Two storylines you’ll hear a lot of between now and the first pitch on Wednesday night are (a) how bad it’s going to be for Indians’ fans to see a Cliff Lee vs. CC Sabathia matchup in Game 1 of the World Series; and (b) how bad it’s going to be for Mets fans to see perhaps their two biggest rivals — and certainly their two biggest bogeymen — facing off in the Yankees and the Phillies.
While I’m not an Indians fan, I am an Ohioan, and I can pretty much say that the Lee-Sabathia thing is overplayed. Midwesterners tend to take things like that in stride, and it’s not like Clevelanders are any strangers to bad fortune. Tribe fans feel pretty good about both Lee and Sabathia, neither of whom left Cleveland voluntarily, and each of whom provided a lot of enjoyment while they were here. Indians Nation blames Mark Shapiro and the Dolans for letting those big guys go, and second on the list of blame is baseball’s whole financial structure, which most of them feel is simply broken (which it may be, though I don’t think Tribe fans are first among those who have been wronged by the system). Upshot: no one is going to freak out about this too much in Cleveland.
Mets fans, however? Well, that’s a different story. Mets blogger Matt Cerrone:
. . . the Phillies anger me every day, where as I only think of the Yankees during a few days in June and the occasional October.
So, for me, I can handle knowing my respectful Yankee friends and family are happy, because it means Phillies fans will be sad and disappointed, and their failure makes me happy. So, again, it’s not that I am rooting for the Yankees, it’s that I’m rooting for the Phillies to fail.
I have a hard time putting myself in the shoes of Mets fans — they’re pretty delusional shoes, after all — but I think I can get behind that line of reasoning. The Yankees have only directly killed the Mets’ dreams once. The Phillies have done it fairly often in recent years. Or, at the very least, they were closer to the scene of the crime when the Mets killed their own dreams by imploding late in the season. Either way, if I were a Mets fan, I’d have to root for the Yankees to win or, as Cerrone puts it, root for the Phillies to lose.
Actually, now that I think about it, if I were a Mets fan, I’d probably just order a full season’s worth of some shows I’ve missed on NetFlix and pretend that the World Series was already over.