Mets Could Bring New Traditions To Citi Field

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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11 thoughts on “Mets Could Bring New Traditions To Citi Field

  1. Until the “Iron Triangle” is developed I am more worried about the experience inside the park and on the field. Baseball card availability and a carnival Midway in the parking lot after the game is not going to make me feel better at the end of August when my favorite team is 20 games out of first place and I just paid $7 for a hot dog.

    Unless the experience inside the ballpark improves (despite the limited addition of more Mets themed decor) everything on the outside will just be a gimmick to fleece the fans of even more money.

    • Chris: No, it probably won’t. But, the idea is to make going to the ball game a fun event so kids grow up wanting to take their kids. It takes time. Do something to make it an attraction. Even if it means taking your mind off the team for awhile.-JD

  2. with all due respect, comparing kenmore sq(which used to be ghetto-like, but is now like park slope) to flushing by the bay is a fantasy…

    FANS GO TO GAMES TO SEE A WIN..THE SIDESHOW/SHAKE SHACK IS FOR A LOSER ORGANIZATION…

    They talk about the curse of the bambino—HOW ABOUT THE CURSE OF CITIBANK?

  3. I completely agree with the idea of having food and t-shirt vendors in between the 7 station and the ballpark…and maybe along the path from the LIRR Willets Point Station too. I’ve never understood how a ballpark in the heart of an urban area could be so devoid of an outside scene…Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards, Fenway, Wrigley, heck just about any ballpark that’s in the heart of a city has an outside vendor scene. Citi is the undisputed exception to that rule, and it could do a lot to improve the buzz of going to a Mets game.

  4. Queens ain’t the city.

    If you want to do something unique, how about something for the local vendors?

    Say a flea market featuring the chop shops?

    Or a Chinese row? Chinatown is just a mile away after all.

    • Dave: You could have something for the local vendors. A taste of Queens each homestand. No Queens isn’t the ideal place the logistics aren’t great, but that’s what the Mets are working with. Can’t quit. Keep thinking.-JD