding
Things have gotten so ugly that David Wright has been openly booed at Citi Field. (A little advice: that kind of behavior is so unbecoming. You should try to be more like us - cool and calm and supportive.) A blogger for the Newark Star-Ledger even wrote that Wright is "the face of panic in New York's slow start." How far the all-star has fallen.
Jerry Manuel has also taken a lot of heat. Last week, one of you guys made national news when you held up a homemade sign. It was an orange poster board with black letters and a simple, direct message: "Fire J. Manuel." The Mets fascist security guards didn't like that very much, and they confiscated the sign.
On top of all that, you're forced to pay outrageous prices to watch bad baseball at Citi Field - the not-so-impressive new park that the team plunked down next to a shanty town of shabby auto body shops. Even visitors from Detroit would find that area crummy.
While you're here on your mini-vacation, try to relax. Have a Schmitter and a few lagers and forget about your troubles at home. Soon enough, you'll be on the Jersey Turnpike again - headed back to New York to watch the Amazin's bungle their way through another season. That's an awfully grim fate.
For once, we won't blame you guys for making the trip down to Philly. Generally it bugs us. But if we had it that rough, we'd want to get away, too.
The area's first mixed martial arts event was held last night in Oaks, Montgomery County, in a half-empty warehouse called the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center. It was a bigger crowd than I expected, but only a few hundred people showed up.
Outside, it smelled like manure, and there was a swarm of gnats near the front door where people were smoking. Inside, guys with nicknames like "Dragon Style" and "First Blood" and "Lil' X-Rated" and "The Baer Trap" (which may or may not have been a typo on the program) battled inside a cage. Some fought well, others poorly. A guy calling himself "The Chosen One" got choked and had to tap out barely a minute into his fight.
That's the problem with some of the minor-league shows (the event was held by an outfit called Respect Is Earned). The talent levels vary wildly from fighter to fighter. The UFC and the WEC have deep rosters, but the smaller organizations tend to serve their customers diluted swill. Case in point: A Japanese concern called DREAM just signed celebrity-boxing punching bag Jose Canseco.
For the MMA fans out there, I suggest waiting until the UFC comes to town in August. There are some good fights scheduled for that card. It should be a better demonstration of the sport than any of the nonsense that precedes it.
A final thought: When it was announced that Pennsylvania would sanction MMA, there was a predictable, ignorant backlash even though California and Nevada and other fight meccas long ago accepted it as a real sport and not the human cockfighting it was once portrayed to be. Some of the local news outlets (hello, 6ABC) ran stale, breathless reports that made it sound like people should lock up their children so the MMA savages wouldn't run wild and start pummeling their sweet little faces willy-nilly. The irony is that some of the fighters last night couldn't have beaten themselves up.
Contact columnist John Gonzalez at 215-854-2813 or firstname.lastname@example.org.