I spent Labor Day in Boston, a city steeped in tradition, and somehow over a bowl of clam chowder that got me thinking about the New York Mets.
The Red Sox were home and their game days start outside Fenway Park on Yawkey Way with the food vendors and souvenir stores on the other side of the street.
Now this is a stadium built in 1912 within the confines of the city, which accounts for its unique configuration. It also account for people milling around before the gates open. Fenway’s history can’t be replicated anywhere, but the Mets could do a few things to make their game days experience unique before and after games.
Something could be done in that vast area between the subway and Jackie Robinson Rotunda. Yes, I get the idea of the Ebbets Field replica being the grand entrance, but off to the side, funneling into rotunda they could do so much more.
Why not have a row of food vendors to have the fans getting started early? No beer for obvious reasons. There’s always somebody that didn’t get that last hot dog, so why not have some vendors open for an hour after game time? Remember, this is the city that never sleeps.
Let’s go big on the souvenirs with the construction of a small stand-alone shop. For all those shaking their hands lamenting, “I wish I’d gotten that jersey,’’ well here’s their chance.
There could be unique vendors other than jersey’s and hats.
Topps is a Mets’ sponsor; so let’s have the company open a booth to sell baseball cards of that season and sets from previous years. But, if their pricing is $800 for the 1962 set, well, that defeats the fun purpose. But, couldn’t the company make far cheaper replica sets? People would still buy them, just not the fanatical collectors.
How about a booth for bobble head dolls? Let’s go big and include bobble head dolls for players from other teams. If there’s coin involved for the other teams and sponsors of their dolls, then it’s possible.
There could be a Mets ticket booth for future sales, or if not, keep the one at Citi Field open after the games. If you’re thinking baseball, and the Mets just won a tight one, then you might be thinking of when’s the next time you’ll come back.
Keep them thinking baseball before and after games.
How about one of those carnival games where your speed gets timed on a radar gun?
Of course, that day’s line-up would be posted everywhere you look. However, let’s get away from today for a moment and get into Mets’ history and tradition.
Let’s do something along the nature of clinics and autograph booth with retired players. Or maybe an outdoor theatre featuring highlights. The Mets could easily make a 15-minute short film that could run on a loop.
It might cost the club something to bring the players in. I’d like for something every day to make each game day special, but if not, perhaps once or twice a homestand. Just make it more often than SNY brings in Ralph Kiner.
As far as present day players are concerned, they can sign balls, cards and photos for the club to sell. But, of course, that likely might have to come after approval with the Players Association. But, what if the proceeds from player’s autographs alone were to go to charity. Perhaps a “charity of the day.’’
There could be autographs from retired players with the proceeds going to BAT, an organization that helps players down on their luck.
The Mets are as giving as any sports team to groups in their city. But, here something that separates them from the Yankees, Giants and Rangers.
Of course, the autographs would have to be written in such a way as to deter collectors. Perhaps, if they were to be stamped, “Have a great day at Citi Field,’’ with the autograph underneath, that might work.
On special days, say Mother’s Day, the players – save that day’s starting pitcher – could be at the entrances giving roses to women entering the park. The Orioles did it one year with rave reviews, except for Randy Myers who refused to participate.
Maybe some of these ideas would work. Maybe some won’t, but the could add some juice to Citi Field gamedays.
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