The unhealthy obsession with the 1986 Mets

The apple does not fall far from the tree. Fred Wilpon is fixated on baseball’s past. So are fans of the New York Mets. The only difference is Mr. Wilpon is obsessed with the Brooklyn Dodgers while Mets fans are stuck on the 1986 New York Mets. So much so they still celebrate and talk endlessly about that epic World Series against the Boston Red Sox, particularly Game 6.

I can honestly say I am tired of it. Where was I during Game 6? Who cares! What are Mets fans really celebrating? Maybe they are celebrating the fact the team has not brought a championship since then. Maybe they are just trying to cover up their sorrows over the fact the team has not gotten to the playoffs since 2006. Perhaps their thoughts are along the lines of: “Well we don’t have a championship now. That one was amazin’. Let’s keep it alive”.

Please do not misunderstand what I am trying to say here. It was a great World Series. It was memorable. The Mets did not look like they were going to win it. Yet they came from behind in the oddest of ways and won it all.

Great!

Wonderful!

Let’s Go Mets! Let’s Go…1986 Mets! There lies the problem. Mets fans are forever stuck in 1986. It is not just the 25th anniversary of the ball going through Buckner’s legs. Every year the Mets do nothing, the 1986 Mets are brought up. You are not stuck in 2000 when the Mets made it to the World Series. You are not stuck in 2006 when they were one game away from the Fall Classic. You want to forever be stuck in 1986 when the New York Mets were running this town.

You do not want to think about the team as it is now with their key player, Jose Reyes perhaps walking away. Nor do you want to face the fact GM Sandy Alderson is not going to be a big buyer despite the contracts that have fallen off the payroll. The fences changing are not that important to you right now either. Why? The 1986 Mets had their problems with their drug use and drinking. It ruined the career of Doc Gooden. He did not even go to the parade. Yet you are fixated. Some of you do not even remember it because you were too little. You have just watched it on DVD or ESPN Classic or SNY.

I am here to tell you it is time to get over it. Let it go. Face up to today and what is happening with the team now. Personally, I am all about “what did the 2011 Mets do for me?” What will the 2012 Mets do for me? How about 2013? What will the minors produce for us? Is there another Gooden or Darryl Strawberry? Of course not! Those guys were special. They were unique as is every player that becomes a part of this team. It is not fair to the future New York Mets to want another 1986 team. Give it a rest!

Fans of the New York Rangers do not still celebrate the 1994 Stanley Cup. New York Jets fans do not celebrate the 1969 Super Bowl championship. The attitude is “what have you done for me lately?” That is the way it should be. Keep obsessing about the 1986 Mets and you will find yourself in a deep grave because you will be disappointed. Let the past remain in the past. Live in the present and look toward a future that has yet to be written.

To get my full opinion on this topic, check out the latest episode of The 5 Tool Show that I did on Tuesday.

15 comments for “The unhealthy obsession with the 1986 Mets

  1. October 26, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Aaah, youth…

    Couple of things in rebuttal.

    First of all, this phenomenon nothing new among Mets fans: between 1977 (when I was 12) and 1984, fans were still “obsessing,” as you put it, over the 1969 championship.

    Second: You weren’t there. I hate to get all generational on you, but you have no idea what it was like aound here back then. All the City could talk about was the Mets — and in a good way. I don’t think you’ve ever heard that. You grew up in the age when every Met success is considered a fluke or blind luck and every failure is deemed a character flaw by the MSM and the talking heads: of COURSE the Mets failed; they’re..well, the Mets.

    Finally, Jet fans and Ranger fans most certainly DO still celebrate their lone/most recent championships — this is what is meant by the phrase “flags fly forever.” Specifically about the ’86 Mets, I think it’s more than apropos to recognize the 25th anniversary of the second most important milestone in a franchise’s history. If you’re not going to celebrate THAT, you’re not going to celebrate anything.

    • LongTimeFan
      October 27, 2011 at 12:55 am

      Mercado seems to be over-embellishing, exaggerating and repetitive in her disdain which to me appears to have nothing at all to do with the topic, but rather to capitalize on opportunity to assert strength and dominance by knocking others, none of which impress me.

      That said, I tend to agree there’s over-indulgence in 1986 and especially now. ESPN NY, Adam Rubin and company are leading the charge, ad nauseaum. Balance is key, and right now there is none. I was there in 1986 as adult older than Hangley. It was an incredible time, memories matter, but there is overkill and is what’s going on right now.

