I vowed that I wouldn’t comment on the Mets open letter “True New Yorker” marketing campaign.
But when it’s been basically a week since and people are STILL bitching about it (or joking about it), I finally had enough ammo to write something about it.
I was telling someone earlier today that when I first got the letter, I was kind of like, “Whatever,” for me. I knew, once again, that it was a misguided attempt at trying to “connect” with the fans. And of course, I cringed at the thought of what the reaction would be like on Twitter. Because I knew that a shitstorm would be a-brewin’ before I knew it.
I didn’t sign it. I guess I’m taking the route of Randall “Pink” Floyd in not signing the oath of not drinking or drugging while training for football. I wasn’t angry about it…I was apathetic.
I’m a season ticket holder. I not only go to a lot of home games, I go to many road games. I’m a fan. I don’t need to sign it on the dotted line.
The open letter, as Richard Marx once eloquently said, “don’t mean nothin’.”
(And please, spare me the grammar double-negative police…if you grew up in the ’80s, you knew exactly what Dick Marx was saying.)
And you’ll be surprised at what riles me up about the whole thing.
That goddamn “True New Yorker” business.
Yes. I do realize it’s mostly metaphoric. You’re talking to the broad who was told by The Naked Cowboy (who wears a cowboy hat, boots and tighty whiteys in Times Square) that just because he’s not truly naked, doesn’t mean that he’s not. “Naked is just a metaphor, honey.” Those were his words.
But again, the whole letter and idea of it shows how disconnected the team’s marketing department is from their fan base.
1) You don’t have to be “from” New York to be a Mets fan.
Try telling that whole New Yorker business to my friends in San Antonio, Texas; San Marcos, California; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (to name a few…) that they couldn’t possibly be “true Mets fans” because they are not “true New Yorkers.” I realize this is kind of a solidarity oath. Think when the Boston Marathon bombings occurred. Lots of memes about “We are all from Boston.” But that was in the name of humanity overcoming the worst of disasters to show support for a city grieving.
We are not grieving. We are Mets fans — we suffer enough without being condescended to.
2) If you are from New York, root for whoever you goddamn feel like it.
My husband is from the Bronx. You couldn’t pay him enough money to root for the Yankees (unless he could do it for enough money to reinvest as partial owner of the Mets…actually that’s why I would ever root for the Yankees, if I could make enough money for that…moving right along…). He is also a Seattle Seahawks fan since 1983 and a Utah Jazz fan since 1988. He’d never rooted for a local team in either sport. He became a Rangers fan in hockey simply because I was.
And hey, because I am from New Jersey (and believe you me…I am JerZ TO THE BONE), I get asked all the time about why I am not a Devils fan. Easy…my dad was a Broadway Blues fan, and the NJ Scums didn’t exist until much later.
But if fandom dictated several things, there would be no Mets fan who was a New York Giants fan, or a fan from the Philadelphia metro area who was not an Eagles nor Phillies fan.
Sure, sometimes I don’t get why there would be someone who grew up mere doors away from Flushing, and was not a Mets fan. But being a sports fan is a deeply personal thing. Curtis Granderson in saying true New Yorkers are Mets fans. (and by the way, I’m pretty sure the reason why people made such a big deal about it is because he played for the Yankees too.)
I guess to some extent Granderson is right. I mean, most Yankees fans are tourists. As Metstradamus once said, “You do not love the Yankees…you love SOUVENIRS!”
I know a fellow from New England who is a Buffalo Bills fan (he knew a coach when he was a kid). Just goes to show that geography doesn’t necessarily dictate your fandom. But trust me, plenty of New Yorkers either don’t give a shit about local professional sports, or root for family interests.
3) Yet another disingenuous attempt at connecting with fans.
“The Magic Is Back.”
And who can forget this gem from the 2007 collapse?
From Mets COO Jeff Wilpon:
To Mets Fans:
“All of us at the Mets are bitterly disappointed in failing to achieve our collective goal of building upon last year’s success. We did not meet our organization’s expectations – or yours. Everyone at Shea feels the same range of emotions as you – our loyal fans – and we know we have let you down. We wanted to thank you for your record-breaking support of our team this year…
“Equally important, Ownership will continue its commitment in providing the resources necessary to field a championship team. Omar will be meeting with Ownership shortly to present his plan on addressing our shortcomings so that we can achieve our goal of winning championships in 2008 and beyond…
“You deserve better results…
“Many thanks again for your record-breaking support.
Remember the marketing campaign from that year? “Your Season Has Come?”
Prior to the 2007 season, the Mets capitalized on a marketing campaign, spending $2mm with celebrity talent. Though I will admit, at the time, it made sense: they were within their reach of the World Series the year before. And within two years, they’d need to fatten their populace in a brand new shiny field.
Fans WANTED to spend their money, though. The economy was also better.
Now? Apples to oranges. Sure, 15 wins on a monthly average would net 90 wins total for the season. And that’s how they started April. But can you help it if fans are WARY of any performance in April? I was Suzy Sunshine in my last post, channeling my inner Russell Wilson. But I think was just feeling good because the Rangers had won. It might have clouded my inner skeptic.
But just like 2007, and with this sad open letter, it misses the mark completely, and does what the Mets marketing department has always done best, no matter who is in charge, and that’s putting the cart before the horse.
Look at baseball as a business. Let’s say I am Joe Schmoe business owner, and I sell widgets. And my widgets suck. Quality isn’t good, service is questionable. My clients are not going to do business with me out of loyalty. They’re going to want to see results. And in the real business world, signing a letter is basically what Richard Marx says – once you sign on the dotted line, it’s official.
Where in the world can you get a gullible consumer to sign basically what amounts to a purity pledge to stand by our men?
Mets fans are loyal, but also remember that in the middle of 2006, a person who identified himself as a Yankee fan told me that “He liked the Mets now because they were winning.”
No. Really. SOMEONE SAID THIS TO ME.
Winning brings out the best and worst in all fanbases. Losing loses the real fans. You put a product we believe in out there, trust me, they will come.
4) Why the FUCK would I sign a petition anyway?
I was named the Season Ticket Holder of the game on a Monday night game in April. In Queens. In the cold.
Trust me, guys. I don’t need no stinkin’ petition. Nor any badgers.
5) In the end, this is all just more overblown LOLMets stuff.
There was a shitload more stuff we could have paid attention to last week. A faux controversy, if you will.
At first, I couldn’t care less. I still don’t, though I managed to write a 1,000 word post on how much I don’t care.
Signing a petition, going to games, owning every single Mets shirt, rattling stats of Mets history. It doesn’t mean shit. Everyone is a fan in their own way.
Whether you go to 162 games a year. Whether you go to zero. Whether you listen to every game on the radio while you live in the North Pole. It doesn’t fucking matter. If you’re a “true fan,” it shows.
Now get the FUCK OFF MY LAWN!!!!!!