The Mets, history and why it matters to their business

Scott has fired me up this morning by pointing out an article in the new New York section of the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal article is called Do The Mets Need A History Lesson? and quotes several former Mets, and they sound frustrated.

There are unnamed players referring to the team as “distant” and “cold” and there’s a line in the article about the franchise history starting in 1980.  I remember when it started in May 1998 so at least there has been some progress.

Bud Harrelson and Ray Knight express their frustration. (I want to write about Buddy later in the week, if you have any thoughts/memories email

Mike Piazza is quoted as saying….wait for it….“yeah but he didn’t play for the team” about a certain entrance.  That’s Mike “going in the Hall of Fame as a Met and a catcher” Piazza saying it, not a bunch of WFAN callers and a fat blogger.

The line from Dave Howard about Old Timer’s Day not drawing interest from fans or sponsors is mentioned.

What I hope Mr. Howard understands is that his business is about so much more than 9 guys with a bat and ball.

If I want to sit in the sun, have a hot dog, and watch some random faces throw around a ball I can go to a Ducks game and have a much better experience than I ever will at a major league game.   Believe me my kids won’t be able to tell the difference.

This is about Tribes.

If you have bothered to read this far, you are in the same tribe as me.   We decorate ourselves in blue and orange to identify ourselves as part of the tribe and we are drawn to others like us.   The pilgrimage to Citi Field is part of tribe mentality.

The frustrations with Citi Field in 2009 were because our homeland was gone and the new homestead was decorated with the colors of another tribe.

Old-Timer’s day isn’t about getting Maxwell House to sponsor it. It should be about reenergizing your family members.  When people lose their association with the tribe they’ll stop visiting the home soil no matter how good the burgers are.

The product known as The Mets isn’t just about Reyes and Wright. It’s Knight rounding third, it’s Buddy fighting Pete Rose.   It’s the despair of 1977, and the healing of a home run in September 2001.   It’s about the connection we all made with our fathers when we were seven years old.

My son is a Mets fan because I am ramming Mets down his throat. He loves going to games.  You lose me, you lose a customer for the next 30+ years. You lose him and it will be Jeff’s kids that will feel the pain.

Let a kid walk around with a Banner. You let dogs walk around, why not let your most passionate fans make a sign?

Why not invite some old-timers back? As I have written before, I bet I could get Ronnie, Keith, Hojo, Mazzilli, Buddy, Wally, Alfonzo and Kranepool in Flushing by 3:30 today and I don’t have a Rolodex.

Does Old-Timer’s day have to be about a sell-out (how’s that going on the other nights by the way?), won’t a passionate crowd suffice?

The Mets have been fan-friendly so far in 2010 and the homestead has been remarked in our colors. I hope the bosses out there read both the Journal and my comments here.

I know it’s a business, but don’t forget what the business is built upon.

Wall Street Journal link

Various videos of Citi Field
Ron Darling public appearance on Wednesday

14 Replies to “The Mets, history and why it matters to their business”

  1. I agree with Mike Piazzia’s assessment. Jackie Robinson, as important as he was to American civil cohesion, played for a team in another borough during another decade prior to the Mets birth. As important a figure as he is, I do wonder if some future owner will shift the Rotunda at some point to something more Mets-oriented (but also hopefully keeping Jackie’s memory alive in some manner). I do feel it very important that the Mets honor the NL teams that preceeded them, but to forgo their own history at the expense of this Dodger (or Giants) idolatry is bad business. While Dodger and Giant greats of the past should be remembered, greater honor should be paid to those who actually are one’s own.

  2. Old Timers Day is a silly concept which is why no one but the obnoxious Yankees do it as far as I know (because they never miss an opportunity to perform fellatio on themselves).

    I think it is sort of embarrassing to see 50 & 60 year old men struggle to do something they were once excellent at.

    I am all for anniversary ceremonies and retiring numbers but OTD is a concept best left in the past. As is Banner Day.

    Banner Day has been replaced by blogs and Twitter.

