“My nature is such I am not interested in buying things. Building something is fun. That’s competition. That’s what the real fans really want.” – M. Donald Grant, 1978
When the once-powerful M. Donald Grant was cut loose by the New York Mets, he defended his penurious spending practices to his sometimes defender, the bombastic Dick Young, in a column written on Nov. 25, 1978.
In print, Young followed the quote from Grant with a quotable of his own:
“(Grant) has overestimated the fans. The fans want a winner, and could care less how it is achieved. That is the lesson we have all learned, or should have.”
Forget the backstory of Seaver and Thornton Geary; Young was once a great columnist who — for a great deakl of time — understood the fans of New York better than most.
I don’t bring this up to dredge up the eventual erosion of every ethical Young once stood for, but to ponder the point he was trying to make. Do fans really care about the methodology more than the result?
The Miracle Mets shocked the baseball world with a fresh-faced kiddie corps led by Seaver and Koosman. The arrogant, hedonistic 1986 version also won the brass ring, yet are as beloved by their fans as much as the New Breed who cherished theirs.
The current Mets fan is understandably impatient. Confused about the ownership’s true financial standing, or celebrating the “sensible” approach to team building is a constant theme on social media and on sports radio.
But in the end, does it really matter HOW success is eventually achieved? I would really like to know.