LETTER TO THE METS, #3: WHERE IS THE TEAM’S HISTORY?
To whom it may concern:
Why is there no reflection of the history, personality and brand of the New York Mets throughout the regular spaces of the ballpark?
I am not one of those fans arguing that the outfield walls should be blue, or that the ushers should wear blue and orange. I understand that these items are likely technical or logistical considerations, and not a matter of branding. However, the complete lack of personality throughout the regular public spaces of the ballpark is difficult to comprehend. When the scoreboards are off, there is no Mets logo anywhere to be seen, except on the sides of the chairs. The only mention of the word “Mets” is in Citicorp corporate font, and I would imagine that that space was not originally designed to promote the team.
Do you realize how generic the ballpark looks when the apple is down, the scoreboard is off and no one is on the field? Is it so hard to scatter some team logos around the ballpark? What is the difficulty in implementing artwork, banners, displays or other similar items that commemorate the team that plays at Citi Field?
During a recent episode of “Mets Weekly,” Dave Howard of your organization took the host on a tour of the luxury suites in the ballpark. I noticed that every suite had framed photographs of current and past Mets players. The Modell’s Zone suite on the field level had large laminated photographs. Why are these displays limited to suite customers only? More people pass through the other areas of the ballpark than through the suite level. It makes no sense that you would take the time to decorate those areas and not the ones open to the general public at large, including tourists and visitors from other teams who come to New York in order to see our new world-class home.
Since 2006, our household has made it a practice to visit 2-3 out of town ballparks every season. Without fail, the new ballparks have exhibits – some significant – inside their stadiums dedicated to the history of the team. They can be elaborate, like Detroit’s, which features historical artifacts, available to anyone to view. St. Louis has a lovely plaza with statues of their hall of fame, and they have several markers for their old stadium. In Houston, it is as simple as multiple laminated board displays scattered around the lower concourse, describing the history of the team. In Arlington, the Rangers have a museum with one floor dedicated to the history of Texas baseball. If you took the time to research what materiel the floor of the Ebbets Field rotunda was constructed of so you could echo that in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda (an area that I as a fan am very proud of), you can contact other ballparks and research how they honor the previous history of their team, and then take the approach that is appropriate for the Mets.
However, I would disagree that the appropriate approach is to hide the artifacts from Shea Stadium (the ones that you didn’t sell off, that is) in an outer corner of the park. I think the Bullpen Gate is a fine area to have housed the old Home Run Apple, but why are the championship banners hidden out there? Could you perhaps remove one of the garish ads from the scoreboard and use some of that real estate (surely SNY does not need to advertise to their already-captive audience watching Mets baseball in the ballpark) to display the banners there as prominently as they were at Shea? The flagpole experiment on the Pepsi Porch clearly did not work out. Hiding the championship banners makes it seem as though you are embarrassed by the achievements of the team who plays in the ballpark.
Where is the Mets Hall of Fame? Where are the World Series trophies? Where and when will they be displayed? Will they be hidden in the Delta 360 or Ebbets Clubs? Or will they be displayed proudly and openly so that all fans can enjoy and appreciate them? Why does the organization refuse to discuss this with the fans? Is it so hard to say, “We faced a great many challenges in getting the new ballpark ready for the 2009 season, and regretfully, our plans to mark the history of the Mets fell off the schedule. We are in active planning phases now and fans will begin to see this implemented by the end of the summer. We are sorry it did not happen quicker but it was just not possible.”
Would that have been that difficult? I am, of course, assuming that this is the reason for the lack of Mets history at Citi Field.
It is difficult to comprehend Mr. Howard’s dismissive attitude towards fans’ concerns when he appeared with Mike Francesa on WFAN earlier in the year. “We’ll get to it” is not the correct answer to the queries of long-time paying customers when they inquire when they can expect to see their team’s history reflected in their new world-class home. Mr. Howard would not have a job were it not for the New York Mets, and no one in the organization would be employed if it was not for the fans who purchase tickets. (Your security team would also do well to remember this, but that is a subject for another letter.)
Finally, doing away with the nightly singing of “Meet the Mets” is absolutely unconscionable. This is a cherished activity that all fans took part in. If you insist on continuing to play the dreadful and inappropriate “Sweet Caroline,” there is no reason that “Meet The Mets” cannot also be played in the course of the evening. No one booed “Meet The Mets”. It took a very short period of time to sing, and it is a key part of Mets history. Please restore it to its rightful place in the second inning.
If you have plans to implement Mets history throughout the ballpark, I urge you to share those plans with the fans. If you do not, I strongly urge you to reconsider your decisions. This is not just a matter of pleasing the fans, it is a matter of being responsible stewards of baseball’s history. Ignoring this duty reflects badly on the team and the ownership, and saddens me as a fan of the New York Mets.
SEND YOUR OWN LETTER:
New York Mets
Flushing, NY 11368-1699
Via email at : fanfeedback AT mets.mlb.com (replace AT with @)
See web form.