40 Years in the Desert: Jews and the New York Mets
Ep. 3: How the most Jewish team in the most Jewish sport embodies endless suffering—and the unwavering belief that this season might be different
If baseball is the most Jewish of sports, then there is nothing more Jewish than the New York Mets. There are scores of Jewish Mets fans, and Citi Field even has kosher concession stands. But it goes deeper than that: The Mets are the most metaphysically Jewish team. Loving the Mets means wandering the desert, suffering, season after season—and never giving up on this team, no matter how much goes wrong. And a lot seems to go wrong. There’s even a word for it online: LOLMets, which means failing in a spectacular fashion.
LOLMets is more than a meme. It’s a neurosis, an inherited dread, a belief that the worst will always happen because you, your forebears, and your offspring have chosen the New York Mets and are destined for all the suffering that comes with it. This episode takes a look at how so many New York Jews inherited their Mets fandom, how the team’s fabulous flameouts are actually part of their endearing nature, and how Bobby Bonilla Day is a little like Passover in July.
Episode 3 features Everyone Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal, who wrote the 1969 World Series champion team into the show; Devin Gordon, author of So Many Ways to Lose: The Amazin’ True Story of the New York Mets—the Best Worst Team in Sports; Sandy Koufax biographer Jane Leavy; The Baseball Talmud author Howard Megdal; sportswriter Dave Zirin; and Erin Lamb.
Over the course of this series, host Meredith Shiner will be exploring how Jewish culture, American culture, and sports culture intersect. She’ll talk to journalists, athletes, amateur and professional sports nerds, and fans who have spent as much time obsessing over these topics as she has.
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