Jeff Wilpon

Mets Lounge Podcast – TONIGHT! The Mets Billboard

Join us in the Mets Lounge tonight (where the cool kids hang out) where the Coop will be joined by Gary Palumbo, aka Salty Gary, the brains behind the Mets Billboard movement.

Dial into the Lounge at (914) 338-0314 or simply listen in and throw us stuff in the chat room!  I’ll also be doing a QBC wrap and how the Mets were not as quiet this week as we thought…

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Don’t Mean Nothin’

...till you sign it on the dotted line?

…till you sign it on the dotted line?

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.”

teamtimemets

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?”

Oy.

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.

Boom.

4) Why the FUCK would I sign a petition anyway?

Photo Credit to Michael Baron of Metsblog

Photo Credit to Michael Baron of Metsblog

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!!!!!!

Can We Have Nice Things?

I call books, film, and pieces on Mets history “Mets porn.”  Ask blolleagues like Matt Silverman, Greg Prince and Jason Fry, or even my own husband about random Mets minutiae, and their eyes light up like Ralphie opening his Red Ryder BB gun on Christmas morning.

For a team that is 50 years old, there is enough quirkiness and fun stuff around that makes us unique, and gives us a firm identity in our Mets-ness.

When CitiField opened in 2009, I’m preaching to the choir about how Mets history was little to be found.  Yet, when the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum opened in 2010, with promise of a “1986 Day” honoring Frank Cashen, Davey Johnson, Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry, it was a sign of things to come.

A sign that finally, that we Mets history porn obsessed folks would have something to look forward to each year.

Now…

Things are interesting.  Since 2010, we’ve seen one induction, for John F. Franco, though his given middle name is Anthony (You figure out what the F stands for), and that was last season.

It was a foregone conclusion that Mike Piazza, who besides Gary Carter is the best Mets catcher in their history (and prior to Travis d’Arnaud, haha), would be inducted.

Especially this year, with his first year on the HOF ballot.

Till he was famously snubbed because he might have done steroids. He along with a few others.

Here’s the kicker.  When Piazza came to the Mets via the Marlins after spending the first half of his career with Los Angeles, he was coming to greener pastures.  The Dodgers did him dirty.  In a turn of events, the Los Angeles media drove him out of town, questioning his loyalty to the team, and made him the superstar he is today to Mets fans.

I know plenty of Mets fans who were not “Piazza guys.”  Myself, I was a Piazza denier until he was no longer with the team.  It was only then that I realized as a fan, I consistently undervalued what he meant to the organization.

He would no doubt be a Hall of Famer, and he would no doubt be wearing a Mets cap.

When the Mets brought him back in 2008 and 2009 to close Shea Stadium and open CitiField, respectively, he posed with Tom Seaver, he himself done dirty once upon a time by the Mets organization.  We have The Franchise, and the Met Mercenary, but they helped create some of the best Mets memories and history that make us unique.

I get a lot of heat for supporting guys like Jon Niese, who apparently has the personality of gum found on the bottom your shoe.  My argument is – who gives a shit that he’s boring?  Quite honestly, Tom Seaver doesn’t exactly have a reputation of being a “great guy,” and he’s revered to this day.  It happens.

Mike Piazza is a different.  He was cool towards the fans, but seemed to understand his place in Mets history.  When he didn’t show for the Best Mets ceremony last year, it raised a red flag with me.

Not so much for Piazza.  I did hear that he needs to be “paid” for these gigs, but then again, so does Tom Seaver and you don’t hear about that, EVER.  But it was more like Walter Sobchek asking “Are you fucking this up, dude?”

Even the most minute of events the Mets can fuck up.  All we want is to be able to honor our past, put aside any bad feelings and celebrate what little pieces of heaven we have.

Now, of course, we hear that with Piazza’s new book and him rehashing old memories that guys like Jeff Wilpon and Jay Horwitz are butt hurt over some of Piazza’s perceptions, like being encouraged to play with an injury in spring training or not being protected enough by the media.

How many franchise players are asked to aggravate an injury to appease fans by Palm Beach Community College’s finest?  By some guy who had to host an “I’m a Heterosexual” press conference.

It’s a travesty that Mike Piazza isn’t in Cooperstown or at the very least an HOF-elect for 2013.  But what is the real travesty is that Mets, a team that has a hard time honoring their own history if not for the fan movements for bringing it back, won’t even consider retiring his number or putting him in their own ring of honor before he’s honored by Cooperstown.

To me, this shouldn’t even be a question.  Piazza is a Hall of Famer by number, and the Mets need to do him right and bring him for a Mike Piazza Day/Night, retire 31 and get his plaque at CitiField.  And since there are already entrances for Seaver, Stengel, Hodges and Payson, name the Tastes of the Citi section “the Piazza.”

Do Mets fans and Piazza right.  Stop being so butt hurt about things, and honor the guy already.

And P.S.  According to that David Lennon piece in Newsday, Jeff Wilpon has final say in retiring Mets numbers and Hall of Fame inductions.

Jeff Wilpon.

Jeff Fucking Wilpon.

WHAT THE FUCK BUSINESS DOES JEFF WILPON HAVE ON THE SAY OF RETIRING NUMBERS AND HALL OF FAME INDUCTIONS????? SERIOUSLY??!?!? 

Shouldn’t that shit be done by like a Fan Committee or Mets Alumni?  That makes more sense, doesn’t it?

Fucking idiots.