The Metnik is a wallower. He likes to wallow in great pools of self-pity, as we've seen. How can you wallow properly unless you are the worst? If the Mets go to playing .500 ball, they might end up playing it to 500 people. I suspect Mr. Stengel is too shrewd a man to break out in an attack of victory. But there is in all of us that streak of the Old Nick which on occasion makes us, though inadvertently and even unwilling, pursue the bitch goddess Success. Let us all hope, and fervently, that Mr. Stengel keeps his head and does not listen to the siren ditty of the goddess. Would he dare shirk his responsibilities and, in the dark of night, bring big league baseball to Flushing? I think not.
The result of Stengel's calculated syntax and the astoundingly bad quality of Met baseball, hit the Yanks hard in 1963. In 1962 the Yanks drew 1,493,574 but last year slipped to 1,308,920. Who will win? Yogi or Casey? The best athletes or the worst? Shea Stadium or a winning team? Boring perfection, or endearing ineptitude?
My money is, and has been, on the Mets. They have turned inside out one of the sagest (supposedly) of American political maxims: they are proving you can beat someone, and resoundingly, with no one.
And they are doing it by being bush, which is the thing to be these days in the Sports Capital of the World.