  3. The current ownership has never been good about recognizing history, at least the history of the Mets. Yes, I think they did an outstanding job this year of addressing and adding a sense of history – I love the Hall of Fame and can’t wait to see it again. But there has always been this sense of … sheepishness from the front office, this subliminal attitude of “we’re just the Mets.” Like the other team in NY was the rich, sexy, successful brother that they’d try to emulate, throw a lot of money around in an effort to impress, bring in some fancy names for the back pages of the tabloids, like they’re trying to compete with the Yankees and not the National League. (I wish I could articulate this better).

    It’s almost like the front office has a self-loathing regarding the past and doesn’t wish to acknowledge it (“Jeez, the Yankee old-timers have Yogi and Mickey and Joltin’ Joe, all these Hall of Famers … we have Marv Throneberry, George Theodore and Joe McEwing”). It’s not even about having an Old Timer’s Day or Banner Day, it’s about the club’s sense of near-denial of their history and it’s only after we speak up about these kind of issues – thanks in part to you, Shannon – that some of the papers pick up on the discontent and the ownership is reminded they need to address it.

    What they fail – continually – to realize is that we love THIS club, THESE (two) colors, ALL the players (well, most of ’em). We celebrate the history, the up’s, the down’s and the really down’s, we are not embarrassed – we are proud to be Mets fans because we feel connected to the identity of the team and its past (I am one of the weirdos that prefers Shea) and we wish to pass the passion on. And, Shannon, you are exactly right: if the front office fails to acknowledge this, then the fandom that built and sustained this club will die out due to apathy as the next generation looks at the Mets with the same kind of shrug the Wilpons occasionally cast on their own club.

  4. There’s another article behind the WSJ pay wall about the lousy attendance so far this season at I’m Calling It Shea. And, of course, there’s the spin. The Mets front office is all about spin; it’s as ridiculous as a two-bit political campaign. And Shannon, you, Greg Prince and a very few others are so right about our feeling about the Orange and Blue – it’s much deeper than any marketing or branding campaign. It’s the Mets.

  5. This idea that the Mets don’t embrace their history is nonsense. The comment about the Wilpons and only recognizing things after they started to own is a joke.

    Ray Knight and Bud Harrelson are bitter about how they left the organization. If I am not mistaken Knight was invited to the ’86 celebration in 2006 and refused to come.

    The Mets honored the 1962 team in 1986 celebrating the 25th anniversary of the franchise. Sounds like they acknowledged pre-1980 to me. The Mets allowed fans to vote on the 10 greatest moments/players in Mets history in the past.

    Met fans and really everyone hates the Yankees because they fellate themselves ad nauseam.

    Yes they screwed up the opening of Citi Field by not having enough Met stuff around. We need to get over this Jackie Robinson nonsense already. It is like kicking and screaming that the tennis stadium is called Arthur Ashe Stadium but Ashe wasn’t a NYer and John McEnroe should be honored. Robinson was a pioneer. I am a Met fan but am proud of New York as a whole for being the place that the color barrier was broken. He deserves to be honored in a big way here.

    As long as when I walk past the rotunda I know I am in a Met stadium it is fine.

  6. I agree with everything here except one (major) thing – Piazza’s idiotic, foolish, insensitive and willfully blind comment. What a dork – the man never was very bright – the JRR is a thing of beauty and it’s one of the reasons my kids LOVE Citi Field – they love Jackie, and buy into that connection.

  7. It ain’t Robinson or Seaver, but I smiled a big smile when I saw the folks to the camera-right of home plate rolling their forearms tonight.

    How about those first-place Mets, BTW?

      1. I noticed that, too – made me immediately think of that of that woman who used to sit behind home plate at Shea back in the 80’s. Man, she bugged me yet here I am today all nostalgic for that …

        1. Absolutely, Clancy. Looks like Shannon’s being especially curmudgeon-ey about this one, though. Seriously, how can you not like the old lady rolling her arms?

  8. Cow-Bell Man used to be more rally oriented in my opinion. Maybe he got tired of waiting for one over the last couple of years?

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