The New York Mets have spent 50 years in the Big Apple, many of those being the butt of a joke. While we love the Amazins for their grand runs to World Series titles in 1969 and 1986, there are unfortunately many more bad years than good. The team has made the postseason seven times in their 51 seasons.
New York’s National League franchise has, therefore, been an easy source for comedy, yet it was a drama that made me laugh the hardest at their use of the Metropolitans. On Sunday’s Mad Men, Jon Hamm’s Don Draper was at his drunkest, and begging Freddie Rumsen (Joel Murray) to bring him to Shea. He’s so drunk, when Freddie finally gets him home (after not seeing the game) he still worries about missing the National Anthem.
That, to me, was the perfect representation of the sad times we’ve had with the Mets in their half century. A drunken sociopath’s last resort at the very depths of his disease. (Also, let’s not forget, that Mets pennant you see at the top of this story originally belonged to Lane Pryce, who eventually hung himself in that office.) However, let’s look at the lighter touches toward the Mets in their history.
Saturday Night Live
Chico Escuela is what immediately came to The AP Party staff’s mind when I pitched this idea. One of Garrett Morris’ Weekend Update creations on the show, never really had much to do with the joke being on the Mets. It was more his accent, and his famous catchphrase “Baseball been berry berry good to me.”
That said, he did eventually “write” a tell-all book, Bad Stuff ‘Bout The Mets. Escuela tried to sully the good name of Tom Seaver, claiming “he once borrow Chico’s soap and no give it back!” We Mets fans will listen to no such lies about #41’s sparkling reputation.
Fittingly, the Mets are featured in one of the worst episodes of the Matt Groening cartoon’s original run, “A Leela of Her Own.” The third season show features Leela as the world’s first female blernsballer (the futuristic, nonsense version of baseball played in the show) for the New New York Mets. Fittingly, the Metsies are the laughingstock of the league, and Leela makes them no more than a sideshow.
There is one Easter Egg in Futurama regarding the Mets, which rarely even referenced the Yankees’ Year 3000 existence. In one of the show’s “Anthology of Interest” episodes, Shea Stadium is depicted. It is still listed as only “Home of the 1969 and 1986 World Series champion Mets.” A thousand years and never a Mets winner…
Seinfeld, of course, stars the world’s most famous Met fan in Jerry Seinfeld. These days, the mostly-retired Seinfeld (save for the evil version of himself he plays on Louie) will occasionally pop in and try his hand at commentary with the SNY Mets broadcast team. He’s weirdly very good at it, as are his infrequent calls into WFAN to discuss the club.
Though Jerry mostly made comedic fodder out of the Yankees, the Mets of course are featured, especially in the epic, two-part episode that guest stars Keith Hernandez. Those episodes, titled “The Boyfriend,” featured one of Seinfeld‘s greatest comedic set pieces, “The Magic Loogie.”
The Mets are mostly a joke throughout the series as perpetuated by Liz’s on-again, off-again boyfriend Dennis Duffy’s love for them. Mr. Met, however, makes an appearance in what is perhaps the strangest episode in the show’s history, Season 6’s ‘The Tuxedo Begins.’ Tina Fey’s Liz basically turns into The Joker throughout the episode, dressing and behaving like the character in her delay to get to work.
Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin), meanwhile, is considering running for Mayor of New York City, but is afraid of interacting with the city’s lower classes until Tracy brings him out. Jack, not recognizing Liz and instead seeing a potential criminal, pushes her into a pile of garbage, winning the respect of random New Yorkers on the street. Included in that mob? Mr. Met, of course.
The Mets have been referenced twice in the historic cartoon. The more popular one is when Apu, trying to assimilate into American culture, declares “The nye Mets are my favorite squadron!” in a makeshift Mets uniform. The reference is actually now playable in the The Simpsons’ Tapped Out, a game for android phones.
The other reference comes from Season 22’s mostly enjoyable ‘MoneyBART’ (this is the one with the Banksy couch gag) where Homer believes that winners and losers are all that matters. He tells Lisa, “The ’69 Mets will live on forever. But do you think anybody cares about Ron Swoboda’s wife and kids? Not me! And I assume not Ron Swoboda.”
You’ve waited long enough for this joke, here it is.