Listen up. Now's your chance. All those who hate the New York Letsgometstropolitans, who abhor the high fives, disdain the curtain calls, hold in extreme contempt the philosophy that pinstripes (stolen, obviously) can possibly go with the combination of blue and orange (yuuuuck!), and who, fairly sick and tired of this team's superiority complex, wish upon them an eternal rotting in the conflagrations of Splitfingersville...all rise.
Not you, Mr. White Rat Herzog. We want objectivity here—enmity on general principles. A Sour Dozen Reasons To Hate the Letsgoes. And make 'em short. This could turn out to be a video.
1) Gary Carter. Could be the first six reasons right there. Regarded baseball-wide as the quintessential hot dog, the Kid is now just another wizened wiener. Before he even came to New York, the Letsgoes called him Camera Carter because that's what his nose was constantly in front of.
2) Keith Hernandez. Maybe it's the way Mex pounds his glove and bodaciously points at the other Letsgoes on the most routine play. The night Hernandez returned from baseball's drug trials in Pittsburgh, he wondered how people would react. "Bleep the people," said Mets pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre. "I appreciate that," said Hernandez. That's in Mex's own book.
3) The Books. Bats, by Davey Johnson. Darryl!, by Darryl Strawberry. Rookie, by Dwight Gooden, a coffee table job no less. If At First, by Hernandez. If you aren't repulsed enough already, the parochial New York publishing industry is bound to bring out more this off-season.
4) The Names. Darling? Strawberry? Kid? Mex? Heep? HoJo? Are they serious? Mookie? What is this, Fraggle Rock?
5) The Album. Dr. K on the Vine Street label. Featuring Gooden dressed in a hospital gown and standing next to an I.V. apparatus. Side A is "Dr. K," Side B "Dr. K" (Short Version) and "Dr. K" (Track Mix). Lead raps by Dr. K and Mellow Mel. Backup vocals by The Dr. K'ers. Sold everywhere except at airport Hertz counters.
6) The Slogan. Baseball Like It Oughta Be. Come on. From what linguistic genius did the Letsgoes' advertising guys learn English, John Travolta?
7) The Letsgoes Series Party. No admission without invitation. Pier 59. Laser show. Hal Linden, Glenn Close, Carly Simon, Roberta Flack, the cast of Beehive, Chita Rivera. Chita sang her old standby, Ya Gotta Have Heart. From the hit play Damn Letsgoes.
8) The Fans. "People in New York have black teeth, and their breath smells of beer," says Astro reliever Charlie Kerfeld. "And the men are even worse." See them throw yellow golf balls at the opposing outfielder. See them tear down the stadium. But understand them. It goes with...
9) The Neighborhood. Willets Point, believed to be the area described by F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby as: "...a valley of ashes...where ashes take the form of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and...of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air."
10) Davey Johnson, Letsgoes manager, characterized even in the otherwise fawning New York house press as aloof and rude. "I thought Harry Caray invented baseball until I read Davey's book," said Herzog. And isn't Johnson a tad old to still be going by "Davey"?
11) The Little Pests. Lenny (Nails) Dykstra, Wally Backman. Something about their attitude. Otherwise mild-mannered folks would walk a mile to punch out Dykstra's curled-lip Halloween-pumpkin smile as he twitches at the plate. Opposing pitchers regularly throw at Lenny in spring training. "We get along, we win, we have fun. That's scummy or something?" says Wally in the constant Met refrain. When Dave Smith, the Houston relief pitcher, was told that Wally Backman thought he was a mediocre pitcher, Smith said, "Who's Wally Backman?"
12) Whining. The Letsgoes didn't invent sour grapes—another Big Apple outfit, the New York Yacht Club, did that—but they just squeezed out serious amounts of classlessness in denigrating Astro pitcher Mike Scott's mastery of them, alluding to "scuff-balls" and "cheating." If the Letsgoes blow this year's Fall Classic, break out the towels immediately.