Again, I Choose The Mets

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MetsPolice.com is easily one of my favorite sites on the internet, and its owner, Shannon Shark, is a tremendous fellow. Howard Megdal is one of the most intelligent, thoughtful and clever writers I have had the pleasure of working with. Steve Keane is a tenacious Mets fan who blogs from his heart and isn’t afraid to mix it up with anyone.

But these three great Mets fans – and others who I have chatted with on Twitter and Facebook — are not only buying tickets to see the Mets in 2012,  they don’t seem to agree with my stance on not doing so.

I don’t understand any of them. I love ‘em, but don’t understand them at all.

I understand their happiness with the Mets’ decision to celebrate their 50th anniversaty by finally “ditching the black”. I comprehend their joy at the return of Banner Day. I can also relate to their satisfaction and feelings of validation with the growing inclusion of the blogging community by the organization.

My contention with these fine people comes down to their unwillingness to understand why I believe that to continue to attend games at Citi Field while the Wilpon / Katz ownership group remains in possession of the club is counterproductive.

I don’t understand how you can demand change and fail to understand that to elicit change, you have to act. Even if it means sacrificing something.

When I wrote my “Choose The Mets” post back in May, I was angry. Now I am just determined.

The Mets? I love the Mets. My kids love the Mets. Most of my extended family loves the Mets. But the people that run the Mets have used up all of my patience, enthusiasm and trust. I can no longer support their efforts with my wallet because I don not believe that they have the interests of the New York Mets first and foremost in their minds.

Is that fair? Do I have no compassion for their financial and personal situations? Of course I do. But having empathy for their situation is one thing. Enabling their ability to cling to the New York Mets is something else.  They are a bad ownership group, it’s as simple as that. Now their past failings have not only created a serious crisis of confidence among their fanbase, tyhere is a growing number of people who are (finally) starting to realize that the Mets and MLB’s relationship is a little too cozy to be ignored.

Forbes.com:

According to ESPN.com, the Mets could be increasing their debt, currently well above $400 million, by as much as $140 million. It all depends on whether the new investors want to use their funds to buy equity stakes in the Mets or earn 3% annual interest and cash out in six years. If the investors decide to collect their interest than Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, who have yet to pay back MLB for money the Mets secretly borrowed a year ago to meet their revenue-sharing obligations, would have surpassed the Los Angeles Dodgers as the most indebted team in baseball history.

Is it so hard to beleive that the Mets ability to spend money — especially when owing so much to MLB — is virtually non-existent? Is it crazy to think that this latest push to sell small minority stakes to friends and family (which first wasn’t any of our business, but now is “going well”), is yet another stall tatic from the ownership group who said that everything was fine for the last two years.

It’s bad enough that MLB has decided to allow the Mets to continue to dig themselves a hole it may soon become impossible to get out of, but I am supposed to “be a good and loyal fan” and hand over my money to “support the team”?

Megdal, who is as smart as anyone covering baseball today, insists that my ticket $ will have no impact on the Mets bottom line. He probably right. Numbers in general make my head hurt. Be that as it may, if for nothing but principal, I will stick to the vow I made on Opening Day 2011, and not attend any games at Citi Field again this year until one of the following two things happen; an outside investor buys an equal share in the Mets and gets a say in the day-to-day operations with an opportunity to buy the whole shebang if the bottom drops out, or MLB forces the sale of the team. Since neither option is plausible at the moment, it looks like I am staying home in 2012.

But Mark, you might be saying, it’s the 50th Anniversary, how can you stay away when they’ve made so many concessions to the fans? Let’s recap:

No more stupid hybrid cap.  Awesome. A long time coming.

No more stupid drop shadow.  Great. See above

Banner Day is back. To be honest, this never had any appeal to me other than watching it on TV. It’s cool that other people dig it, and I am happy that they are happy. I’d be far more happier if Oldtimer’s Day was back. But that’s too much work, we hear.  It might cost a few bucks as well, but no matter. You can always go to the Mets Hall of Fame that they had to be embarrassed to build.