      • Brian Joura
        October 27, 2011 at 7:59 am

        Fan, if you’re as old as you claim, certainly you’ve heard the non-PC phrase — “The pot calling the kettle black.”

        Except what you wrote in the first graph applies only to you, not the author, in this particular case.

    • Caroline
      October 24, 2015 at 5:49 pm

      I can’t believe people-haters actually waste time and energy putting down people who want to remember something that means something to them, don’t judge what is meaningful to others, lest not ye be judged for what is meaningful to you. And who want to put negativity on one of the rare times New Yorkers had a reason to celebrate together for something good, (other that New Years Eve). I suppose they feel that is cliche as well.

  2. October 30, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Well, here’s a question: why would anyone of the same (or even different, for that matter) fanbase fault their own for celebrating the past? I find it ironic that a blogger for a website with the tagline “Past, Present and Future” would do such a thing. I find it adorable and endearing that so many Mets fans celebrate the past and are not ashamed of it either. And I was old enough to know having been in attendance at the games.

    We can find any Schmoe’s opinions on Jose Reyes and why Sandy Alderson is dumb/smart/genius/whatever but I like to call the history of the team “Mets porn” because it ties together the “past, present and future.” As an example, I was 4 years old when the “Hendu Candu” home run happened, all I’ve heard about that time is stories and different perspectives. I love that stuff. It makes me appreciate the present and future more. Also, as as a proud Jets and Rangers fan, I had to chuckle because they celebrate the past ad nauseum, especially the Rangers who seem to retire a different number from that team to distract us from the headaches of watching them currently! But I love that stuff, and so do others. Furthermore, Jets fans not celebrating 1969? Hardly the truth. Joe Namath is a douche, and fans WORSHIP him because of that title. All teams fan bases celebrate the past – even the Knicks who didn’t win ANYTHING in 1994 celebrate that team more than the 1970s championships teams, IMO.

    To “get over it” as you suggest is not the type of tone fans who read the site would like to hear, imo. Why antagonize a fun time for being a fan, whether you remember it or not or appreciate it? As CharlieH says above, in the 1970s, all the fans had to go on was remembering the past. Incidentally, comparing fans to Fred Wilpon? Seriously? He celebrates a team that left town over 50 years ago, and refused to acknowledge that the Mets had a quirky and fantastic history when building his shrine. A better idea would have been the redesign the stadium will have to do when the Mets win another championship. Aye carumba! The Championship Club will need THREE doors to get in there!

  3. Mets Writer
    October 30, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    The reason Mets fans keep re-living the ’86 season is because, unfortunately, that’s all we have right now. It’s been one disappointing season after another for the past decade plus, and even though that team has absolutely nothing to do with the teams of the 90s, 2000s and beyond, it is a reminder of how awesome the game of baseball is and how anything is possible! It is what keeps us believing and is a part of this team’s very limited history, in terms of winning and celebrating. How any Mets fan can say “get over it” is beyond me.

  4. October 30, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Have you seen our future? It makes reliving 1986 over and over seem a lot better. Kidding…

    If the Mets were a more successful team (and I don’t mean at the Yankees level), we’d have more to celebrate, and it would be more diversified. But looking at Mets history, unless you celebrate random Mets (I’m not against this for the 50th anniversary), there aren’t many choices. 1969 (we really don’t do that enough). 1986 (ok, maybe it’s too much, but they were something special, and it is an anniversary year). 1973 is under-celebrated. Maybe get them in 2013. 1999 was a great team that maybe 2014 won’t be too soon to celebrate. 2000 and 2006 ended so badly that they may not be worth remembering.

    • Tanya
      October 30, 2011 at 10:00 pm

      Dyhrdmet you got the whole point of the article. I’m not against celebrating certain teams. It is just the excessive celebrations like with the ’86 Mets that I think is ridiculous already. You always celebrate a big anniversary like the 25th and 50th. But if I had a penny for every time a Mets fan brought up 1986 since 2006, I would be richer than Donald Trump. lol

      • October 30, 2011 at 10:58 pm

        What excessive celebrations do you speak of? I’m really curious because there might have been some retrospectives, but nothing over the top was done this year. the Mets didn’t even have an official celebration for pete’s sake! The last time anything of the “past” was celebrated on that team was when Cashen, Davey, Darryl and Doc were inducted in the HOF. Which IMO was way overdue.

