Sep 03

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.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

Mar 10

Mets Honor Bill Parcells

Mets honored Bill Parcells before today’s game against St. Louis with an autographed No. 13 jersey (for the year of his induction into the Hall of Fame).

Bill Parcells and Terry Collins (Mets)

Bill Parcells and Terry Collins (Mets)

I met Parcells several years ago when I was advancing a Browns-Giants game for a Cleveland paper. Parcells seemed pleasant at the press conference, even thought I introduced myself as a Cleveland writer.

An hour later I was sitting in an end zone seat talking to a Giants writer while watching practice in the Meadowlands.

There was a shrill whistle. There are always whistles at football practices so I didn’t pay it any attention.

Then I heard this voice shouting, “Cleveland, Cleveland).’’

I looked up to see Parcells at about the 40. He was walking and waving his arm while screaming, “Cleveland, Cleveland, get out of here.’’

I had just been kicked out of a Giants practice. Yet, another brush with greatness.

Feb 14

Spring Wright Of Passage: Oh, Say Can You “C”

john franco captain

It’s been eight years since the last time a Met donned a “C” on his uniform. Met Hall of Famer John Franco was the last player to serve as a Mets captain; his reign lasting from 2001-2004.

In what seems to have become an annual ritual for the last 3-4 years, like placing a bet on Kentucky Derby, the subject of naming David Wright the team captain came up once again. This time it reared it’s head during manager Terry Collin’s state of the Mets address held on Tuesday at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie.

Interestingly enough, Collins sounded like the whole matter was overblown and tried to make light of it. ”He knows he’s the guy,” Collins said. “He knows he’s the man here. This is his team. He’s the face of it. He’s the captain.”

And then, with a twinkle in his eye, Collins said, “Does he need a ‘C’ on his jersey? Well No. 2 doesn’t have a ‘C’ on his jersey.”

I love this guy… Of course he was referring to Derek Jeter, but more importantly Collins seems to share the same disdain for that damned “C” as I do. I thought it looked ridiculous on Franco, and I thought it looked even worse on Gary carter and Keith Hernandez.

You want to ceremoniously name David Wright captain? Go ahead and do it, it makes no difference to me. But please, for God’s sake, no “C” on the uniform. I think it’s so cheesy ( I hate using that word) and it ruins the look of what I think are the best uniforms in baseball.

“Are we going to have a press conference to make David Wright the captain?, said Collins. “I don’t see one coming, but that’s not saying it’s not going to happen.”

O Captain. My Captain

O Captain. My Captain

Sep 27

Nice cooperation.

The decision by the Mets to exercise their territorial rights and reject the Yankees’ request to move their farm team to Newark for one season seems childish and petty. As if any self-respecting Mets fan from New Jersey will all of a sudden follow the Newark team.

The Mets aren’t losing any fans from Jersey, and if by chance some do defect, the number will be so small it wouldn’t matter.

I would think after another losing season, and their marquee player on the verge of leaving, attendance sliding and the financial problems with their ownership that the Mets have better things to worry about.

Yes, the decision was within their rights, but that doesn’t mean it was the right thing to do. It was childish and petty, and violates the sense of cooperation that should exist between the two franchises.

There will be a time when the Mets will need for the Yankees to throw them a bone and they won’t get it. And, it would serve them right.

Dec 17

Rodriguez eyes big year ….

RODRIGUEZ: Expects big numbers this summer.

RODRIGUEZ: Expects big numbers this summer.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel stood at the podium and in a classic photo opportunity helped his closer, Francisco Rodriguez, put on his new jersey.

“Seventy-five,’’ Manuel said as he looked at the number. “That’s the number of saves he’s going to have.’’

Rodriguez, introduced this afternoon at the Citi Bank Building in Long Island City, understands the math.

“I’m aware of what is expected,’’ said Rodriguez, who expects the same after his record 62 saves last season for the Angels earned him a three-year, $37 million contract with the Mets.

“Every year I come to spring training with the goal to have better numbers than I had the year before.’’

Why the Mets?

Besides money, Rodriguez said his decision “was easy … they are one team that is hungry to win.’’

General manager Omar Minaya said the acquisitions of Rodriguez, and J.J. Putz from Seattle, who’ll be introduced tomorrow at Citi Field, have solved the Mets’ bullpen problem, which was defined by 29 blown saves last season.

“One thing we lacked last year was being able to close out a game, but we went out and got the best closer in the game,’’ Minaya said of Rodriguez.