I was in Vegas about a month ago, so I asked my friend Aaron if he wanted me to bet on anything for him while I was there.
"Put fifty bucks on the Mets to win the World Series," he said.
I wasn’t sure if he was serious, since there is basically no chance the New York Mets (our favorite baseball team) are going to win the World Series this year (or, it seems, ever again).
He said he was indeed serious, so I agreed to not only buy the ticket but also split the cost with him. Despite the fact that there is virtually no chance the Mets will win the World Series, the odds were 60-1 (I would have believed it if they were 600,000-1). So I now have this ticket that will pay $3,000 if the Mets win the World Series in 2011.
Gambling, by definition is a risk. And some risks are better than others - but betting on the Mets to win the World Series is not what I would call a sound financial decision.
So the question becomes not just why we would knowingly flush $50 down the toilet (or, to be more specific, donate it to the owners of the Hard Rock Hotel), but what do we gain from showing our faith in a corporate entity (the Mets) that shows us no loyalty, pays us virtually no heed, and only serves to take our money, disrupt our lives and aggravate us?
To give a bit more context, Aaron and I were Mets season ticket holders for four years last decade. The Mets rewarded us by: falling one game short of the World Series (2006); collapsing in historic fashion (2007); collapsing in less historic but significantly painful fashion (2008); and sucking really badly (2009).
During that span, the Mets moved into a beautiful new stadium (whose naming rights were purchased, for $400 million, by a bank that would need a federal bailout), jacked up their prices, and fielded a progressively worse product.
The team’s front office made unconscionably stupid personnel moves, the owners found themselves embroiled in the Bernie Madoff mess, and our tickets became impossible to unload (the games, as you might imagine, became unbearable to watch).
It was all enough to make some fans leave for Los Angeles (or at least this fan). When I moved to California, I was so relieved to be 3,000 miles away from this franchise to which I had given so much of my time, money and mental energy. I was free!
And yet, there I was on Opening Day in Miami, watching the Mets begin the 2011 campaign against the Florida Marlins (the Mets lost, of course). And here I was in LA all last week, watching the Mets on TV. And even this morning, as the team was dropping a doubleheader that seemed to all but eliminate them from playoff contention (and it’s only April 14th!), I was at the gym, wearing my Dwight Gooden jersey t-shirt as if I were a member of the team.
Canceling our season tickets didn’t do the trick. Moving 3,000 miles away didn’t do the trick. What else can I do to rid myself of these miserable people and this miserable franchise? If you have any answers, please tell me, because I can’t figure it out.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go find that Vegas betting slip. I think the Mets are ready to make a comeback.