        Perhaps the reason why 1986 is so important was the way it was won. I’m sure you watched Game 6 in STL on Thursday. How many people rushed to compare it to the 86 Game 6? Not even Mets fans, a lot of them, even baseball analysts. Methinks you were trying to stir the pot, and you did a very good job, but the argument itself is very weak. I don’t think it’s an unhealthy obsession.

        BTW I do remember the 2000 team being celebrated in 2010 before a Subway Series game. I thought it odd, b/c they lost the series and it was against their opponent FCOL! Like I said, I thought it was odd, but a nice gesture.

        • Brian Joura
          October 31, 2011 at 7:36 am

          Coop I think you are missing the point. The author wrote in the first graph, “Mets fans are stuck on the 1986 New York Mets.” This is not about what the team did to recognize the 86 club but the fans who still keep that memory in the front of their mind.

          Is the author supposed to recount every conversation she’s had with Mets fans to satisfy your demands? If so, I think that’s an unreasonable standard on your half.

          Look, it’s an opinion piece – you don’t have to agree with the conclusion. I know I don’t. But when I read the piece it made me re-examine my beliefs and forced me to look at the issue in a way I never considered before.

          You can dismiss that as stirring the pot if you wish. But I don’t think this is an ESPN – I’ll say something to be controversial – type piece. I think this is the author’s true opinion on the subject.

          • October 31, 2011 at 10:34 am

            Brian, I am all for dissenting POVs. I’ve had my own, for sure. But with each opinion comes the chance that people will disagree with it. I’m not sure where you are getting that I am demanding the OP recount every conversation with Mets fans about this, but it didn’t force me to look at my views on that team. In fact, the antagonistic attitude towards people who celebrate the past was a complete turn off.

            I’ll be curious to see how a site that celebrates the past, present and future will embrace the 50th anniversary of the team this year, something that Dana Brand put his heart and soul into before he passed away earlier this year. Or will that be dismissed as simply Mets fans holding on to the past too much? 1986 was a year that a celebrated team that was supposed to win didn’t let us down. I think of all the things to be critical about fans for, it was dumb. But as you suggest, we all have opinions and you know what that means…

        • October 31, 2011 at 7:46 am

          I think the “excessive” celebrations have been more from the fans than from the team. The championship teams deserve the biggest celebrations. But how often, before the 20th, were the 1986 Mets celebrated? I think it had been too new until 2006 (one or two players were still playing 10 years ago/15 years later), and with the influx of ’86 Mets in the system sa coaches/managers/broadcasters, the fans re-embraced that group. And with no other team on the horizon coming up on a new 20th anniversary, some can’t let this one go.

          • October 31, 2011 at 10:29 am

            BTW Jason, I thought about what you said about 1973. I disagree. Fans harp on that every day. “Ya Gotta Believe” sound familiar to anyone? I run on Team McGraw – even the Phillies have co-opted that saying from one of our own!

      • October 14, 2012 at 11:14 am

        You’re a talented writer and a devoted fan. You have youth, but not for very long. One day you’ll reach an age and cherish the memories of yesteryear; not only for the victory, but for the sights, smells and attendant memories of that day.

        But, before you do, you need the NY Mets to give you a World Championship to celebrate!

        You are a loyal fan and you deserve to have a victory to tell your grandchildren about.

        I grew up with Willie Mays stories, so when I saw him in a Mets uniform in 1972, I was spellbound. I was just a young boy, but that number 24…with all the stories, was like a living legend right before my eyes.

        You’ll get there. One day, you will tell your kids about this guy, “Matt Harvey” who had a 15 year career with the Mets and shattered records…or someone else like him.

        You’ll be glad.

        I enjoyed your writing! Peter

  5. Brian Joura
    October 31, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Coop

    We have no plans for any extravaganza to delve into the team’s past for the 50th anniversary. If other sites want to do that – more power to them! Instead, we’ll continue to write about the past just like we always have. If you’re interested, just click on the link that says “History” in the grey menu bar, located below the main picture on any page of the site. On the first page alone you’ll see stories about teams and players from every decade in the club’s history. Bob Miller, Roy McMillan, the 1972 Mets’ 24-5 streak, a first-hand recollection of the 1986 team, the most obscure Mets of the past 20 years, a remembrance of Game 5 of the 2000 World Series. And lots more.

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