For various reasons I don’t get to watch very many Mets games. And most of the games I do watch I watch alone. To help make the experience less lonely I often watch with my laptop open and monitor my Twitter feed during the game. The interaction with other fans helps make it feel as if I’m watching with a group (which is always a better way to watch a sporting event). Last night I watched a game like this for the first time in a few weeks and it was a very revealing experience.
One of the hot topics of discussion by Mets fans over the last few years has been the performance (or lack thereof) of Jason Bay. Since being acquired by the Mets Bay has hit .245 with 21 home runs and 109 RBI. His OPS with the Mets is .713, well below his career mark of .859 and the .915 he had in a year and a half with the Red Sox. He’s also spent 40% of his time with the Mets on the disabled list. Did I mention he’s getting paid $66 million over 4 years for this performance?
As Bay went 0 for 5 last night, extending his hitless streak to 16 at bats since being activated from his latest stint on the DL, fans are growing more and more frustrated. I’m with them on that. He’s being paid a lot of money to fill a role that he has not been able to perform in. But what finally sank in to me last night as I watched my Twitter stream is that many Mets fans are actually rooting against Bay.
This was a revelation to me. How can you root against a guy on your team? I can understand if a players poor performance, whether on the field or off, makes it hard to root for him. But against him? What does that accomplish?
It’s obvious that Bay is not working out for the Mets. It’s obvious that fans want him gone. But is rooting against him going to hasten his exit? Or just prolong his stay?
And what about the team? Isn’t rooting against one of the players akin to rooting against the team?
I take the opposite approach. I root for him. I want him to turn it around. I want him to succeed. I want him to get hits, knock in runs, etc. The more the better. Why? Because every hit he gets helps the team. Every play he makes helps the team.
And if you’re one of the people who want Bay off the team (and I’m not saying that would be wrong) then you should be rooting for him too. Why? Because nobody will take him off the Mets hands unless he starts performing.
So I ask once again: How can you root against a guy on your team?