Blue outfield walls, new dimensions -“Soot” is not a color.  According to David Howard, in the interview no one seems to remember or to have chronicled, told Michael Kay and Don LaGreca on ESPN 1050 that “blue and orange is kind of tacky”. (He also said that the green seats were chosen because it would allow the “pallette of the field to continue into the stands”, and NOT, like the wheezing mess of a PR machine the Mets have in place insinuated weeks later, to emulate the Polo Grounds. As for the deep outfield, seeing that they built the stupid thing in the first place without doing any real tests on how ballpark would perform, this is just rectifying harsh reality. It had the same cause and effect as former manager Jerry Manuel’s idiotic BP drill.

Lower ticket prices – Well, duh.

Are these good first steps? Sure. Am I satisfied that the ownership has had an epiphany about its fanbase? Hell, no. Not by a long shot, brother.

Shark is pushing the new jerseys hard on his website and I have NO beef with that. Sales of the new/old design should ensure that the inclusion of black to the orange and blue will die a slow and undignified death that it deserves. Plus, all of MLB shares in the profits of jerseys sales. Listening to VP David Howard calling it “the black element” for the last six years was enough of a reason to despise it. Bravo to Paul Lukas of Uni-Watch.com and Metspolice for fighting that good fight.

But Shannon also thinks its ok to buy tickets now as well. That’s where we part ways. He, Megdal, Keane and anyone else who disagrees with me are all entitled to their opinion.

Greg Prince, who is incredibly eloquent, is another awesome Mets fan with whom I sometimes disagree with. His book and blog of the name name (Faith And Fear in Flushing) wrote passionately about the changes the club has made and what it meant to him:

So not everybody’s won over or going to be won over. Media’s job is to be cynical. Fans come by it on their own dime. There’s always going to be a strain of fan who Doesn’t Care. That is, he or she Doesn’t Care about blue caps or 50th birthdays or whether there’s a museum or how good or bad the broadcasts are. That fan just wants the Mets to win and he or she Doesn’t Care about the rest. I find that partly reasonable and totally boorish. Winning trumps all, but it doesn’t overwhelm everything. A rude usher, a cold pretzel, a Tom McCarthy, a lack of appreciation by the organization for its own heritage — even in the last indisputably good regular season, I noticed those things. But they didn’t blot out the sun. When Jose Reyes led off Game Six of the 2006 NLCS with a home run while wearing the pinstripes, I didn’t think “Sure, we’re ahead 1-0, but dadburn it all to heck, that drop shadow just ruins everything.”

There’s a balance to be attained. Ideally, you have a World Series trophy on one side of the scale and everything else pleasant and thoughtful on the other side. We probably won’t get the World Series trophy in 2012, but that doesn’t take away from that which is pleasant and thoughtful.

The best brand equity possible in an endeavor like professional baseball is that of consistent winner. The next best, and not behind by much, is that of something that inspires stubborn devotion during those spells when the winning isn’t so consistent…not just by force of habit but because you can make yourself believe your devotion is somehow returned in kind.

Blue caps, broad banners and a yearlong birthday party for our franchise signifies that kind of return. It is a celebration. We are pleased to R.S.V.P. that we’ll be there for yet another season.

We can always send our regrets later.

I care, Greg. Maybe too much, especially for someone who does what I do. Itr’s not the lack of winning I am protesting, it’s the lying. It’s the bufoonery that might have been acceptable in 1962, that 50 years later is now wrapped ina corporate shell and tastes worse. It’s the complete lack of accountablity by an ownership group is now going to lose one of the greatest players it has ever produced because it has no money, no plan and a very bleak future.

I hope I am wrong. But I don’t think I am. I will always choose the Mets. I just don’t choose to enable this dysfunctioanl and desperate ownership group any longer. Neither should any of you.

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8 thoughts on “Again, I Choose The Mets

    wiqiblogs said:
    November 26, 2011 at 1:39 am

    I just don’t get how people are so down on the Wilpons. They have never been shy on getting a key (expensive player). Check out the list of acquisitions since 2002 – http://metswiqi.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/met-acuistions-from-2002-to-2010/

    I understand being upset about the results, but I feel it is the players and Omar’s fault. The Mets were a game short from going to the World Series, and in that time the ownership opened the check book and added the top starting pitcher, record breaking relief pitcher and one of the top outfield FA available. All the while giving the money to sign existing player.

