Many Mets fans would fall into a more doom and gloom mindset than a positive one. Whether that’s because of persistent disappointment, a “younger-brother” mentality associated with the Yankees, the attitude of talk radio hosts, or something else, Mets fans tend to approach the team waiting for the other shoe to drop and the team to fail.
As the self-proclaimed Optimistic Mets Fan, I tend not to take this approach anyway, but I’ve found that this rule is not true across the board. Oddly enough, there are two Mets players that never fail to bring out smiles and optimism; Johan Santana and Jose Reyes.
These two Anti-Mets, more than any other player, bring out positive vibes from Mets fans. Carlos Beltran, despite being very clutch, has the cloud of his strike out against the Cardinals in the 2006 playoffs. David Wright has been considered almost un-clutch by many fans.
Even if it’s not true, when David Wright comes up with a runner on third, many are expecting a strkeout. When Oliver Perez lets up a leadoff double, most fans expect him to walk two following that. Jason Bay hasn’t even played a game yet and you just know many fans are already expecting every opposing runner to score from second on a single to left field.
Reyes is different. When Reyes gets on to lead off an inning, Mets fans give him second base like it’s a foregone conclusion. They expect him to score on any ball hit to the outfield. They expect opposing pitchers to get nervous and possibly balk in runs.
It’s similar for Johan Santana. If it’s an Oliver Perez start, fans are betting the over/under on how many walks he gives up. Or how many foul balls John Maine has. If it’s a close game in the 6th or 7th inning and Pelfrey is pitching and lets up a leadoff single, Mets fans think “Here we go again.” If Santana lets up that same leadoff single even many of the pessimistic fans are just thinking about double plays and are recalculating how many pitches it’ll now take to get the next three guys out to see if Santana can pitch another inning afterwards.
This is the true meaning of the phrase, “As Reyes goes, so do the Mets.” Mets fans expect winning results from Reyes and when they get it they feel the Mets will win. Johan is such a fierce competitor that as fans we’re surprised when the opponents’ bats don’t literally explode under his gaze. It doesn’t matter that the Mets have never pitched a no-hitter; when Johan strikes out the leadoff batter, the first thing we think of is “26 to go.”
This post is also visible at The Real Dirty Mets Blog.