Monday, March 21, 2011

Arsenal, The Mets and What Makes a Fan

Gunnersaurus, meet....
.....Mr. Met
The frustration has continued since my last post.  Arsenal were knocked out of the FA Cup by hated Man United and then put on a sub par performance away to West Brom this past weekend.  Arsenal were down 2-0 with about 20 minutes remaining to an inferior team and looked pretty uninspired throughout.  The team turned it on from there and ended up with a draw, but with ManUre getting a lucky win, it just put Arsenal 2 points further behind the top. 

So, in less than 3 weeks Arsenal went from being in competition for four trophy's to fighting for just one.  If Arsenal win all of their remaining 9 games, they will be champions.  It is in their control.  Unfortunately the team roster is depleted with enough injuries to fill an entire ward of a hospital.

Rather than dwell on all the negatives and the second guessing, I refuse to give up and remain optimistic and loyal to the team.  There are currently 18 teams in the EPL that wish they were in Arsenal's position.

Instead of the game specifics, I'm going to focus on fandom.  The Twittershphere was a buzz recently with Arsenal fans calling for Arsene Wenger to be fired, trashing various squad players and most interesting of all questioning the non North London based Arsenal supporters.  In essence, some long time London born fans were directing some vitriol at those fans from abroad that dare to support THEIR team.  Comical isn't the word.  FIFA and the major European leagues, including the EPL have been courting a global fan base for years.  Clubs such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus and AC Milan as well as top English clubs including Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea have been marketing their "product" to attract an international fan base for years.  I've had the chance to see a number of these teams here in New York.  In fact, I got Thierry Henry to sign Arsenal programs from games that I attended while he was with Arsenal, only when he was in New York with Barcelona.

So when locals lash back at "outsiders" and "foreigners" it reeks of total xenophobia.  They get all high and mighty and talk about how their great grandfathers had to walk 15 miles in a snow storm to see the Woolwich Arsenal or they skipped the births and graduations of their children in order to attend a match as if that makes them a "real" fan.  To use an English colloquialism, that is bollocks.  Give me a break.

I once took a train from London to Leeds by myself (my London based friends didn't want to travel) to see Arsenal at Elland Road in an FA Cup 3rd Round tie.  (Arsenal won 4-1 despite Lehman gifting a goal to Mark Viduka to start the scoring).  Then on the way back to London I was verbally assaulted by some crazy lunatic shouting anti US and George Bush comments at me (I did not vote for Bush).  Who came to my rescue?  Fellow Arsenal fans.  They didn't jump in and start accusing me of being a fake fan and a bandwagon jumper.  They were thrilled and amazed that I, a girl on my own from New York, loved Arsenal enough to head to Leeds to see the Gooners.  Does that make me more of a fan than someone who lives on the other side of the world but watches games live at ungodly hours on horrible streams or at stinky pubs at 7 a.m.?  I don't think so.

(I also want to know what the "real fans" think of all the young English kids I see wearing Yankee hats and Kobe Bryant jerseys or attending the recent NFL games in London.)

That brings me to my other team, the New York Mets.  There is no comparison between my 2 teams.  Arsenal are like caviar while the Mets are like spam or marmite.  The Mets truly do suck and truly do deserve grief, yet the fans stick with their woeful team while the crosstown money grubbing Yankees get all the attention.

Our owners lost millions in the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme and are named in a major lawsuit currently heading to court.  We have no money to sign good players and therefore we head in to the new season already knowing that we are going to suck.  We would love to have more folks across the world as Mets fans and I invite you to join us.  We need your support (as well as your money).


An example of the Mets' fiscal stupidity are the events of the past three days.  On Friday the Mets finally released the gimpy Luis Castillo (he will earn $6 million this year) and is best known for dropping a routine pop up that turned a Met victory in to a loss at Yankee Stadium.  Then today, Mets fans everywhere rejoiced when news broke that the man the team will be paying 12 million dollars this season, Oliver Perez, was FINALLY cut from the team.  No more booing for Ollie. So, with the season set to begin in less than two weeks, the Mets spent $18 million dollars not to bring in players, but to get rid of 2 players!!!

$18 million to say goodbye
Here's a sampling of some of the fan reactions on Twitter:

Oliver Perez was released by the Mets today. It was worth the $12m. There is a god.

The name "Oliver Perez" became synonymous with failure in the same manner "Madoff" is equated to fraud"

Time to throw a party lol RT @DavidLCreme: The Mets released Oliver Perez....finally

The best move they've made in years. RT @Mets The Mets officially announce LHP Oliver Perez has been released.

Finally the Mets realize that Oliver Perez is a terrible pitcher. I no longer have to know a loss is coming in the playoffs when he starts.


Goodbye Oliver Perez, Don't let the door hit you on the way out!

The Mets have finally released Oliver Perez. We're freeee

Mets release Oliver Perez... Already have released Castillo. Looks like a better year already!

JoePontillo Joe Pontillo
The mere fact that Oliver Perez was wearing sandals the day he was released makes me that much happier that he's gone. #mets

The New York Mets release Luis Castillo and now Oliver Perez... thank god #ourseason #11daystilopeningday

Wow. Fans so happy #Mets released Oliver Perez, his name is a trending topic in NYC. Wonder what the fake @MrOlliePerez46 will do now (C;

Glad I don't have to share a city with Oliver Perez anymore.

Yes da mets release oliver perez about got damn time

this week has started off great. oliver perez cut. good shit. #mets

Never having to see oliver perez pitch in a mets uniform again makes me incredibly happy.

Bye bye Oliver Perez... I doubt you'll be missed by anyone in NY.

Oliver Perez finally released from the Mets!!! Let's send him to the nuclear reactors in Japan and put him to good use!!!

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS Oliver Perez is not a New York Met anymore ! YEEEAAAHHHH BUDDYYYYY !!!!

Come down to Kodiak's at 1 for the next Mets preseason game vs. Atlanta. Guaranteed to be Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo free!!!

The #Mets & Oliver Perez are over. I think I'll miss the laughter the most.

Thank god the mets released oliver perez he was absolutely horrible.

Dear Oliver Perez, its been real, now get the fuck out of here! Xoxox love, every mets fan

Twelve million U.S.dollars to Oliver Perez not to pitch for the Mets .Seem like thats the money we should have used to bomb Libya

Por finnnnnnnn dejaron los Mets libre a Oliver Perez... Bye, Bye Ollie creo que nadie en los Mets te va a extra├▒ar.

I like to imagine that in Queens right now, some poor intern is physically eating the paper of Ollie Perez's contract.

@TheRopolitans Will they declare that henceforth from this day, March 21 will be known as Oliver Perez Independence Day

I'll give the final word to new Mets GM Sandy Alderson who was interviewed by Gary Cohn during today'sMets pre-season game.  When asked about the release of Oliver Perez Alderson laughed and said, "It allowsthe media to go on to something else that they can point to negatively."  That's the way it is to be a Mets fan and it shows that Alderson is aware of the shit he’s stepped in to and that he has a sense of humor about the situation.

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