    So we have an owner who increased payroll by 50% in just 3 years, signing new start players while keeping anyone GM wanted, and fans are against ownership? It is the players’ and GM fault. The GM has been replaced, and the commitment to core players are appropriately being questioned.

    Mark Healey responded:
    November 26, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    How many times since 1987 have the GMs been hired and fired? Isn’t it funny how the pattern of limited success followed by dismal failure is repeated despite a new GM?

    And if you read the piece, the argument you set forth here makes no sense.

    Hotrod said:
    November 27, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    We are a much more cynical, beaten down fanbase. I wonder how the banners will be screened out, cause I could come up with a couple great ones.

    Maybe the fans could have their own banner day on 126th St (those that they would not let in).

    APV said:
    November 28, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Wow! Mark, this is the first time I’ve read your work and I could not be more in agreement with you! Except for the part about always choosing the Mets. After 30 years, I may have reached a breaking point.

    I started rooting for this team in 1982 as a 7-year old. They lost 98 games and I certainly was at an age where I could’ve started rooting for the other team in town. I chose not to, and was eventually rewarded for it with the seven straight winning seasons, the two division titles, and of course the World Championship.

    What have I put up with since then? The best homegrown player — not pitcher — the Mets ever had leaving for free agency, followed by six consecutive losing seasons — including maybe the most despicable team in franchise history (1993). Yes, the Bobby V years were fun and made me proud to be a fan again, but we never quite got over the hump versus the Braves and even the best moment of that era (the 2000 NL Championship) was tarnished by the Yankees. I don’t even want to talk about 2002-2004, and wasn’t even living in New York for that era anyway. 2006 was a great year, and should have been the start of a new era of success, but after the Molina HR in Game 7, nothing the Mets have done has seemed to make me feel good about being a fan. Do not get me started on 2007. And while there were bright spots last season and even in 2010, they were touch-ups for an organization in dire need of a makeover.

    The common denominator in everything that has happened after Oct. 27, 1986 is Fred Wilpon. This is the guy that wanted to break up the ’86 squad because of the NLCS championship celebration plane ride and the supposed bad influence Kevin Mitchell was. This is the guy who prefers to play second-fiddle to the Yankees no matter what. This is the guy who seems content with meaningful games in September. (Well at least he was happy in 2007 and 2008.) And his comments earlier this year about Jose Reyes have all but pushed the second-best homegrown player in franchise history out the door and either to the Marlins or (I believe) the Nationals. I’m supposed to accept that by spending more of my hard-earned money? Hell No!! Like you, I didn’t go to Citi Field last year; my only Met game was in DC on Labor Day Weekend. I have no plans to go in 2012 either. And if next year’s Mets team does not include Reyes, it could be the last Mets team I ever root for. No, I’m not a bandwagon fan (like some moron poster on another blog called me), I am a long-time fan who is fed up. I am fed up with the Wilpon family owning this team, and am fed up with its “Screw the Fans” attitude. And nothing says “Screw the Fans” more than accepting losing, which is clear by their actions over the years. Some people say rooting for the Mets is like staying in an abusive marriage. Well, this aggrieved spouse is on the verge of moving out for good.

      Mark Healey responded:
      November 28, 2011 at 11:03 pm

      First of all, thanks for the kind words.

      Secondly, your frustration is exactly why I choose the Mets, not the Wilpons. I admit it is hard to make that distinction, but trust me, the more you look at it from that standpoint it’s easier to deal with.

    Me and The Mets Police « Gotham Nation said:
    November 28, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    [...] chose them back in May, and last week, I chose them again.  In the latter piece, I identified three of my favorite Mets ‘net buddies with whom I [...]

    Scott said:
    December 6, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Amen

    Choose The Mets: A Primer | Gotham Nation said:
    November 23, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    [...] Many Mets fans agreed with the post, while just as many others viewed it as a biased attack on their beloved team. With hopes of trying to clarify my position, I posted “Again, I Choose The Mets” [...]

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