I have a confession to make. I am a Minnesota Vikings fan. My sister just groaned because she thinks this is going to be another of my NFL recaps I’ve been posting the past few weeks. It’s not so bear with me. As I was saying, I am a Vikings fan, and, I’m ashamed to admit, a Mets fan as well. You don’t realize what that’s like. It’s tantamount to having herpes and leprosy. There’s just nothing to hang your hat on. I can’t be sure but there’s got to be a pun in there somewhere. In my lifetime, the Mets and Vikings have combined for a grand total of one championship. The Mets won the World Series in 1986. If you want to get technical about it, their first Series win came in 1969 about three months after I was born. I hadn’t even cut my first tooth yet so I’m not counting that one. The Vikings became an NFL franchise in 1961. They’ve made it to four Super Bowls… and lost them all. Why do I bring all this up? Is the purpose of this blog post to pick at those old wounds and, once open and oozing, apply copious amounts of salt? No. It’s worse.
A good friend of mine is a fan of all things Chicago. He pulls for the Bears and Cubs. In other words, he can feel my pain. The Bears last won the big one in 1985. The Cubs’ last championship came six years prior to the start of World War I. That’s the longest drought of any major pro sports team in North America if not the world. It’s not the Cubs’ fault they’ve been so bad for so long. In 1945, there was this unfortunate incident involving a goat. No sooner had they recovered from that, a mere fifty-eight years later, when a home team fan single handedly ended the Cubs’ would-be World Series run. The Mets can’t blame their woes on fans. livestock or anything else. They just stink. They overspend and underachieve and manage to fall on their faces every September, assuming they hadn’t already done that in June, July or August.
This season, my friend and I decided at least one of us would benefit from our team’s failures. We made a wager. When you’re talking about the likes of the Mets and Cubs, you can’t really bet on which team is the best. That would be like asking which you preferred, a kick in the nuts or a sharp stick in the eye. We instead bet on which team was worse. In order for me to win the bet, the Mets had to finish with a worse record than the Cubs. My friend would then have to say nice things about the Vikings in a public forum. If he won, and the Cubs did worse, I would have to somehow come up with nice things to say about the Bears. I know that sounds bad but I wasn’t worried. There was no question the Cubs would be lousy. I was completely confident the Mets would be even worse. Over the past three seasons, They’ve trimmed their payroll from around $200 million down to about a quarter of that. They don’t have any hitting. They don’t have much pitching once you get past the top of their rotation. They don’t have anything more substantial that a whole lot of wishful thinking. Alas, I overestimated my competition. The season is now over. The Mets finished in third place with a record of 74 and 86. The Cubs finished in last at 66 – 96. I’ve always heard the expression I can’t win for losing. I never really understood what it meant… until now. Those dudes on Hee – Haw said it best. “Gloom. Despair. Have agony on me.” The Mets still stink. Their brand of stink just isn’t as foul as the so called “lovable losers.” And now I have to say nice things about the Bears? All of a sudden, that kick in the nuts doesn’t sound so bad.